To Kneel or Not Kneel, That is the Question

In The United States of America we are looked at as a beacon to many people around the world. We help other nations rebuild after natural disasters, we give other countries money to help feed their citizens, and we provide a way of life that many people want and seek out. The symbol of that beacon is our flag. In recent weeks and days, the symbol of this great country has been at the center of controversy in our sports world.

The United States flag represents many things to many different people, but one of things it does represent is equality for all. It’s not about equality for a certain segment of the population. When one segment of the population is hurting, we should all hurt. This country is one the best ideas that our world has ever come up with. It is an evolving idea, but nonetheless, a phenomenal concept. I don’t think people would dispute that.

This country was formed off of a protest against Britain.

To get things better in this country there have been numerous other protests. I would argue the Civil War was a protest against slavery, Susan B. Anthony protested to get  women the right to vote, Martin Luther King Jr marched in Alabama and Washington D.C. to get the Civil Rights Act as part of law in this country, the abortion fight is a protest that is still with us, the protests against the Vietnam War, and the Marriage Equality Act was a protest to let gay people get married.

Some of these protests did become violent and some where non-violent.

Enter Colin Kapernick.

Colin Kapernick, a former San Francisco 49er quarterback, saw something in our culture that he did not agree with and decided to do something about it.

He spoke out about it and took a knee during the National Anthem to protest, non-violently, against police brutality.

Kapernick became an instant villain to many people across this country.

In the United States, the flag is a symbol of our military for sure, but that is not all it represents. As I mentioned before, the flag also represents equality for all. No body is bigger than the flag in this country.

However, some people in this country want to think that they are. Some people say that the NFL players that are kneeling during the National Anthem are disrespecting the flag. I even seen people mention that the “kneelers” are desecrating the flag.

So now we are concerned about disrespecting the flag?

We have people who hold up the Nazi and Confederate flags in this country, we sell beer with it, we wear swimsuits of the flag, people use the flag as a bandana, so we disrespect that flag everyday. Don’t give me this disrespecting the flag thing because if you simply look around you, you will see the disrespect already in progress.

These players are doing none of the above.

To get things changed in this country sometimes you need to be uncomfortable. Things need to be thrown in your face to get people to notice. If you have been made to feel uneasy about all this National Anthem kneeling, good. Change is tough. It’s not supposed to be easy.

President Trump has thrown in his two cents worth of opinion on the subject as well. He said that these players should be fired for kneeling and in his words, “disrespecting the flag.” Trump even called the players “S.O.B.’s” for doing this.

Really? Our Commander-in-Chief calling some of our fellow citizens names and suggesting how owners of a private enterprise conduct their business?

The President of the United States has stated that protest is an American tradition. Evidently, just not this protest. A protest is only good if you agree with it I guess.

With that logic, the Martin Luther King Jr should have walked across a different bridge, Rosa Parks should have walked to work, Vietnam protesters should have just stayed in school, and maybe the young black college kids should have found a different college to go to.

I would certainly agree with the President that protesting is an American thing to do, but to say only certain types of protests are allowed is not at all American. I guess the white nationalists or KKK or whatever you want to call those human excrements in Charlottesville where doing the protest the right way to the President. You know, protecting heritage, saying anti-Semitic things, that’s all well and good. However, taking a knee in a non-violent way is over the line to the President?

It is obvious to many people that the President and other people that think like don’t see the real reason why the protests are occurring. It is isn’t about the flag, its about the inequality with people of different ethnic backgrounds in this country. If the tables were flipped and the majority was the minority and they had to deal with the injustices that others have had to deal with for decades I wonder how things were be perceived?

If the NFL were a majority of white players and they took a knee, would the feeling be the same in this country?

I’m not so sure.

Race is the big elephant in the room and this controversy is certainly bringing it out once again in this country. The country has always had a race issue and always will. If you think there wasn’t, I am not sure what planet you may be from.

People who fought for this country did not do there service for people to determine who is a patriot and who is not. It doesn’t work that way. For us as United States citizens we need to protest things to evolve as a culture. I know that some people don’t want that evolution to continue because they want to go back to the “good ol’ days”. Whatever that means.

I don’t want to go back in time. At. All.

There are different types of patriots in this country. People show their patriotism in different ways. Policemen, firemen, teachers, doctors, social workers, and everyday Americans are the patriots for me. We need to recognize the greatness in each other and realize that the differences that we have are far less than the goodness that lies within every citizen in this country.

These professional football players that taking part in these non-violent protests are not shaming the flag, they are holding up the greatness of the flag because they are demonstrating what makes this country great. We have the freedom to say what we want, to criticize who we want, and to affect change the way we want.

We do need to protest how people of color are treated in this country. If this is how this subject is put into focus, so be it.

I, for one, applaud the players willingness to put themselves out there and take a stand on something. The flag is about equality and freedom. Why would we question people trying to show that?

Just something to think about.