“One act of obedience is worth a hundred sermons.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
It’s football season, normally a happy time for football fanatics like me, except this year. Our divisive President has made sure that there will be camps supporting NFL players and opposing them.
Our nation is rapidly being torn apart, broken into feuding tribes. Although this regrettable break has been evolving for decades, the rapidity has been encouraged and facilitated by a narcissistic, conniving, shrewd, reality show host posing as our national savior. He throws these curveballs to divert our attention from his failures, legal problems, and shortcomings.
Regardless of our political leanings or feelings about our President, by now we should all be aware of this worsening tear in the social fabric of America. There are many offshoots of this frightening development which negates the traditional concept of America as a melting pot.
Regarding the race issue, black (and a few white) ministers have been preaching about overt police violence against black men for many decades. Nothing has come of their good intentions. Sixty percent of unarmed victims of police shootings are black.
NFL players kneel to give visibility to an inconvenient problem that is often swept under the rug, unnecessary shootings of African-Americans by law enforcement officers. Our President has said that protestors should leave the country if they don’t stand for the flag, thereby ignoring the underlying issue and undercutting our democratic values.
As our divisive President has taught us, heavily publicizing any issue brings it into view for the majority of Americans. Trump often takes his unsupported fantasies and spins a wild tale, a false narrative spider’s web for his unwitting supporters to get caught in. He has done so with the kneeling situation, but these unjustified shootings of black men by police are very real, as the many videos over the last few years have shown us.
I am from a law enforcement family with relatives who have been with the FBI, NYPD, and corrections departments. I have friends in law enforcement. As a County Commission Chair, I voted to fully fund the Sherriff’s Department. I also support the appropriate use of force against criminals, regardless of race. I believe these officers should be treated with respect by the public.
Respect goes both ways. We cannot simply assume a police officer is in the right if all the evidence shows him to be wrong. There are actions that can and should be taken by our governmental agencies to lessen injustices, including violence by law enforcement based on racial stereotyping.
Regarding the truly underlying issue, the tear in the political fabric, President Trump is purposefully stating that anyone who doesn’t agree with him is unpatriotic and isn’t really an American. Trump’s demagogic pronouncements are undemocratic; taking a knee for whatever purpose is not.
Tebow took a knee on the field to praise God, as is his right under our Constitution. It is also the First Amendment right of NFL athletes to take a knee to protest racist murders and violence.
Trump has used the kneeling issue to further divide the nation, keep the focus off his campaign’s obvious collusion with the Russians, and throw red meat to the blind base. The Pavlovian base has once again responded; this time by boycotting the NFL, a hugely successful private enterprise, hurting its bottom line.
The wealthy NFL owners, who only care about their pocket books and not the players or social justice, have shamefully caved into the pressure and gone along with Trump’s clear agenda. They have attempted to silence their players, most of whom are black. Apparently, most of them are very comfortable with corporate censorship of American rights to free speech, so long as it results in greater profits.
I have written, as have many conservative commentators, pieces strongly criticizing the abhorrent censorship (spurred by the left) taking place on in our campuses regarding the Palestinian-Israeli problem. Conservatives, you should also be speaking out against un-American censorship by the NFL.