During the week as we celebrate our nation’s independence, Nike has announced it is rejecting part of our history.
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag,” according Nike officials. The conflict is that the shoes carrying Betsy Ross’ flag with 13 stars represents a nation built on slavery. Believe it or not, this nation has a history of slavery. The key word is history. All nations have had slavery at some point in their history and some still do.
Nike, a company formed in 1964, thought it could get a leg up on the competition by importing shoes from Japan. The concept was that labor there was cheaper. Are you telling me that those Japanese workers in 1964 were treated fairly by shoe manufacturers? Are you telling me that they were not slaves?
Honestly, I just wish more people cared. Nike will not suffer any consequences. The American public, persuaded by celebrity endorsers instead of facts and an investment in “all things American,” have just become too lazy to even see or think clearly for themselves about what independence really means.
Every time something like this comes to nation’s attention, I feel myself pulled more to the right than ever before. In fact, I think it is high noon for a demand of nationalism. I think it is high noon for folks who continue to flock to our nation to understand very clearly what Theodore Roosevelt was actually talking about in a letter he wrote to the American Defense Society in 1919, 10 years after his term as president:
“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
Now the very fact that a company can make such an ill-guided decision is the very reason the flag was created to begin with. I mean the very freedom our founding fathers died to protect is being stymied in the incident. I think John Adams summarizes it so well:
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right ... and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
At the end of the day, the challenges are no different today than they were when Adams penned those words. It is reported that only 3 percent of the citizens of the colony led the charge to create the United States of America. It is reported that a mere 17 percent participated in the fight and the rest were too fearful to do anything. So the question remains: As we celebrate yet another birthday of our great nation, will you be willing to stand up to the folks who are attempting to take our nation in a direction the Founding Fathers warned us about? Or will you be one of the 80 percent who quietly stand by hoping not to be the next target?
God bless those will fight to maintain a free, God-fearing nation that can celebrate the accomplishments we continue to make in improving human lives.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.