So, now it has dripped its way into my Sunday morning NFL Football. The president is in a twitter war with North Korea as we teeter on the verge of a possible nuclear war and decides he needs to call out NFL owners and players about athletes who choose to sit, stand, or take a knee during the National Anthem. I am so confused by this. Is this really a NATIONAL priority? I will say publically that I have been a lifelong Republican, but THIS is not about party lines. I respect the views and even agree with some of what my friends who are Democrats say and believe. That is what makes this nation great…we can differ on views and not feel the need to change each other. (At least in my circle of friends.)
For those not sure how this started, it began with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His reasons were his own, but his hope was supposedly to start a dialogue about racial issues in this nation. At first, I was shocked. But then I realized he was using his American rights that I served to defend to enact a peaceful protest. I was not happy with his actions, but I respected his rights. Naturally, the media ran wild with this. Every game started with cameras panning the bench to show who was sitting or taking a knee. And then conversations began. Kaep was accomplishing what he set out to do. And then it became a movement. Again, not one I would ever consider, but I respected the rights of those who did.
As a vet who served in the US Navy (peacetime during the Cold war between 83-89), I earned a deeper respect for this nation, its flag, and what it means to me. I saw life in other nations and know how harsh some places will come down on any who dared to exhibit what might be construed as disrespect for their nation and its flag. Do I stand for the Anthem? Absolutely. I do it to honor the men and women who defend it every single day in a world far more dangerous than the era in which I served. HOWEVER…I also support those who are using PEACEFUL PROTEST to express a view.
I don’t do politics in a public forum. But I feel that this transcends whatever political leaning a person may have. We are a nation that espouses FREEDOM. Do I have to agree with what another person says? Nope. Do I even have to respect it? No. But I do not have the right to silence it.
Whether you sit, stand, or take a knee, you are still an American. You share a nation. We have not been so divided in my lifetime, and I can only wonder how history will look back on this era. Will this be a black eye? Will we pull through this and become strong again, or have we finally run our course as a nation? Every empire lived as if they would exist forever, yet history has shown that nothing is forever.
I can’t say that I understand what the African-American community has /have to experience with law enforcement. I do believe that the media is partly responsible in how things are snowballing. Not every law enforcement member is a racist thug. But those are the ONLY ones we hear about.