Taking a Stand for Taking a Knee

Last year, Colin Kaepernick, who at the time was a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, knelt during the National Anthem, causing an uproar in the NFL that spread to the far reaches of American life. Kaepernick's protest effected politics, and created a national discussion about freedom, respect and injustice. Since then, many athletes have copied Kaepernick, kneeling during the National Anthem at sporting events to raise awareness and peacefully protest racial injustice in the United States today.

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This has sparked great controversy on all levels of society, from high school principals banning this peaceful protest, to Vice President Pence protesting the protesting, to President Trump and conservative political talking heads, like Tomi Lahren, spewing hateful vitriol.

Lahren, a young Fox News pundit, stated in regards to the protests; "I’ll be happy to remind you [democrats and protesters] what that flag and that anthem mean because maybe, just maybe, it’s bigger than you and your temper tantrum." Yes, it is true that the American flag and the anthem do mean a lot to this country. It's more than a piece of cloth, and it's more than a song. It's representative of America, land of the free and home of the brave. However, to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, people need to be willing to take a stand (or a knee) and use those very freedoms to fight for their beliefs. That’s what this country is built on: people standing up for themselves. The right to take a knee and peacefully protest is one that millions of American men and women have died defending. In fact, many veterans themselves have begun taking a knee in support of the athletes and their right to protest. 

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Some, like Tomi Lahren, may find Kaepernick's original form of protest disrespectful. However, refusing to stand for the National Anthem is a constitutional act of peaceful protest, unlike wearing the American flag as clothing, which explicitly violates the flag code.

This year, on Halloween, seemingly oblivious to the hypocrisy of violating the flag code while condemning peaceful protest, Lahren wore the American flag as multiple articles of clothing, and described her costume as such: "If you’re a conservative, I’m American AF. If you’re a lib, I’m ‘offensive.’"

I’ll be happy to remind her that her costume is an actual act of disrespect toward the American flag, and those who have sacrificed to defend it and our rights.

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Perhaps Lahren should take a page from her own book, and realize that the flag and the anthem are a bit bigger than her temper tantrum. After all, in my opinion, the only thing that's disrespectful in this situation is disrespecting those who died defending American rights by not taking advantage of one's freedoms.