On Friday, a South Carolina high school stopped students from bringing American flags to a football game against a heavily Hispanic rival school. Why? The principal was presumably worried that waving the flag might offend the Hispanic students. According to the principal, "This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event."
This isn't the first such situation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that a public school in California could ban students from wearing a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on Cinco de Mayo thanks to fears over racial conflict at the school. The lawyer for the children complained, "This opens the door for a school to suppress any viewpoints that are opposed by a band of vocal and violent bullies."
Meanwhile, has-been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been widely praised in the media for refusing to stand for the national anthem during football games. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," explained the man earning an average of $19,000,000 per year for sitting on the bench. He continued: "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
We're watching the end of America in real time.
That doesn't mean that the country's on the verge of actual implosion. But the idea of America required a common definition of being American: a love of country on the basis of its founding philosophy. That has now been undermined by the left.
Love of country doesn't mean that you have to love everything about America, or that you can't criticize America. But loving America means understanding that the country was founded on a unique basis — a uniquely good basis. That's what the flag stands for. Not ethnic superiority or racial solidarity or police brutality but the notion of individual liberty and equal rights before God. But with the destruction of that central principle, the ties that bind us together are fraying. And the left loves that.
In fact, the two defining philosophical iterations of the modern left both make war with the ties that bind us together. In President Obama's landmark second inaugural address, he openly said, "Being true to our founding documents...does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way." This is the kind of definition worshipped by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has singlehandedly redefined the Constitution. He said, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
But this means that liberty has no real definition outside of "stuff I want to do." And we all want to do different stuff, sometimes at the expense of other people's liberty. Subjective definitions of liberty, rather than a common definition, means a conflict of all against all, or at least a conflict of a government controlled by some who are targeting everyone else. It means that our flag is no longer a common symbol for our shared definition of liberty. It's just a rag that means different things to different people based on their subjective experiences and definitions of reality.
And that means we have nothing holding us together.
The only way to restore the ties that bind us is to rededicate ourselves to the notion of liberty for which generations of Americans fought and died. But that won't happen so long as the left insists that their feelings are more important than your rights.
Ben Shapiro, 32, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, a radio host on KRLA 870 Los Angeles and KTIE 590 Orange County, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the New York Times best-selling author of "Bullies." He lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles.