Legitimate protest or not ?
Social injustice, social commentary, and social inequality are all the buzz words being bandied about by professional, college and even high school athletes who have chosen to do something other than stand during the playing of our National Anthem. The players claim that the action is their direct response to the current issues our society is dealing with on a daily basis. The act is their expression of a personal belief. Is it truly a form of legitimate protest that shows respect?
Each and everyone one of these expressions is guaranteed under our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.
No one denies this and for the most part, everyone supports this basic freedom.
Is it truly solidarity?
Initiated by one professional athlete, those who are copying that behavior may, or may not, express solidarity in response to perceived injustices in our system of laws.
Our system is not perfect; it has never been and probably will never be perfect. It is not perfect because we depend on human interaction to create and enforce our laws. We need the legislators, the enforcement agencies, and the judiciary to act in concert to ensure the fair and impartial application of the law. The same laws that guarantee and govern our behavior guarantee and govern our right of expression.
The majority of the news coverage, to date, concerns professional athletes who are well paid and well known. It is the media who feasts on their actions and attempts to capitalize on those actions and make them newsworthy. This past weekend; the opening weekend of the 2016 NFL season saw the media scouring the sidelines looking for evidence of “personal expression” by those athletes who sought to align themselves with the actions of one individual player. They were not disappointed. A quick review of the news finds a number of articles showcasing the player’s actions at the opening ceremonies of the games.
Sunday was the 15th Anniversary of the 9-11 attack upon the United States. Many of the NFL players and coaches used social media to express their remembrances and honor the men and women who lost their lives that day. They also honored the men and women of the fire, police, and military who responded and performed uncommon acts of valor. Those players expressed their solidarity with them!
Another form of social commentary?
A young boy stood in the rain for almost half an hour the other day. Silent and respectful, he waited for the hearse carrying the body of a Veteran to pass by on its way to his final resting place.
The family commented:
“We came around the corner and saw Kaiden standing there all by himself. No adults around. No friends around. In the rain with his hand over his heart. Stock-still as a measure of honor and respect for our father.”
A young teenage boy shows his honor and respect for our Flag and what it means to him.
This young man held up a flag because he was taught to honor and respect the symbol of our nation.
Most of all, this teenager was taught that it is inappropriate to allow our flag to touch the ground.
The American people have been standing for decades with hand over heart to honor America when our National Anthem is played. We stand during times of peace. We stand during times of war. We stand when we celebrate our Independence and our continued Democracy. We stand when we recognize that our anthem and our flag are symbols of our Country. Those symbols stand for what we the American people believe in and continue to fight for. Therefore, when one of us dies in the service of our country a young man cradles the flag that covered the casket of the fallen.