Kneeling Down, Rising Up
Dave Zirin’s “Taking a Knee” in the October 16 issue was an eye—opener. Not understanding a “sport” that involves 22 grown men deliberately trying to hurt each other, I don’t follow football, so I was unaware of “Solidarity Sunday.”
Happily, however, it’s not only football players who are taking a knee. I believe some basketball players are doing it as well, and I know that Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A’s baseball team took a knee (late in the season, after Trump said those nasty things about protesters) with the support of his teammates, the team owners, and the team broadcasters. I would love to see it done during the baseball playoffs and the World Series.
I think it would be enlightening to see what might happen if a sporting event’s public—address announcer, after asking people to stand and remove their hats for the national anthem, added: “If you wish to show support for [athlete’s name]’s protest against police brutality or racial injustice, you may remain seated.” I believe the response would give Trump apoplexy.
Taking a knee is a most patriotic gesture, because it brings attention to the flaws in what our flag represents. It is an exercise aimed at making our flag and all it stands for more perfect and beautiful by enhancing our First Amendment rights.
We must strongly support taking a knee and other flag protests and drown out those who would prohibit our constitutional rights. America has a long and proud history of flag-related protest.
chula vista, calif.
The Wrong Idol
Eric Drooker’s cover for the October 16 issue is awesome.
We continue to insist on placing a higher value on symbols than on human beings. We practice a civil religion, worshipping the flag as Christians do the cross. But while Jesus was focused on improving the lives of humans (just as Judaism is summed up in the phrase “repair the world”), we seem unable to walk in the shoes of those brought to our country in chains, held captive under Jim Crow, and now often killed by those whose job it is to protect us. Didn’t those who died to preserve our country really do so to ensure our living together in peace, rather than “respecting” a symbol that Betsy Ross sewed in her small Philadelphia home centuries ago? I think so.