Whitney, Where Are You?

I have never been one to be afraid to voice my opinion on different matters thus “The Gasbag”. I also know that what I believe or think really doesn’t matter. I’m just one person with an opinion who chooses to put it in a blog form mainly for his sanity and in the midst of a pandemic I don’t have anything else to do. I also know that people could care less about what I think.

With that thought of people not caring about what I think, that brings me to Mark Cuban. There has been a uproar in the sports world about him choosing not to play our National Anthem. Let me start off by saying that I really could care less if they play it or not. Removing the anthem from sports removes the opportunity for individuals to turn it into political speech. Get back to just playing the game. I don’t think it’s a terrible idea. I watch the NBA occasionally and like lots of people I realized during this pandemic that I don’t need sports. I never understood why the anthem is played before sporting events but after doing some hours worth of research on Wikipedia I now understand. The blind can now see.

There’s no doubt that the roots of playing the national anthem began in good faith. The Star Spangled Banner was seen as a source of unity and comfort during two of the darkest times in American history following the first and second World War. At the time there was an need for people to pull together for the good of the country. I remember after the terrorist attacks of September 11, when sporting leagues took a stand against fear to present strength and unity that the American way of life could not be stopped by attacks. I still remember the chills I had when W threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium after 911 when the anthem and “God Bless America “ was played.

Then there was Whitney Houston. It’s been 30 years. You don’t have to say anything else. Just her name being mentioned and the first thing we think of is 1991 and her rendition of the anthem. To me her performance feels just as inspiring as it did in 1991. At a time when America needed an extra boost, Houston delivered. Given the circumstances, and her amazing voice, it was truly incredible and will always be considered as one of the best national anthem performances ever. Marvin Gaye’s is a close second.

None of that is the point of my gasbagging. My bloviating on this matter stems from what Mark Cuban comments were on why he stopped playing the National Anthem. He states,”We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country,” Cuban said in the statement. “But we also loudly hear the voices of those who feel that the anthem does not represent them. We feel that their voices need to be respected and heard because they have not been.

There it is. This is where we are. I am not bothered by the fact he said what he said, I’m bothered by some truth in what he said and more so by what he didn’t say. I am bothered that America has reached the point where The Star Spangled Banner is controversial. I am bothered that we have reached the point that many younger Americans believe that America isn’t worth loving. Recent riots, violence and corruption and the press constantly reminding us that America is far from perfect. Patriotism, does not claim a country is without flaws. In fact, many people who identify as patriotic do not always feel proud of their government, their fellow citizens or even themselves.

G.K. Chesterton is a wonderful author and theologian who if you have never read any of his writings, shame on you but he writes patriotism treats one’s country like a family member — you love it simply because it is yours, and that love motivates you to mend any imperfections. Today, that motivating force is rapidly receding. Cuban’s statement to me is proof of that.

Jeep caught flack for the Bruce Springsteen ad, “the middle” during the Super Bowl. Bruce, there is no middle. We are red and blue, left and right, conservative and progressive and for what it’s worth I found that commercial to be hilarious and incredibly disingenuous that celebs like “The Boss” are all of a sudden clamoring for unity and “middle ground” now that his guy is in the WH when he tweeted all the way back in October of 2020 “If Trump is re-elected – which he will not be; I’m predicting right now he’s gonna lose – if by some happenstance he should be, I’ll see you on the next plane,” he told an Australian press outlet. We do need the middle but I do not need him preaching to me…………. We need Whitney.

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