Tuesday, September 20, 2016
On knees and raising fists -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
With no Cardinal women's sports taking place until Thursday this week...Paulie takes a look at a subject that has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. Kneeling and raising fists during the National Anthem.
Protest. It's an inalienable right afforded to the citizens of the USA. America was settled about 500 years ago by Europeans and English who were protesting the unfair ways and means they were being forced to live in their countries. Peaceful protest, not taking to the streets and looting and rioting. There is a big difference there. Of course, there were Native Americans already here. And, dinosaurs way before that. Thus concludes today's history lesson. Go in peace.
Does protest have a place in athletics, though? Does it need to be displayed during the National Anthem? There are injustices in our nation, our way of life. Racial inequalities. Police brutality. We see them every day. They are deplorable, unacceptable and inexcusable. Is a game, a sporting event the acceptable venue to bring attention to them?
Do protests need to be displayed during an athletic event? Certainly it is a high-profile visibility. There is a modicum of decency that suggest one keep their eyes on the flag during the playing of our national anthem. But, more and more...people are looking around to see if anyone is kneeling or raising a fist. That I don't like. It is my right to have that opinion. I choose to look at our flag and remember those who have defended it.
The singing or playing of the national anthem....as well as the reciting of the pledge of allegiance is meant to show respect to the country we live in. It is, though, not mandatory...like the hand-raising..."Sieg Heil" of Nazi Germany. Listen to the P.A. announcers before the singing or playing of the national anthem.
"PLEASE rise, remove your hats and join us in the signing of our national anthem." It is a request, not a mandate.
It is our choice, like the many choices we have in this great land. I choose to rise, sing and acknowledge those who served, died and protect us. To show respect for a place where I can write an article like this without fear of censorship, retaliation or recriminations.
Some don't. Although I disagree with their choice to refrain or show another action...it is their choice. We may choose to disagree about the procedure. We both have that right. Think of those in this world, just for a moment...that don't have choices. Who are more worried about whether they will receive food on a daily basis than a song or pledge.
Like many of you reading this, I am from a family where some gave all to assure the freedoms I have today. My late father served a total of 30 years in the Navy. My uncle died on the battleship Arizona in Pearl Harbor. My late father-in-law marched with Patton through France and Germany. One of my best friends was killed in Vietnam. I am well-familiar with the naval base in Key West.
I have also been the subject of police brutality. I have been witness to racial profiling and discrimination. I didn't like it one bit. I have howled in outrage when I've heard of another senseless shooting.
I vividly remember the 1968 Olympics when track gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos donned black gloves and raised their fists in support of Black Power. Hey, the world was a pretty big mess in '68. Some would question if it's gotten any better.
If this article has made you think...then it has served it's purpose. As for me, you'll still find me singing the national anthem at sporting events. You'll see me reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I'd be happy if you join me...I'll estimate that way over 99% of the people reading this will.
I'll also respect the rights of others who choose not to do so. Just as they respect my right to express myself.
And...finally...I'll hope for a day....someday soon, hopefully...when there is no injustice, discrimination or brutality in the land I love. Sometimes, it seems so far away.