By now, surely everyone is tired of hearing about the take a knee movement during the National Anthem at sporting events. Now, there’s even fake news about the Steelers being fined for not coming onto the field in their last game. It should be noted that the whole team did not stay in the locker room. In fact, Alejandro Villanueva stood outside the tunnel paying his respects while his team stood behind him in the tunnel though he has since gone on record as saying that this was not his original intent and apologized to his team mates who did not come out. It caused a lot of drama and odd tweets from way too many people. The mania extended on Monday when the Dallas Cowboys did their version of the kneeling protest.
Can we as a country, take a moment to breathe, collect ourselves and look at this objectively?
The Fake News
First, let’s clear the fake news out of the conversation. The Steelers are not being fined one million each for not being on the field during the anthem. That is fake news. Snopes already disproved it here. The fake news article originates from thelastlineofdefense.org. Let’s face it: The NFL wouldn’t be so foolish as to fine the one team with a legitimate combat veteran Army Ranger on their roster. It would be a public relations and financial nightmare for a league already under fire with so many of its fans jumping ship.
We live in a country with great ideals. Ideals that espouse that we don’t have to agree. In fact, our disagreement and rational conversation is what makes us great. Our ability to change our stride to make our world better is what has put us at the forefront of technology, culture and success. As much debate as there is on the topic, empirically, we are the lone “super-power” and we didn’t get that way by being parrots who agree with everyone all the time.
Why I Stand
I am a Marine Corps infantry veteran. I spent my time with the 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment. I understand why we stand, and I will always do so. Every time the Star Spangled Banner plays, I still get chills. When I see Old Glory fly or draped across a casket, it moves me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are many like this. I do not ‘take a knee’ when the anthem plays. Period.
Take a Knee, but Respect Each Other
But there are many Americans that don’t see it the same way. There are no two people in this country that have had the exact same experience so it stands to reason that there are differences of opinion. But, being angry at someone for having a different life experience is not productive and it’s downright un-American. You can stand, some can kneel, but what neither of us ought to do is be disrespectful to another for exercising rights.
Taking a knee can actually be seen as a show of respect, but in this case, it clearly is not. I get that. Everyone knows, thanks to the mainstream media not letting this story fade into obscurity where it belongs, that the knee is a show of protest. A right all Americans have. That’s great. But it’s a protest that a lot of people are upset with because of the implications they find within. We’re taught to stand during the National Anthem and doing anything else is going to be viewed as a sign of disrespect to country, flag and what both represent.
Should Colin Kaepernick and all the rest not take a knee during the anthem? I would. I’d like them to do so as well, but I can’t and won’t try to make them do it. I won’t shame them. I won’t disrespect them or myself to get into an argument that ultimately disrespects the ideals that this country was founded on.
As long as no one is being assaulted or robbed, I think we should agree to disagree. If someone wants to take a knee, that should be their decision. You can disagree but they can still do it. When we don’t agree, let’s at least always strive to preserve the spirit of liberty and justice for all. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to feel when we hear the National Anthem, anyway?