Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump's NFL protest stand immoral, un-American

The Barnett sisters
 Donald Trump might think that he is the law, that his will dictates what Americans can say or do. He might consider his tweets edicts from on high, and that his values are our values because he says it's so.

     But he's wrong.
     We are a nation of laws, and those laws have evolved over many years, sparked by people more courageous than Donald Trump, finessed by legislators more diligent than Donald Trump, and weighed by judges far smarter than Donald Trump.
     Take the NFL protest. The key to that situation is found, not in the president's latest tweet but in the actions of a pair of schoolgirls during World War II.
     Marie and Gathie Barnett were 8 and 9 years old. They attended a four-room schoolhouse in Charleston, West Virginia. The sisters were Jehovah's Witnesses. So when it came time to salute the flag, they refused, since their faith considered that akin to worship of a graven image. This had become an issue in the 1930s as American states, catching the nationalism bug contorting Europe, began mandating that schools recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
    The school expelled the girls. According to a 1941 West Virginia law, their parents faced 30 days in jail and a $50 fine for raising children who refused to salute the flag.
     Their father, Walter, sued, citing Exodus 20:4: "Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image."
     The Barnetts won in state court, a judge observing, "tyrannies of majorities over the rights of individuals or helpless minorities has always been recognized as one of the great dangers of popular government."
     The school board appealed. The case found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court ....

     To continue reading, click here.


  1. Knocked it out of the park, to coin a cliché.


  2. Hands down Robert H. Jackson was one of the best Supreme Court appointments made by FDR or any other President. Jackson wrote the dissenting opinion in Korematsu v. United States, that is it's unconstitutional to put U.S. citizens in concentration camps just because they have Japanese ancestry. On the other hand Hugo Black was one of the worst Supreme Court appointments made by FDR or any other President. Black wrote the majority opinion in Korematsu v. United States, that is it's okay to segregate Japanese people because we are at war with the Japanese Empire. Prior to the Barnette ruling was the similar case of Minersville School District v. Gobitis. Curiously both Black and Jackson sided with the majority, forcing Jehovah's Witnesses children to salute the flag. Unfortunately extremist took it as a green light to lynch Jehovah's Witnesses. Perhaps abashed by the development, both Justices ruled for the Barnett family. The point being intelligent people, good or bad, will change their minds when they realize they made an error in judgement. On the other other hand, President Trump has the annoying habit of doubling down on stupid every chance he gets.

  3. Judging from Facebook, I think Trump truly represents his constituency in condemning protests. Kneeling during the anthem is tantamount to spitting on the flag, disrespecting our military and paving the way to armed rebellion. We'll see if he reads them right when he joins hands with the anti-LGBT people. Even rock-ribbed conservatives are known to harbor sympathy for friends and family who are openly gay.


  4. Let's see. Why don't we take a rich, powerful malignant narcissist with white supremacist tendencies, who has absolute certainty on every topic, who always favors the powerful over the weak, who is willing to destroy the environment, our free press, and undermine his own constituencies health care just to stroke his own ego - and make him the president of the most powerful country in the history of the world. What could possibly go wrong?

  5. If they can force players to stand at attention for patriotic songs, it's a short step to forcing the fans to do so.

    Think it can't happen? It already has:

  6. Ironic that the most exuberant flag-wavers are the ones that would bring our democracy to it's knees by denying American citizens their constiutionally protected right to protest. What's more un-American than attempting to destroy American values? Trumpian values are not consistent with American values. Disciples of Trump don't understand what they're asking for.

  7. Two quick thoughts. Look at the picture of the 49ers who are kneeling. Most of them have their hands over their hearts, thus signifying respect for what the flag and anthem stand for. Secondly, compare that show of respect to what happens at the United Center prior to Blackhawk games during the anthem. Most people are yelling and screaming, not singing along or even doing the hand over heart thing.

    Which action is more respectful?

  8. Personally, as a patriotic kinda guy, I'm not wild about this particular form of protest. Though I'm also the species of patriotic guy who thinks that it's ridiculous that the national anthem is played before sporting events, and that this needs to be an issue, at all. Of course, it serves ole Rumpy's purposes in distracting from the other damage he's constantly doing.

    Anyway, though I'm not wild about it, it's a pretty mild protest and -- spoiler alert -- it's been surprisingly effective. Colin Kaepernick used the platform he had to draw attention to an important issue he cared about. Other players are following suit. If any or all of them wrote op-eds in the biggest newspapers every week, they would never have shone the spotlight on their cause that this simple gesture has. The fact that he's paid for this with his job is disgusting. The fact that the folks most outraged by his protest are the same folks who shout "Freedom" and "Don't tread on me," while arming themselves against the constant threat of government tyranny, many while brandishing confederate battle flags, all while being deeply disturbed by "political correctness," demonstrates the type of irony that this country is currently awash in.

    Excellent column and apt historical reference.

    1. Thanks Jakash, and well-said. Interestingly, the most common Trumpite reaction is stark incomprehension, that the column was insane, raving, something they couldn't even fathom. Tragic.


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