To sit or not to sit

The First Amendment of the United States provides that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Recently, an American football player took a stand, or should I say refused to stand during the playing of national anthem. He did not want to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” he wants to take a stand for those who have no voice and this is his given right that is protected by the Constitution. My question to you Mr. Football, is your cause greater than the chaos that your movement will create? Also, is your action greater than the reaction of that action? Finally, will your cause benefit from the stand you are taking?

I have been in social events such as football games or even racecar tracks and I have seen the reaction of the fans when even one person refuses to remove his hat or refuses to stand. There is always a fear that a riot will break out over one person’s personal protest. I cannot help but think during these situations why this person feels it is so imperative to create such chaos over a cause he doesn’t even share with those around him. This man at the racetrack just sat quietly and ignored; he had no sign or shirt with any explanation.

This lack of explanation is what truly makes people upset. Without this explanation your fellow Americans feel as if you are anti-American and are purposely disrespecting the national anthem and all that it stands for. A national anthem is defined as a “musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people” so when you disrespect our national anthem you are disrespecting all of our struggles throughout our history and the traditions that we have created and honor. Mr. Football, you took a stand for those who have no voice yet you did not voice your stand so that we the people could have a chance to understand.

We must remember what this anthem means and how it came about. This was not some words and music composed by the government at which you wish would change. This was inspired by the attacks on our country and the sight of our flag still standing throughout the firefight. Our national capital was burned and our shores were being attacked by oppressors yet throughout the “rockets’ red glare” and the “bombs bursting in air” this poem was “inspired by the American victory and the sight of the large American Flag flying triumphantly above the fort.” This anthem reminds all that throughout all conflicts and struggles both at home and abroad we will stand strong. We, the people of these United States of America will stand strong as One Nation under God.

There is so much pride born from this composition and there so many Americans who carry our flag and this anthem with them into battle to fight and protect this nation and we the people honor them by respecting the flag and anthem these men and women fought for and we know that some stood up for this country never to return. So for many of us Americans we take great pride in this tradition and we place a great amount of respect to our national anthem. So, Mr. Football, your attempt to take a stand for those who have no voice has merely created a great amount of turmoil based on your disrespect for this anthem and all it stands for.

There are many things that need to be stood up for so that maybe changes will take place. With all the recent battles within our borders involving our citizens and those who are supposed to protect us regardless if they are the police officer on the streets or the President of the United States. There is little debate as to whether your intentions were valid but you are a professional football player and as such you are a role model to the young generations. There for you as a sports player in this country are an American Hero to so many young children who dream of being where you are now. Your actions on and off the field influence many whom you don’t even see, which you are aware because you chose your position as an icon to make this protest of yours.

Too many times we the people protest based on oppression yet our protest are fueled by feelings and that sadness and pain turns into hate. The protest generated by the “black lives matter” movement are valid and there are certainly things that need to be changed so that no more lives are taken; however, this movement and it’s protest led to hate and that led to more lives being taken. How is that changing anything? We need things to change not to have things escalate.

You, Mr. Football, are in a position to create a movement that could give birth to a change. You could if you chose the right protest could teach us Americans that change can take place peacefully and without creating more hate. Yet you chose to exercise your First Amendment Right and insult and disrespect so many more than those whom you were providing a voice for. You did not create a means to help those whom are being oppressed, you are creating a means at which those whom you should be influencing hate the space at which you stand and all that you will stand for.

You have a right to sit during the playing of the National Anthem. You have the right to speak out against the governing body of this nation. You have the right to peacefully protest for your cause. Yet have you chosen your means wisely? Will your protest be peaceful? Are you speaking out against the government or the people of this nation? Will your stand help resolve the oppression you stand up for or will your stand cause more oppression? Too many times has one stood up for the oppressed and caused more harm and hatred and infringed the lives of those who were never even the oppressor.

Those football fans are not the cause of your movement, nor are they the source of the change you seek. Do not use your rights and position to anger more and create hate. Use your rights and position to find a way to show that change can happen and that no others need to be harmed in finding that change. You made your stand and sat out in that which inspires so many Americans, now you have more than the voices of those who are oppressed that your need to find change for. You stand up for the actions of our police and our government, now you must also stand up for the stand you took against we the people.

When you take a stand, make it peaceful and know what and who you are standing both for and against.

 

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