I’ve recently come to Twitter for my primary social media fix. I can follow who I want; read what I want; listen and learn, and don’t have to deal with the bs on my fb feed. This change came last September, on top of the heated election climate, I had one of those naive moments when, after reading about the first kneeling during the national anthem, I felt a strong and genuine, “Hell Yeah! You GO sports dude!” and I posted about it. But to my ridiculous surprise, this post generated blow-back from my social media realm. (I haven’t unfriended everyone who disagrees with me). The worst were the ones who came at me (and this was just about 3 months after my dad died) with, “How could you disrespect your dad’s service to our country by supporting this disregard for American sacrifice?” Yeah. Bless Their Hearts. This should go without saying, but I AM respecting my dad. My dad served so that I have the right to support political expression of my choosing, especially the kind that shines light on systematic oppression, including the oppression of people who continue to serve.
Fast Forward a year later, this topic generated my first twitter “blow up” yesterday over the following tweet:
I sat, admittedly obsessed, watching this epic #TakeAKnee protest unfold throughout the day. On my own twitter page (and I have less than 100 followers) my tweet received over 1100 likes and was retweeted a couple hundred times. I touched a nerve. I wanted to, because it is something I have followed closely for the last year. But in touching a nerve, once again, I wasn’t fully prepared for crazy talk. So, for those offended by #TakeAKnee, I just want to address a few things.
- DISRESPECT: A lot of tweeters (and fb people) want to talk about ‘disrespect’, expressing their opinion that I am and others are disrespecting veterans and troops by supporting #TakeAKnee; #TaketheKnee; disrespecting the flag; disrespecting the national anthem. No. Sorry (not sorry) but you are wrong. So wrong. What is being intentionally disrespected is unchecked systematic violence, especially police violence, against people of color in his country. This is anti-system; a system that has gone unchecked for too long. The flag and the anthem are only symbols. And towards the comments about the flag, particularly, “I fought for the flag.” Did you fight for the flag or for people the flag represents? #TakeAKnee does not disrespect our military. It has nothing to do with military troops at all, unless you consider the number of ex-military, suffering from PTSD who are currently employed as police officers.
- “The Covfefe Queens”: To the women ranting about our troops, specifically “Covefe Queen”, I am guessing you live in a predominantly white community, in your 50’s, attend a predominantly white church every Sunday, and are an unfortunate victim of opiod addiction and/or alcohol addiction (red wine or box blush- maybe box white), as evidenced in your garbled, unchecked ranting. I’m sorry for that- sorry this society encourages it. But I’m not sorry you are offended. I encourage you to read more about BLM. Reach out to someone different from you. Take a deep breath or ten.
- The Condescending middle-aged white dudes: Most questions came in the form of, What do you know about service!? Well, I am a daughter of a serviceman who gave 20 years of his life so that I could express, and support others’ expressions, of a brand of Patriotism that targets righting the wrongs of our history. The patriotic act of saying Hey! This shit isn’t what this country purports to be about. Things must change in the way we police our society. Participating in a Peaceful Protest is a courageous act of love for one’s country and the people for whom you stand.
- Lazy assholes: These liked to say, “Tell us, oh smart one. What does it mean?” followed by a lot of name calling that was comical. Well, read my twitter wall. If an answer to that question is really being sought after, dive on in and read my retweets of articles and previous comments about said subject. What I think it means is pretty evident from there, all the answers right under your noses. But that question is just some condescending bull honky right there.
Kneeling during the national anthem this IS a form of Peaceful Protest whether it is offensive to some or not. Whether someone respects it or not. AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT #TAKEAKNEE ARE JUST AS PATRIOTIC AS THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE SO OFFENDED. This is not a contest. I think the entire country should take a knee every time they hear the anthem play until every officer who committed murder is brought to justice, and until Trump is out, BECAUSE I love my country.
Peaceful Protests are patriotic. It is an elegant expression of resistance. Forced “patriotism” is called oppression and makes assumptions about servitude. To Take a Knee during the national anthem is to refuse and resist, especially in a sport worth billions whose corporate entity takes millions in taxpayer dollars to advertise patriotism to a national audience(though they’d like you to think it’s a public service). It is irrational to say “Keep your political views out of the workplace” when said workplace is forcing you to accept generic ideas of patriotism. Who cares how much the players are paid? It is their right to kneel during the anthem.
Many Vets support #TakeAKnee. Many Community organizers support #TakeAKnee. There are police officers and fire fighters who support #TakeAKnee. Taking a knee during the national anthem has come to symbolize protest against police violence; against the systematic oppression of people of color; and yet another call to dismantle inherit bias built-in to the structure of this Nation. If one prefers to stand, that’s on them. But acts of patriotic courage come in many forms. Just because one is offended by a wealthy (black) sports figure kneeling during the national anthem, this does not place them in a position to judge what is, or is not, an act of patriotism.