Remember the apoplectic spasms of patriotic furor over kneeling NFL players who nonviolently protested police brutality? Critics of these peaceful acts of conscience seethed with indignation and outrage at such a perceived slight to flag and country. Others, on the other hand, admired the character required to risk so much in such a public assertion of personal conviction.

Personally, I don’t find a kneeling Colin Kaepernick nearly as offensive as what I witnessed as I observed America’s Dear Leader, in a maudlin public display of faux patriotism, physically embrace the American flag. This act, no doubt premeditated and intended to appeal to his nationalist base, was done while policies implemented under his direction caused unnecessary and incomprehensible anguish on our southern border.

Needlessly separating innocent and vulnerable children from parents fleeing rampant brutality, and then placing those children in what can only be described as internment camps, is an undeniable and blatant betrayal of core American values. To hug the flag while simultaneously abandoning the values it alleges to represent is an affront not only to the flag but to the very idea of America.

Have we learned nothing from history? Nothing from literature?

Although I will not take a knee when the American flag is presented, I will most assuredly bow my head in silent protest — in shame for what we have become and in the hope that we may one day be worthy of our professed ideals.

Jill Haslam, Centerville