Everyone is losing it over kneeling as a form of protest during the national anthem in sports. It’s controversial, obviously, and everyone seems to be picking a side.
As I listen to people talk, it’s as if that one activity is the definitive proof of being unpatriotic. You can sit, you can stand, or you can kneel. That doesn’t prove anything to me about your loyalty or respect to the national anthem, the flag, the country and its veterans.
I do agree with the belief that standing for the national anthem must be voluntary and not required. Standing for the national anthem is meaningless if it’s mandated, and such a mandate undermines the essential liberty of free speech. I’m sure others will disagree with me. That’s OK. Disagreement and the freedom to do it anyway is what makes our country so great. We can disagree. We are allowed to disagree. We can pick and choose. It’s a great country.
“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
That’s a ruling by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Barnette in 1943. The case centered on a requirement to salute the flag. Obviously, the Supreme Court disagreed with forcing people to confess by word or act their faith.
I think we have the same situation going on here. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. Being an American means each of us can decide if we want to stand, kneel or sit. If someone wants to kneel in protest to police brutality, go ahead. If you stand and someone else doesn’t, feel free to state your case. Don’t expect to win it though and don’t attempt to force your belief on them.
I also believe in tolerance. Intolerance is narrow-minded thinking and it has no place in freedom, if we are indeed free.
I’ve voiced my opinion on this situation, I’m moving on – which is what everyone should do.
I have a novel idea. A novel idea is a luxury version of “that’s a good idea” and a credit to someone’s thought whether it be based on fact or fiction. That might be stretching it somewhat but let’s go with it anyway.
Every year, volunteers gather for a River Cleanup sponsored by the Breakfast Rotary Club. Those individuals work their dedicated hearts out and fingers to the bone splashing in the Barren Fork River to remove as much debris as possible in one day. This year they pulled 110 tires weighing 3,500 pounds from the water. They also removed 7,000 pounds of garbage. That doesn’t include the 500 pounds of recyclable material.
Why can’t all the people given court-required community service hours participate in that? I think it would be a great way to complete their community service.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.