On Sunday I observed most of the football teams taking a knee in protest during the national anthem. For those who might not realize, the NFL is in a bit of a verbal war with the POTUS. For whatever reason the President has decided it is his job to use Twitter to speak to the world. And that is what has caught my attention.
There are a couple observations I made: 1. There are things that happen which are below the office, and 2. The players have a right to protest and I don’t think they are being unpatriotic, but the opposite.
First, the fact that President Trump responds to every single @realdonaldtrump shows that he doesn’t fully understand the office. He uses Twitter to speak about policy and does it often. He needs to stop with the Twitter wars, stop with criticizing the NFL and learn a bit of diplomacy. Politics isn’t a boardroom where his word is the final say. Please @realdonaldtrump, please, please stop with the Twitter wars.
Secondly, and more importantly, I don’t believe the NFL players are being unpatriotic. I believe that by protesting quietly they are actually demonstrating the essence of patriotism. They are using a platform afforded them by their profession to bring awareness to social injustice and to force people to be uncomfortable enough to provoke a response.
As it is any time racial inequality is brought up, white people across the country are outraged. And they scream and yell about patriotism. They object on the grounds of respecting our military. They jump up on the soapbox and wave their flag. They try to yell louder than the silent protesters to distract others from what they really need to be doing: listening.
When I hear some of the reasons people are upset over the protests I think “they just don’t get it”. They are so quick to overreact that they aren’t listening to the pain of a group of people. They are so uncomfortable with the kneeling that they will not try to understand what is going on. And I think that is unfortunate.
In a way whites in America are reenacting scenes from the civil rights marches of the 1960’s. They stood in the restaurants and yelled obscenities. They threw bottles at the buses. They released the venom then and they are doing so now, the only thing that has changed is the vehicle for said venom: the internet. Yet, they still haven’t learned and they still will not listen.
Hopefully people will calm down and begin a dialogue because that is when change occurs. Until then I’ll watch a group of uncomfortable white people hiss and yell and I’ll still be thinking “Man, they just don’t get it”.