When I go to a sporting event, or any other place for that matter, and the national anthem of the United States plays, I place my hand over my heart and face the flag.
It’s just what I’ve always done and what I’ve come to believe is the proper thing to do when the national anthem is played. Now, as a father, I’ve taught my young children to do the same and I hope that in the future they also teach their children to do the same.
My children and I watch sporting events together, both in person and on television. Recently, during many of those games on TV or in person we have seen athletes make the decision to kneel during the playing of our national anthem. Though my kids are young they’ve noticed the players kneeling. My daughter, who is only eight years old, asked me last week, “why is the guy on the TV kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner? Does that make you mad?”.
My response to her was simple, he’s kneeling because that’s what he feels is right just as we hold our hands over our hearts and face the flag because that is what we feel is right. I continued to tell her that I wasn’t mad, it’s his right as an American to do as he pleases with his freedom of speech and if she ever felt the same way she could also do that. But I hope that she does not have to.
Even though I believe that everyone should stand for the playing of our national anthem, as a tribute to those who gave their lives for this country and allow us to be here demonstrating our freedom of speech, it would be hypocritical of me to tell someone else what to do when they’re only doing what they feel is right.
When Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling for the national anthem, my immediate reaction was that he should stand and respect the flag and those that died protecting it, thus allowing him the opportunity to play a game and make millions of dollars. However, after listening to him and hearing what he wanted to accomplish by protesting silently, I began to understand exactly what he felt. He wasn’t kneeling because of his own injustice or because he was ungrateful for the millions of dollars he has made or the opportunities he has been given, but more so to bring into the light, the darkness that those without such a stage were dealing with.
What started as Colin Kaepernick doing what he felt was right, has turned into a fairly large following of mostly NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustices in this country.
Until tonight, I never felt Like it was something I should write about. As I stated earlier in this piece, I don’t necessarily agree with kneeling, but I understand it. However, comments by President Trump about firing the “sons of bitches” who kneel during the national anthem, while at a rally of his in Alabama struck a chord with me and made me think maybe it’s time I use my freedom of speech and let these thoughts pour out of my head.
There is one thing that bothers me immensely more than someone kneeling for the national anthem ever could and that is hypocrisy.
President Trump’s comments tonight should allow him to be a first ballot member in the hypocrisy Hall of Fame. This is a Man who talks about freedom of speech and how great of a country United States is all while trying to silence anyone who disagrees with him.
Enough is enough.
If you truly want to make America great again, then we need to stop dividing this country and once again become the United States of America by acknowledging that everyone has their basic freedoms such as the freedom of speech that are constitution has given us And because of that has a right to do or say what they feel is necessary. Trump has his right to call anyone sons of bitches, just as those who feel social injustices have the right to kneel during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
The biggest difference is that the comments of the leader of the free world come across as angry, spiteful, and hateful. This is a man who called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people” before coming out days later stating that there was blame on “both sides” and yet called those who stage peaceful and quiet protests “Sons of bitches” that deserve to be fired.
What bothers me the most about it, is that maybe these men are trying to make America great again, trying to make the flag stand for everything that it should, a united, peaceful country, where those of all colors and cultures are given the freedom to live as they please. Isn’t that the idea that this country was founded on?
Even more confusing, is why these comments are needed by the president as we are country trying to heal from multiple hurricanes that affected Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Millions of people need help, food, shelter, and especially in Puerto Rico face months without electricity.
The more bothersome fact is that these comments are not even the most recent batch of ridiculous blabber coming from President Trump when it comes to something other than politics or fixing this country.
Last week, the White House and Trump came out saying that ESPN host Jemele Hill should be fired for a tweet where she called the President a “white supremacist”. While I do not necessarily agree with that statement, when you hold a rally, in Alabama, and get a rise out of calling out black men as “sons of bitches”, the needle starts to sway a little more towards Hill being closer to right than wrong.
Stop focusing on getting a rise out of people at your rallies and begin to focus on fixing the things that truly matter. The actions of this administration are getting harder and harder to understand or defend.
Whether we are white or black, Asian or Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, or whatever race or nationality we are, the divisiveness needs to stop and we need to realize that there are good and bad people of every race and culture.
Can that happen while Trump is in office? For the sake of my children, I hope so, but I am beginning to lose faith in that.
If this country truly wants to be great again we need to come together not as a race or a culture but as a country and as Americans. Just because you don’t believe in something and you may find it wrong, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. We can have a difference of opinion’s, but if we are going to truly believe that we have the freedom of speech to do or say what we please then we need to stop being hypocrites and allow everyone else those same thoughts and ideals.
This Sunday, when the NFL is set to play its slate of games, here is to hope that ALL players stand or kneel united as one group of “sons of bitches” and as Americans.