A high school in northwest Louisiana will punish students with suspensions or removal from sports teams if they demonstrate during the national anthem.Here's the letter:
Principal Waylon Bates of Parkway High School in Bossier Parish called such demonstrations a “disruption” in a letter sent Thursday to students and parents.
But haven't we been here before?And it has begun.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 28, 2017
High schools are now following Trump’s order.
Will kick off any players who don’t stand during the National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/lfNWyW7z5f
Yes, we have. And the Supreme Court was here, too. About 75 years ago:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.So when they write:
Parkway High School requires student athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the National Anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating. Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal.The folks at the Parkway High School might think they're acting as good patriots and in the best interest of the country, they simply are not.
The dangers to the republic were spelled out by the Court in 1943 (on Flag Day, in the middle of WWII):
Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.Not so much in Trump's America.
It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.