The ACLU awarded Colin Kaepernick its Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award over the weekend, ostensibly for his “courage” in beginning a movement of kneeling during our national anthem.
It’s clear that the ACLU—all of the Left, really—and the kneeling athletes have, at best, misunderstood the meaning of their actions. The hoo-raw over these protests, the empty seats in football stadiums, and the declining TV viewership shows plainly that the message being received is one of disrespect for the core symbols of our nation and insult toward those who have and are defending our nation, those symbols, and what our nation and symbols represent—individual liberty, including the right to protest even in the most disagreeable manner.
That misunderstanding carries one or both of two implications, since the protesting athletes surely know that their original message long ago was missed, and they’ve not changed in the slightest how they’re delivering their message. One is that their original message never was a protest against this or that form of social injustice as they claim; it is what has been received all along: a protest and insult against our nation, its symbols, and those who defend and have defended them over the centuries.
The other implication is that these protestors now have walked away from their original message; the continued demonstrations of disrespect and insult are descents into the petty ego contest of trying to out-stubborn those who consider their form of protest disrespectful and insulting. The “protestors” are trying to jam their form down the throats of those who read their form differently, solely to show who’s bigger and without any concern for the message itself.
Some have suggested that kneeling (rather than, say sitting on the bench as Kaepernick originally did, or raising clenched fists as a couple of Olympic contestants did years ago and some NFL players do today) is a reverential form of protest.
The correct, the respectful, treatment of our national anthem is to stand and face the flag, or if the flag isn’t visible face the direction of the music, with our hand right hand over heart; or if wearing a hat, while holding that hat over our heart; or if in uniform, standing at attention and saluting. There’s nothing remotely reverential in disrespectful behavior.