Perspective: Questions to consider regarding kneeling

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!

Joe Huddleston

13 Responses to Perspective: Questions to consider regarding kneeling

  1. Nancy R Curry September 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    Joe I agree with you .God Bless

    • Scott Newton September 26, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

      Ditto, Joe. Well said.

  2. Greg September 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    Unencumbered by federal troops? Why would federal troops be at a protest rally?

    They have the right to kneel, and the President has the free speech right to voice his opinion. I remember Obama offering his opinion on just about every major social story out there (If I had a son, Trayvon).

    Your story seems very leading to a particular narrative, and reckless with your timeline of facts.

    Nice try though. I will still show respect and stand, and will choose to change the channel on the NFL.

    • Tom E September 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

      I stand with Greg. As the saying goes, if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. You can bet none of these folks who think it is OK to kneel during the Anthem never were in the military or knew anyone that was, or ever did anything that requires intestinal fortitude. Talking/telling others what they should think or believe and doesn’t count as courageous. I was taught to show respect by standing and removing my cover before I made it to elementary school. I believe everyone has the right to free speech but there is a time and place. You wouldn’t call attention to yourself during a sermon would you?
      Change the channel and for God’s sake laugh and have some fun, life ain’t that difficult.

    • Joe H September 27, 2017 at 8:24 am #

      First, I never wrote the word “Federal Troops.” Indeed the word “troops” does not appear in my letter. I wrote “unencumbered by the Federal Government.” Meaning, at the least, no one from the government suggested they should be fired for their speech.

      Not sure what the timeline has to do with anything. I am contrasting two specific events.

      Regardless, you are correct that the president does have the right to voice his opinion. However, there is a difference between opinion and call to action that would violates one’s rights. I think he needs to choose his words more carefully.
      18 U.S. Code § 227 – Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch

  3. Brett September 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    I bet you already know this Joe. The music to the “Star Spangled Banner” is from the British song, “To Anacreon in Heaven.”

    The only reason they play the anthem is because at a baseball game in the 1918 World Series the crowd was very bored. To entertain the crowd the band played the Star Spangled Banner and the crowd liked it. Americans were a bit down on watching baseball because many thought these young guys should have been fighting in World War I and not playing baseball instead. So it really wasn’t to much as a “respect the military” thing back then. It’s morphed into that through the years.

    When I go to a sporting event and they ask me to stand for the Anthem, I just stand, remove my hat and stare blankly forward. It’s just not worth it to have some crazy patriotic nut do me harm if they see me not standing. So I just “go with the flow”. I bet there is a huge population of people that feel like this.

    it makes no sense to play it at a sporting event. Why not play it at the movie theaters? Or before church mass? or before a wedding? How about a funeral? Does anyone stand up at home when they play the Star Spangled Banner? You’d have to be nuts to do that!

  4. dan barrett September 26, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    Why does 45 make a big deal over a minor issue? Tweets 20 times regarding NFL, while not leading the nation in our efforts to bring food, water, medicine to 3.4 Americans doing without in Puerto Rico…yep, I think Trump is a master at diversion…I feel Trumps last word as they drag him off to jail will be…”SQUIRREL !”

    Patriotism is a inner feeling, like religion, I display my patriotism the way that makes me feel good and proud inside to satisfy me, not others. Patriotism is like religion. Should I attend services just so others (the public) can see me, so they will think I am a good Buddhist, Hindu, Muslin, Christian, etc. The publics concept of what I should do or how I should behave to satisfy their viewpoint or concept of what is right, is in my humble opinion, un-American and goes against the grain of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. How I personally display anything is my business and displaying my patriotism is of no concern to others. Like Brett states above “Does anyone stand up at home when they play the Star Spangled Banner?” I bet, since no one sees them, they don’t. I know I don’t.

  5. dan barrett September 26, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    When I arrived back in West Germany in 1979, after being liberated from the American Embassy in Teheran, I knelt in front of the American Flag and gave thanks to God Almighty that I was an American, was home and was free. Yes, I was inebriated by then (thanks to free drinks on the plane), but if that makes me a “Trump son of a bitch”, then so be it. No doubt Trump appeals to the ignorance in our society.

  6. Tom M September 27, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    If you feel its OK to kneel while our Nations flag is flying and our National Anthem is played I would ask you take a tour through anyone of our National or State Veterans Cemeteries or go abroad to shall we say France and just look around and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice these men gave for God, Country, and Flag. “Love it or Leave it, We fought for it.” Enough said on this stupid topic. United States Army Disabled Veteran.

    • Joe H September 27, 2017 at 9:46 am #

      Shouldn’t the same be said to people that embrace the symbols of our defeated enemies? If not, why is it different?

  7. dan barrett September 27, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    Since I was assigned to the European Theater of Operations for ten years, I visited many American Military cemeteries. I kneelt many times at those cemeteries and prayed in my own way and privately before the American flag for the souls of those that had sacrificed their life for my country, one of those was my own uncle. So please don’t tell me my private acts of worship or patriotism don’t suit you just because you were not there to tell me how to act. Calm down, have a nice stiff drink and pray for our country (it needs it). Maybe Trump will stop yelling “SQUIRREL !” and address real problems.

  8. John King October 2, 2017 at 1:21 am #

    C’mon Joe. The protesters in Charlottesville were private citizens. The thugs in the NBA are employees, They work for the NFL. I think Trump was right to call on the NBA to fire the SOBs. They are SOBs, privleged SOBs at that. Just as if you disrespected the flag on company time, I would be inclined to call your boss and ask for you to be fired. But if you want to burn the flag, defecate on it, etc on your own time in a public place I would be the first to stand up for your right to self expression. And further I would be angry at your employer if they fired you for non violent political activity off the clock and off the job. Unfortunately only 2 states, North Dakota and California protect people from being fired for legal political activity off the job. This is a law Indiana needs badly. I personally know someone who was fired from a state job for non violent political activity outside of the workplace. He never discussed politics at work. The blood is ultimately on the hands of Mike Pence. This is not what my 2 grandfathers who were fighting the real nazis (not those guys on TV) risked their lives for. Apparently I don’t get the joke about “Squirrel” Please don’t think that I support everything Trump does. He has been a real embarrassment and let down so far. I was promised a wall with Mexico and instead I’m getting a stupid war with North Korea. All I can say is when he does pull the trigger I expect Princess Ivanka to be serving in the front line and Barron … well, he’s autistic … he can be the drummer boy.

    • Joe H October 2, 2017 at 8:25 am #

      The point of the letter was to contrast our reactions.

      Kneeling during the anthem to protest is being called disrespectful…whether on company time or not.
      However, a bunch of other protesters can wave the flags of defeated enemies and nobody calls that unpatriotic.
      The NFL and DOD can manipulate our feelings with faux patriotism and nobody calls that unpatriotic.