OK, I’m wading in. I am a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and I say it’s no insult to me or to my service if a football player takes a knee during the National Anthem.
Let’s say I want to go down to the corner and protest Big Bank’s dealings with the King of Belgium. Who’s to say what form my protest has to take? I’ll stand on my head! That’ll tell ’em, yeah! There’s no law against standing on my head. There’s also no law that says you have to stand during the National Anthem. (Be careful if you look that up. There’s a lot of false information out there.) I may have to explain what my protest means, of course, if I want it to impress anyone. The knee-takers have done that from the outset, but not everyone listens. I really don’t care about football except when the Broncos are in the Superbowl, but the player who started this brawl spoke very clearly about why he did it.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “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.”
There is nothing unclear about that statement. To those who dislike it, I ask, “Is he wrong?” Is that oppression he speaks of a myth? Is justice equally applied to all in our Land of the Free? Think hard. If there is widespread injustice, should it be allowed to persist without comment, without concern, without protest, without anybody doing anything? Here’s one answer:
The General cites Charlottesville, and Ferguson, and the NFL as backdrop. Each one of those incidents is complex on its own merits, and each pertains to the problem in a different way. What they have in common, though, is that they are connected to the same thread of injustice. It is justice that America needs, justice for all.
I stand for the National Anthem. I think it would be good if everyone did. It’s a fine custom and courtesy. Yet I can understand it when people do not. Now we have entire teams linking arms, standing or kneeling, and their protest is said to be a show of unity. Whether it is unity with the original protest about oppression and injustice, or unity in opposition to those who don’t like the original protest and continue to bluster and make threats about it, I can’t say. That hardly even matters at this point.
The guy who started this protest said what it was about. He does not have pride in America, and he says it. He also says why. He does not show respect. How many times have you and I been reminded that respect must be earned? (Answer: Many.) What will it take for this respect to be earned? (Answer: ___________ )
I’m not sure, Bruce, but it’s given me a lot to think about. I respect and love you (and Stormy, too!)
I’m not sure either. There is a lot to think about. I like knowing people like you, who act on their good morel principles instead of just thinking about them. Love to you and yours.
I love this kind of talk from Bruce and the General. It warms my heart. It doesn’t give me hope, though. I’ve seen too many videos of black people being shot down in the street for no legitimate reason. It hasn’t escaped me that anti-semitism has gone up 86% recently. Refugees are running out of many countries. And of course all over the planet people divide into groups and blow up people from other groups. The reason I’m not optimistic about the future is that, as the saying goes, hate is taught. But I’m not sure it can be UNtaught.
There is hope as long as people like you bring light through your own actions. What other people do is not yours to control but if love can unteach hate by example and influence, you will be one doing it.
I tend to hide from the news at times so thank you for balancing out the snippets I hear with your thoughts and those of Lt. General Silveria. Those are better ideas and worthy of discussion and news coverage.
Thank you for reading. I don’t usually ride so close to the news myself, and you are wise to give it a wide berth.
I appreciate hearing your view on this, Bruce, and that it’s consistent with mine. It is no surprise to me, but somehow, your perspective as a veteran carries a lot of weight. Thank you!
Peaceful protest is part of the fabric of America, and should be respected at all levels, from the White House to every person. That this President cannot comprehend, respect, or accept this right saddens and frightens me. I remain ever vigilant in my daily communications and my activism. 2018 midterm elections are around the corner. Act!
Good advice, thanks! If more people were as involved and committed as I know you are, we’d be in a better place.
Thanks for the post, I’m with you 100% .No one will tell me what I can or can’t do, when it comes to a symbol, be it the flag or a cross. This is my right as an American.
You’re welcome for the post, and I’m glad it resonated with you. I’m gad I didn’t try to tell you (or anyone) what to do. That hasn’t worked for me when I’ve tried it, except for maybe years ago literally giving marching orders. Not a transferable skill. Thanks for reading.
Spot on, Bruce! I was naive to think we had come so far since my youth! And then the Police shootings, the election, yesterday and today happened and I realized the world has not become better for my grandchildren. In order to become Great again, we must become Great first. All of us must take a stand or a knee and all of us must speak out everyday not just when a shooting occurs or when someone takes a felt pen or paint to a wall. Everyday! Thank you for doing that.
And thank you, Jana, for reading and for caring. I hardly think you’ve been naïve. We have come far. Not stopping though. Striving.
you are our hero….I tend to keep my mouth shut because I have had such awful experiences after my comments of praise for our black brothers and sisters. we have promised room in our house to every Hispanic we know…that raises ire too. Watch me sit through the next ceremony honoring our flag. Julie
It would be hard to watch that. I struggle to understand more of the world than what surrounded me in the bubble I was raised in, but I stand. We’re getting old enough that raising ire is less of a deterrent to doing what we think is right. Still, I stand. Maybe I should stand on my head.