More video and photos of our President refusing. Why?
As North Americans, most of us are familiar with the strong sense of loyalty which is felt towards your country-- that comfort that your country is certainly the best country in the world. A feeling that proves how proud you are to call this land your home. A devotion to the place you have grown up and a place which has offered you so much.
So, what if those governing the country-- the elite group of individuals with ultimate authority and control-- don't share this feeling of pride. Some may say that Barack Obama is a prime example of a president who lacks such patriotism.
To ensure that the citizens of the United States of America had a federal code of conduct by which to mold their actions, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel published a set of regulations. This set of laws is known as the United States Code and outlines a broad range of topics from the Congress, the government, the flag and seal, education, copyrights and patents, food and drug laws, foreign relations, labor, war and defense, etc.
One of the many rules which has raised controversy is outlined under title 36 entitled Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies and Organizations. Taking a deeper look, part A of subtitle I discusses Observances and Ceremonies and contains a number of chapters which offer a more profound glance of patriotic responsibilities. Chapter 3 is called National Anthem, Motto, Floral Emblem March and Tree. Under subsection 301, the part devoted to the National Anthem, the United Code of the United States communicates two major points. The first is that:
"(a) Designation.- The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem."
And, the second point being:
"(b) Conduct During Playing.' During a rendition of the national anthem'
(1) when the flag is displayed'
(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;
(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and
(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed."
Since we were children, it has been drilled in to our heads as a part of our daily routine that we shouldn't wear hats in school, or we should stand during the anthem and always give our peers our undivided attention when they are speaking. These little things were engraved in our minds for one triumphing reason-- to teach us the moral of respect. If I had a concept of respect in the third grade, then shouldn't the President of the United States be able to at least demonstrate those values, if not exceed them?
In 2008, photo and video footage flooded the internet of Barack Obama failing to demonstrate his allegiance during the playing of the national anthem as he stands beside Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin-- all of which have their right hand resting over the left side of their chest. The other side of the stage during this playing of a Star-Spangled Banner rendition, is occupied by four political men who all went above and beyond patriotic expectations and turned their bodies completely towards the flag which is hung behind them.
In Obama's defense, he never said "No, I will not put my hand over my heart during the playing of the anthem," but regardless of whether he formally refused or not, he still didn't do it. There is really no excuse not to take part in a simple gesture which means so much. Citizens are growing more concerned that if their president can't display this simple etiquette, then he is not fit for office.
A spokesperson for Barack Obama appeared on Inside Edition
and was asked why Obama doesn't put his hand over his heart. The spokesperson responds, "Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous."