The country has become engulfed in the National Anthem debate once again. Last year, National Football Player Colin Kaepernick ignited a firestorm of public opinion and debate by refusing to honor the National Anthem. In the months since, it has spread to other players and across numerous sports. Kaepernick’s reason for doing so was to protest racial inequality, a reason many others have adopted.
In the beginning, many in the general public stood by Kaepernick. While there is an argument regarding respect, they understand the importance of standing up for what is right. There are legitimate issues nationally regarding racial inequality. It’s a conversation that should be had more often, but often is muddied by partisan politics.
But at the end of the day, there is a time and place for demonstrating. Many watch sports to escape the chaos of the world, not to be roped back into it. This would explain a Fox News poll a year ago showing 61 percent of Americans feeling that taking a knee during the National Anthem is inappropriate.
This opinion has shifted in the last year however, with the number dropping to 55 percent feeling it is inappropriate.
While half of polled Americans feel this form of protest is inappropriate, trends indicate opposition is declining. This occurs as the rate of protests becomes more widespread and frequent. Why would people become more tolerant of these protests as they increase?
Many people are likely more concerned with other issues in the world, as the situation abroad has become more dire.
A year ago, it was known that North Korea was led by a paranoid and unstable regime with nuclear ambitions. In the time since he was elected, President Donald Trump has adopted a more assertive approach than his predecessors. The result has been escalating tensions.
Is another war possible? Is nuclear war with North Korea possible? This undoubtedly would be more important to Americans than football players not standing up for the National Anthem.
The same could be said for healthcare, which has been a front-and-center issue with Obamacare repeal being on and off the table for months. Tax reform and economic issues are important for many Americans trying to put food on the table for their children and keep the lights on.
Other relevant issues include digital privacy, civil rights abuses, and inequality. People are concerned about the state of society, and rightfully so.
It is arguably important to honor our country and pay tribute to its symbols, but its not mandatory. Similarly, it is possible to honor what makes this country great without standing for a song, pledging to a flag, or otherwise devoting ones self to symbols. For many, this debate is more of a petty distraction than a legitimate moral crisis facing society.
People are becoming less intolerant of the take-a-knee protests because they don’t see the issue as being particularly significant. We’re living in a world full of war, poverty, and crime. These issues threaten our way of life and could harm our families. When trying to better the world for our children, is it going to be done by fixing these issues or focusing on entertainment? The answer to this question ought to be crystal clear.