Kneeling For The Star Spangled Banner

Kneeling For The Star Spangled Banner

There is a lot of controversy
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There has been a lot of fuss over the NFL games starting on September 24, 2017, specifically with the way players were treating the national anthem.

Many players, during the national anthem, were kneeling in protest. It started with Colin Kaepernick, a NFL player for the 49ers, who started kneeling to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Since then, several other players have knelt in support of Kaepernick, but there was an increase in kneeling players during Sunday’s Star Spangled Banner in response to Donald Trump’s reaction to the protest.

Donald Trump tweeted “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” He believes that the players who kneel during the national anthem should be suspended or fired, and after expressing this belief to the public, 200 NFL players took a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. This, of course, started a huge debate. Is it disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem? And what does the national anthem represent?

One side of the argument says that it is a sign of disrespect because our veterans fought for our freedom. Our veterans fought for our right to kneel, and some lost their lives for that freedom, so we need to stand for the injured veterans and the ones who lost their lives fighting. The other side of the argument says that we have a freedom of speech, that includes freedom of symbolic speech, and we have a right to protest. Before this protest, kneeling was seen as a sign of respect. Players take a knee when someone gets hurt, people kneel to pray, and so on. Others believe the NFL players who knelt on Sunday were just protesting Trump himself.

When he started protesting, Kaepernick said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color...” He was showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement going on, but some argue that there is a time and place for that and it’s not when we are saluting our flag. I guess it depends on what you believe the flag stands for. Some believe it represents veterans and all who fight for our freedom. Some believe it represents this country as a whole.

Before Kaepernick started kneeling for the national anthem, he sat. According to CNN “It was [Nate] Boyer who helped him [the quarterback of the 49ers] and his teammates come to the decision to kneel, a more respectful option. Kaepernick was on board” (cnn.com). Nate Boyer was a former NFL player and an Army Veteran himself. Whether you think it is disrespectful or not, the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem got the attention they wanted.

All opinions aside, I believe everyone has a right to their opinion, and I encourage you to be open-minded about the each side of the argument no matter where you stand. Ask someone who thinks differently from you what they think and why.

Don’t let this divide our country apart more than it already is.

Cover Image Credit: Kevin Morris

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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