The Catalyst

Stand Up

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITE HOUSE

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITE HOUSE

Michelle Kleytman, Assistant Opinion Editor

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From young children to famous celebrities, standing up for the National Anthem is an important way for American citizens to show off their patriotism for their country.

Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, it illuminates what America fought so hard for against the British during the War of 1812.  Today, it continues to celebrate American pride and to honor those who serve and protect our country.

However, some Americans are not so patriotic anymore. Some of them are following the example set by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest against police brutality. They are choosing to take a knee, instead of standing during performances of the National Anthem during sports games.

What everyone needs to realize is that there are much better ways to protest. Americans certainly need to advocate for social issues and injustices, but that should not interfere with respect for their own country, for its beliefs and values, and for the brave servicemen and women who risk their lives to keep Americans safe over the past two hundred and forty one years.

Nowadays, Americans are facing great concerns that the country is moving backwards in terms of race relations and developing a greater divide amongst themselves.

During a time of such tense divisions within  this country, the line between patriotism and the  freedom to protest in order to stand up for marginalized groups is thickening when it should not be.

Americans who want to raise awareness for such issues should exercise this right freely and proudly, but there are many ways to do so that do not blatantly disrespect this country’s great American values.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a professional football game after a few players took a knee during the National Anthem, and explained his actions on Twitter, tweeting, “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

In spite of this country’s two disparate political parties that have their differences of opinions, people do not see any of their representatives kneeling in Congress when they hear speeches from colleagues that they do not agree with.

“Players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem,” states the NFL’s Player/Team Conduct and Dress Guidelines.

How are those who choose to break this rule fixing the issue at hand? Are they solving the problem of corrupt law enforcement? Are they taking strides in ending police brutality? Being flippant and rebellious against America’s historical traditions answer none of these questions.

The National Anthem itself does not ignore the sometimes difficult history of the United States. It is not a song designed to celebrate one group of people more than another. It has historically been and should continue to serve as a symbol of American unity and resilience.

So, maybe in order for Americans to unify our country once again, they should “stand up” for what they believe in.

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