In light of the decision by over 100 NFL players to protest our nation’s anthem over the weekend, in a misdirected effort to oppose President Donald Trump, here are some things that should be set straight:

1.) Standing for the national anthem does NOT mean that you support the president.

2.) It does NOT mean that you agree with the U.S. government.

3.) It does NOT mean that you endorse everything that happened in American history.

4.) It does NOT even mean that you believe the United States is fundamentally just.

If it meant any of these things, then no social conservative could stand for the anthem, given that the Supreme Court has held that our Constitution protects abortions.

The reason we stand for the anthem — no matter how disappointed we are in the trajectory of our nation — is to show that we love our country and wish it well. That’s all.

Americans have long believed that whatever our differences — indeed because of our differences — it is important to have a ritual where we all express our shared patriotism. That ritual is the respect we show for the national anthem.

When people protest the anthem, they are not sending a patriotic message. Instead, they are telling the rest of us that they don’t like this country, and they wish it ill.

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Now they may claim otherwise. And they may think otherwise. But it takes two to communicate, and you don’t get to change the meaning of a shared ritual on your own.

It’s a shame that so many young Americans — and so many NFL owners — don’t understand the basic meaning of a longstanding ritual that has been around for decades. We should probably be having a conversation about how to teach civics in this country. But in the meantime, someone needs to tell these young men that kneeling for the anthem is seen by most of us as an extremely offensive attack on the country. It’s a shame the president is apparently the only person in authority who is willing to do so.

Laura Ingraham is editor-in-chief of LifeZette, the upcoming host of “The Ingraham Angle” on the Fox News Channel, and the author of the soon-to-be-released book, “Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump,” available now to pre-order. 

(photo credit, homepage and article images: NFL, YouTube)