Back in April, we brought you the story of Bradford Campeau-Laurion's lawsuit against the New York Police Department and the Yankees. He was kicked out of Yankee Stadium after an altercation with police officers who wouldn't let him use the bathroom while "God Bless America" played during the seventh-inning stretch.
That suit was settled on Monday, with Campeau-Laurion, the New York Civil Liberties Union and people who may need to use the bathroom during Yankee games coming out on top. Campeau-Laurion got $10,001 from the police department, the NYCLU had their legal fees paid for and fans will be free to exercise their right to move around Yankee Stadium while a taped recording of a song plays before "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
"God Bless America" is not our National Anthem, and it should not be placed on the same level by a team desperately trying to seem more patriotic than everyone else. Go ahead and play it, but treat it for what it is and allow adults to decide what the song means to them. Patriotism enforced by edict of men in uniforms isn't really patriotism. It's jingoism, which is something none of us should aspire to nor should we celebrate.
That said, respect flows both ways. If your back teeth are floating, by all means go out and hit the head. If not, though, perhaps wait until after the song if the people in your row are more into the moment. Different strokes for different folks is part of what makes this great big country such a great place, so we should honor it every way we can.