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Stand Up For America

September 21, 2016
BY CHUCK CLEGG - Columnist , Wetzel Chronicle

The stories I often write are meant to bring a smile or a pleasant memory of yesteryear to those people who read my columns.

So much of what we see in the news is about the unpleasant things in the world today. I sometimes believe if the news organizations stopped reporting the bad things, there would be little to report in the evening news. I will have to admit, even I, turn on the news each day to see if terrorists, politicians or mother nature have brought pain or suffering to someone else in our country.

But this week I find myself unable to sit by and not express my opinion about something happening in the sports world.

I find it disgusting when I see athletes protesting injustice in our society by taking a knee or sitting down when the National Anthem is played at sporting events. This type of action is not new to the sports world. Over the years there have been others who use their celebrity status to define their beliefs about things that happen in our country.

Before I go any further, let me be clear that the injustice or bigotry directed towards anyone of color, race, different religious beliefs, or any reason is unacceptable to me. Do we all agree on everything? No, I don't believe we do and never will. Although we tell ourselves we want to be completely tolerant of things that make us different and not be judgmental, I believe down deep each of us has at one time or another had thoughts we may not be proud of. I will have to admit there were times when I thought a politician was an idiot. There, I said it.

For myself, I believed that politician's actions were not in the best interest of the country. Should I go to a ballgame and take a knee in protest because he is an idiot? That will never happen. All that would serve to do is bring attention to myself and disrespect my country - just like those athletes are doing.

My actions would not be seen by others as making a difference in what the politician may have done. My protest of the National Anthem would only serve to show my disrespect for every man and woman who served our country to protect our rights. And yes, one of those fundamental rights is the right to sit down and protest.

Kind of funny isn't it? When the founding fathers wrote the constitution and the Bill of Rights, they protected not only those of us who love this country, but those who do not. You cannot get much fairer than that. They understood many of the young nation's new citizens left their distant homes because they were denied freedom of religion, freedom to elect their leaders, and the freedom to escape oppressive indentured bondage. And yes, even the freedom to take a knee in protest. But I'll guess those founding fathers never believed they would be protecting million dollar athletes.

These rights have long been defended and protected by millions of men and women, of all colors and races to keep our country free. Untold countless soldiers have died protecting that right. Did any of those men or women die believing things are not always perfect in our country? I have to believe there were some who believed things could be better. Yet, they gave their lives to protect a country that is not perfect.

Do those who protest ever wonder why thousands apply to come to our country each year? I would guess those hoping to become citizens would not sit down when the National Anthem is played.

Perhaps those protesting would be better served if they were to move to a country where everything is fair and perfect. I am not sure where that may be, but with the kind of money they have, surely they could find a place that is perfect.

I know, they could buy and island in the Caribbean and be their own country. Make the rules so social injustices would never touch their island's shores. In their country, they would never have to take a knee again in protest. But, I don't think you will see any of those athletes that are protesting leave this country and all the great things it offers to a rich athlete.

There are an estimated 900,000 law enforcement officers in this country. In the last ten years over 1400 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, protecting our rights. Seventy-two officers died on 9/11/2001. We also have an estimated 1.5 million soldiers in the military protecting our country, its flag and all that it stands for. Since the events of 9/11, over 6000 Americans have died protecting our freedoms.

When anyone fails to stand and honor our flag or the National Anthem, they have forgotten the price paid for the freedom to protest and what it cost thousands of American families. I recognize their right to protest, but I will never understand why they do so dishonoring the lives of fallen Americans. I also recognize that those athletes who are protesting are being paid by the athletic teams they play for. I guess that makes those team owners somewhat complicit in the protest of America. I don't think I'll watch the teams whose players disrespect my country and what the National Anthem stands for.

I never want to be remembered for taking a knee when our country's flag is raised. I want to be remembered that I chose to stand up for America, as I look Through the Lens...

 
 
 

 

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