There are better times for a protest on national anthem

Over the last few weeks, many Americans seem to have been polarized over whether or not one should stand for the national anthem. Unfortunately, I am one of them. I hold the belief that everyone should stand for the national anthem, but understand that it is not the law and you can decide to do what you want. This, however, means that you should also pay for the consequences of your actions. I grew up in a family that stops when it hears the national anthem play or sees the colors raised. We never questioned it for one minute because we knew what the flag stood for. We heard horror stories about men and women who sacrificed it all and we met many who lost their loved ones to ensure we have the rights we do. I don’t believe anyone is saying that you can not kneel, but simply that you should not. It is not simply a statement about equality when you take a knee. It is a polarizing way to draw attention to a cause that can be addressed without degrading the flag and anthem that so many men and women fought for without question. By now, you have heard veterans speaking up about this issue saying that “we fought for your right to kneel.” They do not say, however, that, “kneeling is right.” Our President, the Commander in Chief, has said that players should be let go or fired because they kneel. He is allowed to express that opinion that I, along with millions of others, happen to share. What is also true is a “Reuters [2016] poll found that 72% of Americans viewed the protest [Kaepernick’s original protest] as unpatriotic” and 61% disagreed with the protest itself and Kaepernick’s anti-American viewpoint. The SurveyMonkey poll was a little bit closer, finding 44% of Americans didn’t support Kaepernick’s protest while 29% did. The remaining respondents weren’t sure how to feel about it.” (The Daily Wire) I think this poll is so important because it identifies why we are so polarized. It is because protestors are picking the wrong time and place for their protests. Just as I am against the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) picketing a veteran’s funeral, I am opposed to degrading the flag and the national anthem. The WBC has the right to picket, just as you have the right to kneel, but they choose the wrong place and the wrong time, thus causing millions to ignore their cause and become angered at their actions. In all of our history, there has been one thing to stand out to me as a unifier and that is nationalism. We are proud to be Americans, we are grateful for growing up in a place where we don’t wake up one day to the next worrying if a war will start on our soil, we have a steady government, we have lines of people, thousands strong, that want to be Americans, we are a force to be reckoned with and we embody diversity to improve ourselves. I believe it is childish and not an American ideal to sit (unless unable to stand), kneel or ignore the national anthem and/or flag. People have died to keep the American flag waving, giving up their whole lives, because that is how important being an American is to them. If you support kneeling, then that is your right. Just remember that those of us who oppose that behavior are not your enemy. We might not agree with your actions, but your message is understood. During the national anthem is the time to stand up and show respect for those who gave some and those who gave all, not push a political agenda. “And I gladly stand up Next to you and defend her still today Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the USA” -Lee Greenwood

Dusty Hartl
Political Science Major