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The Price of Patriotism

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Photo Credit: www.salon.com
Photo Credit: www.salon.com

On Wednesday, November 4th, a shocking statement was released by Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake that revealed secret payments being made by the Pentagon in order to spread national pride among sports fans.

Apparently, the Department of Defense has been compensating major sport leagues for their public display of patriotism. According to the online current affairs magazine Slate, leagues including the NFL, MBC, NBA, NHL, and MLS, have been hosting events such as nights dedicated to appreciating the military and ceremonies to welcome home or just to honor military heroes and received compensation from the federal government.

According to Senators McCain and Flake, recent documents prove that there were more payments made than the officials of the Department of Defense originally were led to believe. When the senators first unearthed this unexpected truth, the Department of Defense deceived them into thinking that many of the benefits were for free. However, recently completed documentation contradicts their assertion, revealing that at least $53 million of government money has been spent to compensate these sport leagues for their pretend patriotism.

It is undeniable that welcoming home soldiers and appreciating the sacrifices the military makes every day is certainly not a bad thing, but lying about it is. It is the citizens who owe their gratitude to the military, not the government. Some would say it is insulting that the government seems to think that citizens would be so unwilling to appreciate their military that they must trick the public into recognizing and honoring the defenders of this great nation. Instead of giving Americans a chance to express patriotism on their own, the Department of Defense shows a lack of faith in the American populace by feeling the need to, essentially, subsidize patriotism.

A breach in honesty is a breach in trust. Regardless of the government’s intentions, whether they be to innocently elevate war heroes in gratitude, insure the public’s support of the government, or simply to enliven the patriotic spirits in each American, a lie is an inexcusable and dangerous thing. It is when the government begins to deceive Americans through the media that citizens must begin to consider that the people’s and the government’s mindsets are no longer aligned. If government officials feel that they must deceive the American people, then they must also believe that if the people knew their true intentions, they would not agree with them. It is hard to believe that the government’s motives behind paying the aforementioned sports leagues are purely innocuous if they feel that their role in the affairs should be concealed from the public. The only conclusions that can be made from McCain and Flake’s recent statements are that the government either thinks so poorly of the people that they think they would not voluntarily thank veterans on their own terms, or, even more distressing, the government is concealing their true intentions because their rationale is appallingly far fetched from the moral compass of the average American citizen.