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In the middle of celebrating the most patriotic week of the year, a celebration of our American independence, the birth of our Democracy, and the rights of the individual over the State, we were reminded yet again that some choose to ignore the hard-fought history of our great nation and be ashamed of it instead of honor the values we, as Americans, stand for around the world.

First it was the names of our mascots, the namesakes of our schools, the monuments in our parks, and now our flag. The political sensitivity of today has simply gone too far. In an underwhelming marketing campaign to boost sales and exploit patriotism on the 4th of July, Nike decided to release a special edition red, white and blue shoe. While I would like to think they were overcome with some deep sense of patriotic pride in their shoe release, I’m guessing the reality dictated by marketing, sales and research.

But with one phone call, Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback and social justice activist, got the shoe quickly pulled from store shelves. Maybe Colin Kaepernick should have been offended that Nike wasn’t sending any of the profits to the millions of brave American service members and their families that sacrificed over the past 243 years defending our flag. He instead took issue with the display of the original American flag developed by Betsy Ross, one of the great women in American History. A flag which stands for rebellion against tyranny, of freedom, of revolution, and of individual rights and liberty. We already know of Kaepernick’s disgust for the American flag as is, so we shouldn’t be shocked he is also opposed to its origins. We already know that he is unwilling to lace up his own Nike shoes and stand on his two feet to honor the stars and stripes, so we shouldn’t be surprised, but we should be disappointed.

Enough is enough. Companies like Nike get billions in taxpayer funded incentives to locate, hire, invest and develop here in the U.S. They don’t deserve it. We shouldn’t be rewarding companies with American tax dollars who use the American capitalist system to achieve billions in profits, but then disown the same history of a country which inherently allowed them to succeed. I applaud Governor Ducey of Arizona for immediately calling to rescind the millions in taxpayer support the state had committed to provide Nike to get them to locate a new factory there. Your hard earned dollars shouldn’t be used to provide breaks to those who would so callously toss out over 200 years of history and progress because of the request of one person with a proven track record of demonizing our great nation.

I’m tired of America getting kicked around. We’ve been through tough times in the past. Our history is far from perfect. The solution is to have conversations about our history, the good and the bad, honor the courageous members of our military that fought for it, and teach future generations why America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We should stand tall and be proud Americans.

We are the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We are home to the bravest and strongest military who defends freedom around the globe. We respect and honor the rights of the individual versus that of a central government. We believe you should get to wake up each day and decide for yourself what you want to do, not have your decisions dictated to you by the government. Our values, our rights, our freedom and our opportunities are the reason our borders are flooded at this very moment – because millions more wish they could be here, they wish they could be Americans.

None of that would have been possible without our history, our story, the American story. I choose not to hide, not to run from that history, but to remember it, to celebrate who we are as Americans today because of where we have been and where we have come. I hope you feel the same.

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