It’s not about the Flag.
It’s not about the Anthem.
It’s not about the Pledge.
It’s not about Football, Basketball, Baseball or any sport.
It’s about Racism.
It’s about innocent lives lost in senseless violence.
It’s about systematic police brutality against unarmed black men, women and children.
It’s about someone thinking they have the right to tell others how to express their rights.
Honestly, the fact that we even have to have this conversation is exactly why #TakeAKnee matters. When you marginalize the protest and the voices of those that are speaking out because they are marginalized all you have accomplished is proving their protest is valid, needed and warranted.
Let’s be real here, your problem isn’t with your perceived disrespecting of the flag – a flag is a piece of fabric and cannot be disrespected, same for a song or a pledge. Your problem is that you cannot believe they have the audacity to speak out and say that “hey you know what? America isn’t great.” Which, is deliciously ironic considering you championed a candidate who campaigned on America not being great. Only, his problem was in our diversity and their problem is in an inequity of rights and treatment because of their diversity.
Sure it is important to show respect for our country, but when our country doesn’t show respect in return and proves over and over again that your life and the lives of your children do not matter, there is no choice but to speak out and take a stand. We owe it to our country and the principles on which we were founded to fight back and demand that the rights of all Americans are protected, not just those that agree with you. And yes, you do have the right to speak your opinion – but when your opinion aims to silence or harm someone else’s rights, you not only are a hypocrite, but you’re abusing your rights.
For everyone screaming that “this isn’t the place for protest” – How would you like them to protest? They can’t march. They can’t speak on social media. They can’t speak out on TV. They can’t kneel. What do you deem acceptable form of protest?
Our flag isn’t our nation. It is a symbol. Our nation exists in the people that live here – whether born here or not. These men kneeling are taking part in the very elements that created our country, though their protest is far more peaceful than say, the Boston Tea Party. They are living the constitution and they are using their voices and peaceful protest to speak up for those that can no longer speak because their lives were violently and senseless stolen.
Standing for the flag, anthem or pledge doesn’t make you an American and it isn’t a measure of your patriotism. How you stand for your country and fellow citizens is the true measure of your patriotism, which by the way is not a contest. We all stand differently, that’s part of what truly makes us great.
Ignoring the real reason for the protest is a symptom of the very problem.
Being color blind isn’t the answer either – we cannot ignore the differences that make us who we are. That just marginalizes people and their heritage. What we need to do is fully embrace, understand and welcome everyone regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, country of origin, etc. Being tolerant or blind isn’t enough, it’s part of the problem.