We all know about football players kneeling during the national anthem. Months ago it was all over the news, CNN was debating over it, and even Trump had some words to say about it during one of his rallies. After that, it all blew up in a negative light. A simple protest got twisted into something it wasn’t about. The more I saw people complaining about it the madder I got. Trump put something out there and suddenly people were eating it up and reciting his words without wanting to understand.
For one, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during preseason and even explained it had to do with police brutality and systematic barriers. The flag is supposed to represent justice and liberty, the land of the free, but that is not the reality for people of color living in America, for those who are oppressed and find themselves in various systematic traps. All over social media and all over the news, I saw people calling everyone who took the knee to protest these injustices disrespectful. Kneeling during the national anthem, though it had to do with the symbolism of the flag, was never about disrespecting the American Flag and had absolutely nothing to do with troops who fight for our country. Instead, it was a criticism and a peaceful, silent protest about how our country operates by someone with a platform to reach millions of people. I refuse to believe Trump was clever enough to purposefully misdirect the conversation, but I wouldn’t put it past him to silence those speaking out. That’s something white nationalist and supremacists do well. I will confidentially say he did a damn good job of misinterpreting the conversation and spreading false information.
What really got to me was the hypocrisy and irony of it all. If we want to talk about disrespecting the flag, we should probably have a discussion about the way it is capitalized. If we want to talk about disrespecting our troops, we should probably have a discussion about the way America treats them after they’ve completed their service and returned back home. It is so ironic to me that as a country we preach freedom but essentially refuse those the right to protest by making it unnecessarily difficult to do so, even when it’s done quietly. Kaepernick had something to say, a conversation to start, and he used his voice to do so. It’s ridiculous that the conversation turned the way it did. After reading this, if you have a problem with kneeling during the national anthem, I hope you understand why. I’ve got a couple guesses.