Anything that happens in the United States resonates across the world. A very heated debate is currently ongoing involving the National Football League (NFL) and the comments made by the US President Donald J. Trump criticizing athletes from the league that he claims are disrespecting the flag. The athletes from different teams who are protesting the deaths of black people on the hands of the police knelt during the singing of the US national anthem before games. The POTUS did not respond too kindly to the kneeling gesture. He went as far as to say that those athletes should be fired by the team owners. The league and its athletes did not respond nicely to his criticisms. Other athletes from other sports jumped in on the discussion.
Being a self-proclaimed nationalist and patriot, it is easy to see why the off-the-cuff POTUS said what he said. And while this incident has brought out some negative emotions amongst many and even if people will continue to have different sides regarding the matter, the issue has brought up the seldom talked about subjects of respect for flag and the what nationalism means.
The national flag is more than just a piece of fabric stuck on top of a flagpole. It is also more than a representation of a country. It represents not only the country as a territory but of its people and their entire history. The flag represents the camaraderie and sacrifices, both in the form of sweat and blood, that led to the existence and persistence of the country. It represents both the past struggles and future aspirations of the people.
Nationalists are people who cherish the entirety of what the national flag represents. They see themselves as having the responsibility to protect what previous generations have struggled for. That is why when they see the flag being disrespected, they cannot help but feel hurt. To them, it is like having your loved one insulted and disrespected because that is how they feel for the country.