A group of protesters carrying swastikas, shields, and guns chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” practiced their freedom of speech unencumbered by the Federal Government.
Another group of protesters kneeling peacefully during the National anthem practiced their freedom of speech with calls from the President demanding the NFL fire players.
While protests spread across the NFL, some NASCAR owners took the cue and announced they will terminate any employees protesting during the anthem. As team owners, it may be within their rights to do this, but something seems rotten when employers agree to help silence speech with threats of job loss following a tweet from the President.
What’s probably more confusing, directly with regard to the NFL, is that teams being on the field for the anthem is not a long-standing tradition. It was 2009 when they began requiring teams be out to show “patriotism.”
Furthermore, in 2011, the Department of Defense paid several sports’ teams for “patriotic” tributes. (Years later, the NFL returned the money after it was discovered. Obviously, patriotism paid-for is not patriotism.)
So, my questions:
If the government is restricted from censoring speech, should the President be free to demand others do it for him?
If we must be angry with players being disrespectful to the anthem, shouldn’t we also be angry at being manipulated with paid-for-patriotism and using patriotism as an audience driver?
If protesting during the anthem is “hating America” then what is adopting the symbols and words of our defeated enemies?
If kneeling peacefully during the anthem is the wrong way to protest then what is the right way to protest?
These are important questions that we should seriously consider.
Unfortunately, the tweet storm may all be for distraction since the President’s son-in-law was discovered to be using a private email account to conduct White House business and the repeal of… Oh, look! A squirrel!