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Distraction

The Sunday news media was focused on predicting how NFL players would react to President Donald Trump’s bullying, and the Monday news media was obsessed with how NFL players, owners and fans did react. The new travel ban was a side note, last Tuesday’s United Nations speech was in the rearview mirror, and efforts to dismantle health care and defund education were barely discussed.

Our president understands how to distract Americans from the real issues. I implore the news media ignore the clickbait and invest airtime and ink responsibly.

Jeanne Harmon, Olympia

 

A guaranteed right

Choosing to not stand during the national anthem or salute the flag is a guaranteed right. It is not a sign of disrespect, as the current resident of the White House and some Americans believe.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnett that the state does not have the power to compel symbolic speech. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance or standing during the national anthem are examples of symbolic speech. While the “state” in this case refers to West Virginia, the standard of judicial review means that the Barnett ruling applies to all levels of government and government officials throughout the country. One is not required to explain why the choice is made; one may simply choose not to participate.

Whether the nonparticipant is an NFL player who is protesting racial inequality or a 16-year-old in my classroom who just wants to know what it feels like to violate an expectation, as an American I stand up for the free exercise of their rights, and so should everyone one in this country.

Marybeth Mayzak, National Board Certified Teacher, Kent

 

Respect the fallen

Regardless of your racial background, regardless of your politics, more than 1 million men and women, of all races and creeds, gave their lives under some version of an American flag. Using today’s flag as a forum for protest may be a right, one that so many have died to secure for us, but it is a right that should be set aside in favor of the respect our dead deserve.

Kneeling, if it were for prayer, would be appropriate after the national anthem, or even before. Not only do the dead deserve our prayers, but the abysmal reality of today’s race relations demands them. But during the anthem all should stand tall, stand solemn and stand proud to honor the sacrifices of all Americans lost in defense of the nation that protects the right to kneel.

Let’s stop trying to tear down our country. Instead, let’s give compassionate discourse a try.

Russell Brown, Bothell