By Olivia Pan
Colin Kaepernick’s infamous move to take a knee back in September of 2016 during the national anthem, in protest of police brutality against African Americans, has now become a movement of sorts. Our so called leader, Mr. Trump, recently proclaimed that players who take a knee during the anthem should be fired. He also called the move to take a knee a “total disrespect for our heritage.” Trump is clearly playing to his base to distract them from the fact that there is no border wall, no new healthcare plan, and that he is playing at nuclear war like a child playing with tin soldiers.
Trump is doing what he does best: deflecting and it has completely backfired. People are talking about this issue again, and I plan to as well in this article.
Here are my thoughts. Taking a knee in peaceful protest is not, in my opinion, a heinous act of disrespect, as it was so falsely mischaracterized by Trump. It infuriates me to hear Trump, of all people, label it as disrespect for vets, the country, and the flag. Let’s not forget, Trump dodged the draft five times; four times for college and one time for bone spurs in his feet. He has also flat out refused to place his hand over his heart during the anthem on more than one occasion. He has insulted war heroes such as John McCain for “getting caught” and has insulted the Muslim parents of a heroic dead veteran. He has never served his country. He only ridicules that which he knows nothing of.
The way I see it, if a football player wants to kneel during the anthem for a cause he believes in, he should have at it. That’s what being an American is about. That is what wars are fought for. You do not go to jail or get fired for thinking against the leadership or institutions of your country. Do I think Kaepernick should respect a country he clearly benefits from? Of course. However, I don’t see how kneeling during the anthem is any more or less disrespectful than insulting a war hero because he was “captured”, or attacking the Muslim parents of a fallen veteran. It pales in comparison.
Of course, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes that this topic was even being brought up again. I don’t know about you, but I for one am more concerned about tensions with North Korea, the devastation in Puerto Rico, and Trump’s basic incapability of going one day without tweeting something that could start a nuclear war. Right now, my main focus is not the NFL’s stance on players who kneel during our anthem. After all, the NFL has often turned a blind eye when it comes to employing animal abusers, rapists, and domestic abusers. Trump, however, wants the ‘kneelers’ to be the ones who get fired. (You can beat up your girlfriend, but God forbid you kneel to draw attention to black men having their civil rights violated again and again.) Quite frankly, the president of the United States should be focused on other issues like Meryl Streep, the Emmys, the fake news press, Rosie O’Donnell, Saturday Night Live, and the NFL. Oh wait, he has been focused on those life altering agenda items. I have a new list of priorities for you Mr. Trump: Puerto Rico, health care for all, North Korea (Never mind, don’t focus on that one. You’ll get us all killed!), education reform, poverty, the disappearing middle class, promised tax breaks for middle class citizens, children who go to school hungry, and the implementation of compassionate immigration policies. I could go on, but this man is incapable of doing the job. As for those who take a knee and to all those who support them, you are supporting freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and the freedom in this country to peacefully protest. I think most vets would tell you that is what they lay their lives on the line for and what their fellow vets died for. Let’s honor them and protest peacefully whenever our conscience moves us to do so.