This isn’t complicated. Protesting during the national anthem isn’t about protesting what the flag stands for. It’s about taking a knee FOR what the flag stands for. It’s the very FIRST amendment our founders added to the Constituion.
Taking a knee is about protesting against racial injustice, inequality, and police brutality.
It’s not about protesting against the admirable service of millions, it’s about protesting FOR what those millions have served for, have died for, and continue to willingly and bravely fight for. They stand up for our country precisely so that anyone can exercise their right to protest, to take a knee, to speak out.
Some say that taking a knee during the anthem is a disgrace. What the hell does our country stand for if it doesn’t stand for speaking out against injustice and peacefully protesting against inequality? It’s possible to be proud of the country while also wanting to see the country do better, needing the country to do better.
I will always be proud of our country. But I’m also ashamed of our country. I’m ashamed that we’ve elected a racist bigot to “represent” us. I’m ashamed that so many still defend a racist flag that was hoisted by people fighing AGAINST the US flag solely on the back of slavery. I’m ashamed that our country as a whole does not care that black men are murdered by police merely for being black.
My life is relatively easy. I’m a financially comfortable white man. Would that everyone in our country had it this easy. I’ve been called slurs for being a Jew but have never felt truly unsafe merely because of the way I look. Would that everyone in our country had it this easy. Getting pulled over by a cop for me is not a problem, or something I worry about other than the check I’m going to have to write. Would that everyone in our country had it this easy.
This isn’t about any single police officer. Yes there are many good police. I have friends who are police and I will always love them and respect what they do. But facts are facts and the facts cannot be denied. There is an insitutional problem. Not just with the police but with many parts of our country. This country is not equal. It should be, but it’s not.
That’s why Kaep took a knee.
That’s why players protest.
That’s why I’m an ally, that’s why I support them.