“I think it’s a problem,” Ditka said. “Anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, they don’t like our flag, get the hell out.”
Here’s the thing about having freedoms. If they can’t freely be used, they’re not really freedoms. And while Ditka is free to tell people who make a conscientious decision not to stand for the anthem to “get the hell out,” that attitude reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be an American citizen. We can disagree among ourselves without saying to those who don’t see things our way, “Get the hell out.”
Some would say Ditka is the one who should “get the hell out,” especially if he’s looking for a country where it’s not optional to stand for the anthem. There are plenty of countries where folks go to prison for not demonstrating proper respect to the flag; our country has fought against many countries like that over the years.