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Lincoln’s birthday, the NFL, and the Balkanization of America



As I write this, millions of viewers gathered around their televisions to watch one of the most popular sporting events in the world. It’s the most-watched sporting event in the country and a contest staged by an organization, the NFL, that regularly wraps itself around the flag — when it is financially convenient.

They say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel; it’s a maxim that is easily applicable to the NFL. The pregame festivities featured displays of patriotism rivaling that of soldiers returning from World War II. But those same festivities also profaned this nation. Keep in mind that the NFL permitted players to kneel during the playing of the national anthem — a gesture of contempt for many in America, the very nation that exalts these players. 

On Sunday night, the pregame program featured two national anthems for the second consecutive year: the American national anthem and a racial separatist anthem, the black national anthem. Let the Balkanization of America begin.

Even more ironic is that these divisive displays occurred on the eve of the 215th anniversary of the birth of the Great Emancipator (a day that was, but is no longer, commemorated annually): the standard-bearer of the Republican Party who is widely considered one of the greatest presidents of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Known for keeping the country together after years of a brutal Civil War, Lincoln was the president who dedicated and sacrificed his life to unite the country and ensure the freedom of people of all races, colors, and creeds.

Conversely, there are NFL players and others associated with this business entity who are righteous and patriotic — those who do not view their world through the lens of race. But that American ideal is lost because of the pandering to segregationists by ignorant, virtue-signaling team owners and public relations executives. And they are actions and business tactics that run counter to the spirit of the president who sacrificed his life fighting many of the same problems (or the contemporary iterations of them) that our society continues to battle over today. 

During a speech he gave 186 years ago, almost to the day, Abraham Lincoln warned: “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? — Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! — All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

And Lincoln said: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Moreover, the modern-day unholy alliance of big business and big government has proven him correct. This collaboration certainly has cleared the path on the road to left-wing totalitarianism. Furthermore, it wasn’t the first time the government and business would affiliate to usurp power and treasure (and it wouldn’t be the last). Incidentally, another time such a thing occurred involved another great Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt. 

“The Great Trust Buster” intervened to halt the unfair and predatory practices of big business that the government condoned. Given this hit against big business, perhaps it is no great surprise that Roosevelt’s birthday has never been commemorated. It represents a scathing rebuke of the priorities of the coalition between big business and Republicanism.

This Balkanization could be observed in its 21st-century form at Super Bowl 58. They opted to perform the “black national anthem” and chose to ignore the life of the person responsible for allowing such a performance to happen: Abraham Lincoln. It didn’t use to be this way in the U.S. Lincoln’s birthday was once a cherished and honored national holiday. 


What a sad commentary it is on modern America that not only has this great man’s name been omitted from the pregame festivities, but the very idea of American unity he fought for has been desecrated. An entity purportedly exhorting America exploits patriotism and then exhibits polarizing racialism.

A 28-year-old Lincoln spoke these sagacious and prophetic words to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, on Jan. 27, 1838. At an age when today’s 28-year-olds are filming feats of narcissism on TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, Lincoln was concerned about the security and sustainability of our nation. Oh, how the apples have fallen quite far from the trees. 

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