We’re going to discuss the recent issue of hashtag TAKING A KNEE.
A brief synopsis: former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (played for the 49ers, had to fact check this, I only watch football to be social), started this last year by taking a knee during the national anthem before the game.
When asked why, he stated that it was in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States of America.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or country that oppresses black people and people of color…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.”
Freedom of speech. Simple as that.
And yet, all hell broke loose.
But, what’s new?
People from both sides coming out of the woodworks to spit out their opinions on what he should and should not have done.
Some said, more or less, to just shut up and play football.
Some attacked his rough and patchy career in the NFL—Trump-style, irrelevant and tone deaf.
And others supported his opinion on taking a knee, while others supported his right to do so.
2. more NFL players refusing to stand at an Alabama political rally (we’ll get to this),
3. an entire violent and fatal rally in Charlottesville,
4. and a month later, and here we are, with a comment from NBA point guard Stephen Curry, a withdrawn yet unwanted invitation to the White House, and a conversation to be started.
It’s so incredibly mind-boggling that a leader of a country, the United States of America to be more transparent, to become irate at a comment made against him.
Turning to social media to condemn any form of democratic opposition, or slight against one’s behavior or actions is for the people who enjoy trolling the internet, or stirring conflict, not for the president of the United States.
One of the many definitions of a president is to preside over an organized body of persons.
This action is not only beneath the person who holds this position, but also what should be (and I say should be because it is a choice, not a rule) the principle for someone who holds this much power.
For someone who is the people’s leader.
Who speaks and represents all.
We are in the midst of global epidemics—multiple hurricanes and tropical storms, earthquakes.
(Donate to UNICEF to help out in any way you can!)
Trump did do his part in traveling to specific regions to provide a helping hand.
DISCLAIMER: credit and acknowledgement was JUST given as stated above, reread if necessary, I give credit where credit is due.
During his time spent there and dealing with the problems in general, he not only used his position to abase Obama and amplify what he believes to be his very own positive qualities (https://youtu.be/lSK3Ew1AocA), he also took the time to send irate tweets (or maybe he had one of his staff members write them, who knows, we’ll give credit where it’s due, remember) to NFL players he deemed “sons of bitches” and do what he does best—Twitter finger his anger out to those who oppose him.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say, Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired! You know…some owner is going to do that, He’s going to say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired. And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in the country.”
Let this marinate.
POTUS condemning those peacefully protesting, with a right they freely have, to show solidarity in their rally for equality and literally just basic human rights for all—it’s really not hard to break down–in exchange for 25 to 30 seconds of cheering approval is the epitome of the tone deaf, topical dilution many try to apply to serious matters like this.
The president refuses to condemn those he should condemn—and by this, I mean, the violent, bigoted, chauvinistic, I’m-backed-by-Trump-therefore-everyone-is-wrong citizens who use aggression and violence to instill their opinions they believe should be sculpted into fact.
^^The superiority complex we have begun to see so incredibly exposed now that it’s okay to come out into the light.
Trump can take a vacation on Twitter when one of these people defined above can kill someone “out of pride for their country,” (Trump did not say this, I put it in quotes because this is the basis of many conversations around James Alex Fields and why supporters say he did what he did) and can only say that there was violence on “many sides,” that the group defined above is a group of “very fine people.”
POTUS can then turn around and comment on a statement made by athlete Stephen Curry, saying he did not want to go visit the White House with the rest of the Golden State Warriors after winning the NBA championship.
POTUS’ twitter fingers, rapidly sending out a 7:45 am tweet, work hard play hard, we-don’t-vacation-when-opposers-are-speaking:
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating therefore invitation is withdrawn!” -POTUS
Trump has introduced the conversation that needs to be had (credit again).
The juxtaposition of his role as president and his support and condemnation of specific groups of people has made way for us to discuss matters like this.
Why many are so quick to condemn a peaceful action and criticize their use of their power and platform to promote—here it is again—peaceful protesting, when our president uses his power and platform to degrade the very people he presides over and encourages violence toward them, as if they are enemies of the state?
This has always been a touchy subject, the one no one wants to have, because either they are too afraid to be politically incorrect—a phrase that pretty much no longer exists, and I am happy that it doesn’t, it made conversations so surface-level, so fragile—or they are too afraid of people knowing what they truly think.
If you are one of those who is in full support of Trump’s divisive rhetoric on those who decide to partake in taking a knee…
If you are one of those who believes that these athletes, also known as “sons of bitches” by a man we call our president, should be fired, kicked out, suspended, etc…
If you are one of those who believes that these “sons of bitches” are disrespecting those who fought for our flag, those who died on the front line to make America what it is today…
Ask yourself WHY.
But after I break this down for you.
Since when did #TakingAKnee to protest become more “disrespectful” and “troublesome” than fatally running someone over with a car and injuring 19 others to protest against your right?
Since when did #TakingAKnee because a group of people do not feel safe in a country that they, too, live in, whose president refuses to protect or convict any unnecessary violence or action against them, who are not respected in many parts of society, whose lives are just conversations that dance in circles, that fade into hashtags, because we can’t stand in unity or speak up for those who died only for being a minority, a citizen in the United States…when did that become more of an issue, more substantial of a reason to “kick someone out” rather than the “very fine people” who would use violence to showcase their “patriotism?”
Footnote: furthermore, if this is what patriotism means to you, or if this is what you want to see, I have an idea of who should really be kicked out of the country.
Since when did #TakingAKnee equate to shunning and disregarding all of the hard work veterans and those still in the line of service have done?
Footnote: those fighting for this country and have done so in the past deserve the utmost respect, this is not an argument. It is an incredible feat to preserve and protect your country, and we all are in agreement on that.
Footnote: These people knew their mission, and that was to protect the security of this country and its inhabitants (https://www.defense.gov/About/, for reference). Our president cherry picks from this doctrine.
If you have an argument for any of those, then sweetheart…YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT.
You are so incredibly missing the point.
This is not an issue of the flag.
This cannot be boiled down to a simple story of the bad child who just didn’t want to put his hand on his heart for the pledge of allegiance.
This is not about the National Anthem.
These are people who are being paid millions of dollars, could care less if they really wanted to on matters that generally may not affect them, and could lose their jobs, yet are doing what they can to provide unity and a solid platform for a new conversation: we will not STAND for the unfair treatment of some Americans and the bigotry that continues to plague our nation.
How can you sit there and tell these player to stand up and shut up, to revoke and redeem their rights as American citizens to STAND for what they believe in, to continue playing their sports, because that is all they should be concerned with?
Must we always voice the same conversation, the same plea, the same statement that rights are NOT privileges given out or taken away, yet free for all to partake in?
These Americans who fight for our country, these soldiers and veterans you claim athletes are disrespecting…they are comprised of all American citizens, white, black, brown, yellow (if I didn’t use your color, I’m sorry, I was not discriminating, you’re included, too).
They all fight for the freedom and rights that are in our constitution.
(A dogma becoming so transparent that it does not include everyone.)
If there is anyone to criticize, it’s the members of society and the president who do not uphold the values of what true patriotism is, who condemn anyone protesting against minority violence and racism.
Who condemn anyone using their voice or their silence instead of their guns or their cars to broadcast their opinions.
Visual and Historical Depiction:
I know the NFL and NBA was fun when everything was light-hearted, when it was just a game instead of a political war zone, when it was entertainment to watch.
I know it makes you uncomfortable to see how powerful silence can be, when it forces you to look at what is going on in this world, when our president is a reality that you refuse to acknowledge, because you just want players to “shut up and play some ball.”
The problem here is not the silence these players choose to use to bring notice to an issue we have yet to solve.
It is the loud, collective voice we hear from you who tell them they should disregard basic rights of humanity and ignore, just like you, the plight of those not heard because in your eyes, they do not matter.
That is what you are saying when you agree with Trump, that these players are wrong for what they are doing.
That is what you are saying when you bring up the argument of the flag and the belief that they are disrespecting what it stands for.
Because on the other side of that coin is what you say, disrespecting what the flag stands for.
Liberty, and justice for all.
Red stripes for the hard “courage of separating from what we once knew, courage of starting over, courage of fighting for our freedom.”
Blue for justice, the basis of our country.
By continuing your irrelevant chatter of insolence and how one should be proud of this nation and one’s “right” to live in it, you turn your head away from one’s right to live peacefully in this nation, to protest against the treatment of certain groups. Because it’s just as simple as the three definitions above—freedom for all, the courage to fight for freedom and separate from the past, to move forward in solidarity, for justice.
Before kickoffs today, Sunday, September 24th, 2017, players stood or kneeled in solidarity, in unity, to fight the discordant rhetoric spewed from the man who is in charge of protecting them and their rights. The man who is capable of acknowledging who he believes to be “very fine people,” who is more than willing to allow freedom of speech turn to freedom to attack and kill, if it means that his version of solidarity is being executed.
These players are fighting for those whose voices are only heard as an afterthought, who are considered afterthoughts, because their movement to be equal isn’t in sync or in rhythm with the structure and standard of what society has established.
Their silence has brought more noise and criticism than the “front line” at the rally who pillaged and vandalized the streets of Charlottesville in the name of patriotism.
It seems to me that the problem is not the definition of the flag.
We may need to redefine patriotism.