It’s increasingly difficult to have respectful dialogue with people regarding current events. The most recent hot button being the debate over kneeling during the National Anthem.

Extraordinarily enough, the people that are most disrespectful regarding this topic online are the ones that claim kneeling is extremely disrespectful. They use name-calling, bullying, and censorship to stop having a rational discussion about the issue. I can take all the above. Others, however, cannot. They deserve to have their voices heard and their needs met.

Of course, there are different perspectives regarding the Flag and how to respect it. It shouldn’t be as difficult to be respectful of one another while we express our differences, but, apparently, that is too high a bar for far too many.

Some groups of people complain about players being disrespectful when they kneel during the National Anthem while they openly disrespect anyone who disagrees with their positions. Most likely, they don’t even stand for the Anthem from the comfort of their homes when it’s played on their TVs. 

Double standards? Of course. That’s as rich a tradition in America as is peaceful protest. Double standards allow the American people to languish in the status quo. Aren’t we all exhausted by the status quo?

The reality is that our veterans, active military, Congress, and the President all took an Oath to defend the U.S. Constitution. Not part of it, ALL of it. 

The sacrifices made to defend America and Americans were made to protect our rights,  Freedom of Speech and to protest injustice in America being among them. Forgetting our actual history and our actual Constitution seems to be easy for too many Americans today.

Regardless of your belief about whether or not people should kneel or stand during the National Anthem at professional or college games, it is their right to do so. 

I will always stand as long as I can stand. That’s my choice as much as your choices are your choices. Both are protected by our Constitution and have been supported by the Supreme Court many times.

It’s not my place to tell these players what to do, many of whom grew up in poverty, watched family be prosecuted and jailed, and have seen generations lost to violence in their streets. They now have a position and wealth that most never attain. They’re using that position to do good in their communities, but that’s not enough for some players. Those who languish in the status quo deserve people that can and will stand up for them, even if that means kneeling and taking the heat publicly.

It IS my place to protect their right to peacefully protest our government, because that’s what men and women died for while fighting for America, and while fighting for rights here IN America. 

Also, adding more hatred and bigotry into the national conversation does nothing to move our country forward. We need to move forward together.

The First Amendment is First for a reason. It’s what keeps our government serving all her people. If we lose sight of that, we’re in much deeper trouble than we could imagine.

I want to live in a country where we all want to stand together in solidarity with one another.

That’s the American Dream I’ve believed in throughout my life.

We can achieve it, but only through dialogue, listening, and coming together instead of tearing each other apart.