September 23, 2017

Article at Authory

The National Anthem Controversy

Those of you who have been friends with me for a while know that I have always been conflicted over the national anthem controversy. I have never spoken against any man's right to kneel if he chooses to do so, but I didn't like it when professional athletes called attention to themselves at a moment when everyone's focus should be on honoring our country.

I maintained that anyone who did not want to show respect for our country's flag during the national anthem could just do what foreign citizens do when another country's anthem is played. Stand quietly, hands at your sides or clasped behind you, and wait for the anthem to be completed. No one is obliged to put his hand over his heart.

For the record, I had no argument with other expressions of political opinions by athletes when they occurred at other times during games, such as when several players chose to raise their arms when they were introduced, in a show of solidarity with "hands up, don't shoot." If an athlete wants to use a time when the spotlight is legitimately on him to show solidarity with a cause that matters to him, I think that's reasonable.

But now Donald Trump has decided to weigh in on the national anthem controversy. Had he done so as a minor reality-show celebrity, his opinion would not matter. But he did so as President of these United States. And in that capacity he called fellow Americans, who are doing nothing more than engaging in free expression, "sons of bitches" and called for them to be fired.

As many others have pointed out, he had to be coerced over a period of days into condemning the white supremacists at Charlottesville and suggested that there were "fine people" on "many sides." But, according to Trump, black men who kneel during the national anthem are "sons of bitches" who should be punished by losing their livelihood.

In doing this Donald Trump has removed any ambiguity from this issue. In my opinion, until such time as he apologizes, all Americans should consider kneeling during the national anthem. Because we're Americans and should be free as Americans to do so.

(Image: Baseball team during presentation of the national anthem, Pixabay.)