Take a Knee for America

Oakland_Raiders_National_Anthem_Kneeling_(37444579735)New readers to this blog may not know, but our contributors worked in America’s nuclear weapons complex. We love our country and are called (by Congress – honest, they wrote this into legislation) Cold War Warriors. You can’t get more patriotic than plutonium.

I’ve been conflicted over NFL players dropping to one knee during the national anthem and have struggled to decide what I think of the protests.

  • On the one hand, I personally find it upsetting. On the other, I find the bias against people of color in our justice system more upsetting.
  • I would like to see all Americans stand together for at least a moment, but I also realize that protesting discrimination will make the country better.
  • Players are employees – dressed in team uniforms – and we all relinquish some rights while on the job. That argues they should not express personal beliefs on the field. On the other hand, how many of us are required by our employer to make a specific political declaration, on national TV, by standing for the anthem? Teams want players to be role models, to inspire fans, to donate part of their salaries to charities – some of their off-field activities are contractual. How can you require them to be so public and then stop them from stating their own opinions?
  • Players say their protest is not disrespectful, and only a jerk would tell someone else what they mean when they speak. But no one gets to define symbols that belong to us all, so I seeboth sides here.
  • Money doesn’t buy a person’s soul, so I don’t accept that a well paid player (or anyone) has no right to point out injustice.
  • Coopting the military to justify a position isn’t fair – members of the military hold a range of opinions just like any other group of Americans. Pitting “our flag” against “them” places Americans in separate tribes and prevents us from discussing important problems.
  • To anyone who says this is the wrong sort of protest – how much time did we spend talking about the justice system and policing before? Maybe some energy is wasted when we argue over the form rather than substance, but at least we’re talking.

At the last Bills vs Broncos game I watched a player drop to one knee with his hand over his heart. Hand on heart for love of America. Take a knee to demand we live up to our ideals. It was beautiful.

My feelings have finally crystalized.

Take a knee for America.

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