Kneeling


Once again, my very real concerns about President Trump and the 1st Amendment are coming true before our very eyes.

Let me say this, I do not believe that the NFL and MLB players “protesting” the National Anthem are doing the right thing. They are misguided and they are hurting their brand. They don’t care, because they earn in a year more than most of their customers will earn in several lifetimes.

Now, after a surreal Sunday of protests, boo’s, and even Jerry “No Kneeling on My Team” Jones kneeling with his players, the President has tweeted out once again his disdain for the idea of freedom of speech, particularly speech with which he disagrees. He demanded that the NFL put in place a rule to ban players from kneeling for the anthem.

Again, I oppose the kneeling protests, but nothing has made me more likely to join it than the one person charged with the faithful execution of our laws and upholding our Constitution telling people that they cannot freely speak their protest. The idea that the President of the United States would call – again – for the banning of free speech is something worth protesting in my view.

Sadly, this is not the first time Mr. Trump has called for limits on speech with which he disagrees. Nor will it be the last. The real danger is that he is playing to nationalism. Be careful in your inference of what I am saying. I am not saying that he is appealing to white racism. But he is appealing to the average American’s sense of nationalistic pride and reverence for those symbols of our freedoms, liberty and sacrifice.

He is using our feelings about those valuable and meaningful symbols to drive a further wedge between those who – for whatever reason – disagree. Which is, at the heart of the matter, why we need free speech in the first place, to resolve our grievances.

The 1st Amendment prohibits the government – at any level – from restricting speech (with some well defined exceptions which are not applicable here). Now, the leader of the government is calling for just such restrictions. Not that long ago, he demanded that Flag burners be punished and have their citizenship revoked.

He was wrong then. He is wrong now. I have said from the beginning that his callous disregard for the liberties our Constitution protects worries me. Now he has found an issue with which he can resonate with those who love this nation, and by speaking in sound bites and tweets, never face critical questions or be called upon to elucidate his reasoning beyond wrapping it in the flag and sloganeering.

Those of us who hold these symbols in reverence see one side denigrating them, and by extension, ourselves. The other side (the President) now uses them to emotionally manipulate us into believing that what we want is to simply force the other side to shut the fuck up.

As a Constitutionally minded conservative; as a veteran; as an American, is that what I really want? To use the force of government to shut the other side up? How can any person who says that they support the Constitution accept that?

Instead of using the forces of the free market, which the President supposedly supports, to correct this issue, he instead chooses to use the power of government to intervene and try to manipulate. Never understanding that he is actually only accomplishing three things. First, he is causing ever more resentment to the protesters, who now dig in their heels and make no room for compromise. Second, he further divides the two sides by playing on emotionally charged jingoism’s and nationalism which most of those who oppose the protests like, but struggle to articulate why they mean so much to them.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the President is distracting from the real issues that need correction and also divide us.

I say this again to be clear – I believe that kneeling for the National Anthem is insulting to those who served this nation and those who scarified friends, family, limbs and lives for the securing of liberty. I disagree with you for doing so and I will tell you that to your face.

You are insulting and offending me.

And the only thing that would offend me and insult me more than what the protesters are doing, is my government telling them that they cannot do so.

I will oppose that with my knee and even if need be, my life. Because my oath, my faith, and my allegiance is to the Constitution and it’s liberties, not to the President of the United States.

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Posted on September 26, 2017, in 1st Amendment, Constitution, Freedom of speech and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. They were kneeling to show unity with fellow players, but stood for the anthem to show that they do not protest the anthem or flag. Kapernick first started his protest in 2013 – Obama was president and well into his own agenda of causing trouble between the races.

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  2. “But he is appealing to the average American’s sense of nationalistic pride and reverence for those symbols of our freedoms, liberty and sacrifice.”

    He’s appealing to the narrow minded prejudices of his base – which prejudices include a near religious form of “patriotism”. (One that Stalin and Kim Jong-un would recognize and approve of.) As a media star, he’s well experienced with playing to his audience.

    The “average” American isn’t particularly proud and only indifferently reverent. He’s merely being dragged along in the slipstream.

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  3. Let me ask you this. If the NFL enforced it’s rule about the pledge making them stand, hand over heart, etc. Would that be denying them free speech since it is in the course of employment. The employer should have the right to terminate for speech that causes a loss of revenue. The way I interpreted the Presidents remarks is that he would like to see the team/nfl fire them. Wouldn’t that be constitutional? ESPN has fired several people for just this reason.

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    • There is no such rule in the current NFL rule book (despite the meme’s). Should not the employer also have the right to decide what they will allow?

      Or is your argument that the Government should direct to private businesses what they will allow and what they will not allow, instead of allowing the free market to decide what customers want?

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      • I guess my question is would you consider it infringing on the players rights if the employer were to fire them.

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  4. No. It would not be.

    But I strongly object to the POTUS telling any private employer what they can and cannot allow as speech

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    • I guess for me if the President asks the public “wouldn’t you like to see them fired” or states his opinion that he feels they should be fired, and firing them would not infringe on their 1st Ammendment rights, then I do not have an issue with that. Now if stated that I am going to propose legislation or a create an executive order that would force the NFL, NBA, etc to fire them, then I would have a problem with that.
      I as always respect your opinion though.

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      • So the general response is that the President “didn’t make a law” forcing the NFL owners to do anything, he simply “expressed his opinion.”

        There are several problems with that, but consider for the moment: can a uniformed member of the Government – at any level – share his/her opinion while representing the government? If a Senator “expresses” his opinion, is it nothing more than an opinion or does it indicate his/her desire to enact legislation?

        When the President speaks from the Bully Pulpit, is it really “just his opinion?”

        Consider the events in Alabama yesterday. did that election occur in a vacuum?

        Consider past remarks by the President, to whit:

        “We are going to ban Muslims.” Followed by an Executive Order which did exactly that. Judges based their rulings on their understanding of his intentions, based upon his own words followed by his actions.

        “We are going to change laws, so that we can sue.” Then Candidate Trump on libel laws he felt are unfair to him personally. Odd considering the response to the same issues that other Presidents (Washington, Jefferson) have had, wouldn’t you agree?

        “Flag Burners should be punished and have their citizenship revoked.” Even Antonin Scalia disagreed with this and wrote the ruling securing the right to burn a flag.

        The idea that he is “just expressing an opinion” while the Presidential Seal is in front of him doesn’t fly.

        He is speaking as the Government and as the head of that government. Regardless of whether or not legislation follows, he is making it clear that his desire is to violate the 1st Amendment. If Obama or Clinton had said similar things, Constitutional Conservatives would be wailing and gnashing their teeth. Instead, because they actually support these ridiculous positions, they cheer.

        Which only proves the fact that they aren’t as much Constitutionalists or even conservatives as much as they are merely anti-establishment Republicans.

        Once upon a time, we would have called this out for what it is – inflammatory rhetoric pandering to an uneducated mob. Instead, we excuse it.

        Which do we really support, the actual Constitution or the “opinions” of someone who has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about the Constitution?

        I chose the Constitution. If that makes me unpopular, so be it. But I will never support ANYONE who is willing to even float the idea of violating the 1st Amendment (or any other part of the Constitution for that matter) because it suits his/her political goals.

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