Of all the headlines taking control of the papers and social media, entertainers bending their knees appears to be at the top of the list. National Football League free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last year repeatedly for refusing to stand during the National Anthem, a move he said was protesting racial inequality across the country. In the time since, other players have jumped on board, and it’s even spreading to other sports.
Liberals celebrate such an apparently courageous stand, and opponents are triggered by knees being bent during a song. Both sides are deeply passionate about the topic and maybe they even have a right to be, but they’re also both wrong.
Kaepernick and everyone else taking a knee during the National Anthem have a right to do so. There is nothing in the Constitution that mandates people to stand during a song or pledge their life to symbolism. Kaepernick critics can cry about it being offensive, but if we are a free nation, Kaepernick has a right to exercise his own freedom.
With that said, is Kaepernick’s protest effective?
The bending of the knee has been a great distraction rather than a productive conversation starter. Instead of beginning a conversation about racial inequality and other problems across America, it has triggered people sensitive to nationalist songs and symbols. As people’s emotions become charged, there remains no room for logic.
President Donald Trump has made matters worse by using profane language to describe those who bend their knees during songs and saying that the NFL should just fire them. He also went on to urge fans to boycott the sports teams over even a single player bending their knees during the National Anthem.
The President’s statement is absurd because these entertainers didn’t do anything illegal, and the morality of the protest is questionable, at best. In a free country where people are permitted to their own conscience and moral compass, they’re not mandated to stand for a song or celebrate symbolism.
But this is the point where we’re at as a society.
Athletes and politicians alike are distracting us from the issues we face by making non-issues become massive issues. The end result may not be bad, but it won’t be good. Bending knees during songs won’t fix racial inequality, and calling protesters names won’t make them stop. What difference is the National Anthem debate going to make in the grand scheme of things here in America?
While war rages and poverty rises, we’re debating a song. North Korea wants to wipe Guam off the map and is shooting missiles over Japan while threatening to reach the mainland United States. There is an opioid crisis causing crime to spike while people die in the streets in every state across the country. As society crumbles and the national debt spins further out of control, we’re debating a tune, and whether people ought to stand for music. Symbolism aside, this is a manufactured moral crisis and a distraction from real issues facing America.