About sitting and kneeling

There’s a brouhaha going on about some people kneeling or sitting during the playing of the National Anthem.

I won’t go into the discussion about the “why” they are doing it as that merits its own post, but I do want to briefly touch on the incensed reaction from various quarters.

Primarily, conservatives. And our President. And notable Foxtards.

Ignoring the underlying motivation, are such actions:

  • Illegal?
  • Unpatriotic?
  • A fireable offense?

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The answer to the first question is “nope!” It would be sad if they were because that would put a limit on one’s freedom. By the way, this is not just my opinion. It’s one of the first rights established by the Bill of Rights, right there in the First Amendment. I mean, it’s the first thing they wrote, so you know it’s important.

Many people are confused about the Bill of Rights. (HERE are some sad facts) The simple way to think about it is that — barring some specific exclusions — if you have an opinion about something, you are free to express it and that expression can take different forms. Kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem is one such expression.

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The answer to the second question is also “nope!” and if one understands the first answer, they wouldn’t be asking the second question. Basically, complaining about something you think is wrong is your right. It doesn’t mean you hate the country. It means you see something wrong and want to call attention to it.

Some people confuse Patriotism with Nationalism. You can read the definitions (there are many), but I’ll summarize it thus: you, as an individual, are a Nationalist if you hold the opinion that your country should not be disrespected for any reason and any criticism of it is a form of disrespect. Along with this, as a Nationalist, you likely have strong ideas about “how things should be.” Usually, you think things should work out to your benefit.

We can debate the finer points of it, but if you think it’s not right for someone to criticize your country, or if you think a song and a piece of cloth cannot be targeted as a form of protest, and if that country is the USoA, then you are a Nationalist and you are most definitely not a Patriot despite how loudly you may claim otherwise.

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It should be obvious by now — if you’ve been reading along — the answer to the third question is also “nope!” but with one important qualifier. If you are a member of the armed forces, either on active duty or the reserves, you may have limits on your freedom of speech and those limits remove some levels of protections you enjoy as a civilian. If not legally, definitely practically. You will not find sympathetic military courts.

I’ll simplify the civilian argument because some people are easily confused. In general, companies can’t fire you just because they don’t like you or your views. They need a documented reason like unsatisfactory job performance, criminal activity, or something else that violates the implied or actual employment contract.

In this case, standing for the National Anthem is not part of the job description. It does not impact job performance and may — in fact — help it because one is just a bit more rested than they would otherwise be. Some may argue the fans may become unhappy and hurt attendance.

That would have to be proven, not merely speculated. Fans don’t seem bothered about cheering for actual murderers, so I find that argument a weak one.

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Given all that, it’s sad hearing pundits make this or that claim and act offended because someone chooses to sit or kneel. Sad, but not surprising. They are, after all, nothing but mindless shills. I don’t expect deep constitutional arguments or balanced legal discussions from people who I think as devoid of integrity. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn certain parties pay to put words in their mouths, and by golly, they dutifully turn their brain off and spew them words with conviction and forcefulness and a full measure of hypocrisy.

One argument I repeatedly hear is that because these kneelers make millions they don’t have the right to do what they are doing. To be clear, I think that argument is the conservative’s way of playing the income inequality card. I am 100% sure they would be condemning the action even if it was a hot dogs vendor who stood during the Anthem. 

It is surprising hearing our President suggest we should ignore the laws and protections we live under and punish these individuals. OK, OK, it’s not surprising. The man has not exactly shown himself as a critical thinker, or knowledgeable about civic matters, or much interested in ethics and common decency. I think he’s a bully, so that’s to be expected from him. But it is depressing hearing so many cheer him on.

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Coda 1:

Please note: I’m not making a statement about whether I agree with what these fellers are doing, where these fellers are doing it, and why these fellers are doing it. That’s a whole other discussion.

I’m commenting on the legality aspect of the actions but also note that legal courts are quite different from the court of public opinion. Different people will view these actions different ways and that’s fine. Some of the people involved are already paying an unofficial price for their action, and that too is a different discussion.

One is perfectly free to disagree with statements and assertions and arguments and actions . . . it’s quite a different matter saying people should not be saying or doing something they have a perfect right to say or do.

Some even claim the stadium is not exactly a “public square” but I’ll point out that stadiums are often heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars. If one speaks of the fans having a stake in these matters because they support the salaries of the players, one might remember that all taxpayers have skin in the game.

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Coda 2:

During a recent discussion, I drew an imperfect parallel to something else that was in the news and that — at the time — had Conservatives and high-ranking Republicans act very differently.

I’m speaking about the Kim Davis affair. Davis is another person who supposedly acted based on her conscience but in her case, Republicans and notable Foxtards and conservative hosts practically mobbed her with verbal, monetary, and personal support.

She was hailed as a hero for standing by her principles.

Here are the crucial differences . . . she was, in fact, not doing her job. She was failing to uphold the law of the land, breaking her oath of office as she did so. She was a public employee, and thus responsible to the whole of the public, and not just a portion of it. She did repeatedly violate court orders. Basically, Davis is a criminal who claimed public funds as payment for a job she did not want to do and was lauded by conservatives for doing so.

This is where fine religious folks will raise their heads from their daily prayers and with great indignation will yell out “that’s not the same thing!”

I know; I just said it wasn’t. Here’s another thing it wasn’t . . . it wasn’t Patriotic. It was Religious.

I say she’s the complete opposite to being Patriotic as are all the individuals who supported her in the past and who still support and defend her actions to this day. I can’t even call them Nationalists because their concern — despite vociferous claims to the contrary — is not an expression of love or respect for this Nation or the ideals put forth in its founding. Just listen to them if you don’t believe me. Listen to VP Pence: God first, Country second.

Now, go read the definition of Nationalism and Patriotism.

Edited to Add: I’m linking THIS article here for new readers and in the comments for readers who might miss it. You can disagree with the players about the extent of the problem or even that the problem exists, but someone who takes the extra step of ascribing one’s own interpretation as to the intent of the players is inherently dishonest.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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