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Trump Takes a Knee

Chloe Gong, '20, Staff Writer

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President Trump has already shown a wide array of hypocrisy throughout his campaign and presidency (like taking the same actions that he had previously condemned Ex-president Obama for taking); however, this ignorance is highlighted in a new type of protest against police brutality has become increasingly widespread, as numerous NFL players have shown their stance on the issue—by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. The Take A Knee Movement was originated by Colin Kaepernick, a football quarterback who knelt before a pre-season game for the San Francisco 69ers in 2016. For the past month or so, however, these demonstrations have been constantly gaining momentum, and have now become a controversial topic in news articles and various social media platforms,
even rousing the President’s attention. In the midst of a terrible natural disaster that virtually destroyed the entirety of Puerto Rico, President Trump seems to have placed his priorities on criticizing the NFL. Just to provide some context to that statement, the President in total has tweeted or retweeted 31 (yes, I actually counted) posts dedicated to expressing his disapproval of the movement, with the most recent one being tweeted on October 23rd (the day I am writing this article). Some examples are as follows: “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect … our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” “@CNN is #FakeNews. Just reported COS (John Kelly) was opposed to my stance on NFL players disrespecting FLAG, ANTHEM, COUNTRY. Total lie!” “General John Kelly totally agrees w/ my stance on NFL players and the fact that they should not be disrespecting our FLAG or GREAT COUNTRY!” President Trump has emphasized respect for the flag at least 10 times in his recent tweets, but fails to recognize other common actions of disrespecting the flag. As mentioned specifically in 4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.” These requirements listed in law are all frequently violated in the daily lives of Americans. On the contrary, it is only mentioned briefly in the law that persons “should” (not “have to”) stand during the national anthem. Of course, I am in no way stating that we should disregard the emotions of people that take strong offense in the actions of the NFL demonstrators; however, simply because the First-Amendment-guaranteed free speech of the Take A Knee protesters is directed towards addressing a social issue that so many African Americans have been silently enduring in the past, I believe this movement is valid and deserves more support. In fact, even many veterans have shown their support by taking a knee. If they can support it, what right does the President—a billionaire with little to no military experience—have, to encourage a nationwide boycott of the NFL and prohibit the people’s rights to freedom of speech? Before asserting that these protesters are disrespecting military personnel, President Trump needs to confront the bigger and more urgent issue—why these protests are gaining so much support in the first place… If not because many minority groups are still feeling the heavy burden of racism to this day. And before questioning if veterans feel offended by the movement, the President and his cabinet should question if the families of the victims of officer-involved shootings feel offended. Above all, I am fearful of living in a world where so many still equate social justice movements that are fighting for equal rights with hate groups that potentially and are already threatening these people’s existence.

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Trump Takes a Knee