The Baker Orange

#TakeAKnee should be defended

Story by Lexi Loya, Editor

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Kneeling. I don’t think there’s ever been such a debate about this action as there is now. To kneel or not to kneel? That is the question that people are asking themselves. It makes a great pun, but on a serious note, it’s kind of crazy that with everything currently happening in our country, we decide to focus on this.

Americans burn the American flag. Americans shoot and kill fellow citizens in the streets every day. And yet, we’re up in arms against people for kneeling during the national anthem. Yes, that’s right. Kneeling. Now before you get all huffy-puffy about this, maybe you should ask people why they feel the need to kneel during the anthem? Most will tell you that they’re not doing it to disrespect America or our soldiers. It’s a protest. It’s their attempt to raise awareness for the people that are suffering in our country.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started this movement when he kneeled during the national anthem in protest of the gun violence and police brutality happening in America. That was over a year ago, and yet people are continuing to do it, more joining in every single day. Part of that is thanks to President Donald Trump. His tweets condemned anyone who kneeled during the anthem, which only served to fuel the fire, but that’s for another time. What I’m focusing on now is kneeling during the national anthem.

Regardless if you agree or disagree, every single American should be supporting people’s right to kneel. Why? Because as American citizens, it is part of our First Amendment right to peaceful protest. And that is exactly what these athletes are doing. They could turn away from the flag or give it the middle finger, but no, they don’t, because their goal isn’t to disrespect it. Their goal is to try and raise awareness of what is wrong in our country.

I think it’s sad that they feel they have no other choice except kneeling to get people’s attention. This is what it’s come to. Now even athletes are getting directly involved in politics because they see that something is terribly wrong with our society.

Our leadership is weak, and it is making our country weak. If you deny that, then you are lying to yourself. Ignoring the problems in our country won’t make them go away. Instead of judging and making the people who kneel feel horrible, maybe we should ask them how we can help. What can we do to change things for the better?

Next time athletes, or anyone, kneels during the national anthem, hold your opinion of whether or not what they’re doing is right, and just defend their First Amendment right to do it.

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