President Trump has drawn more Americans into the fight against his view of America.
I was proud of the Seattle Seahawks for the statement that they put out before Sunday’s game.
They were responding to the latest comments from President Donald Trump, which pushed a lot of people who had been silent before to raise their voices against his bullying.
I particularly liked what the Seahawks had to say because they aimed their words past Trump to the injustice he and those who agree with him would make worse, that eats away at American ideals, destroying individual lives and weighing down large groups of Americans. Trump is enabler in chief for people who share his limited view of America, a view rooted in a past in which leaders saw this as a country for white males. It is much more than that.
Here is the Seahawks statement as reported in The Seattle Times:
“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work toward equality and justice for all. Respectfully, the players of the Seattle Seahawks.”
Imagine an America in which we lived out the values embedded in those words, as a team united “to work toward equality and justice for all.” Aren’t those ideas supposed to be at the core of America?
Maybe we should all read that entire statement every morning until it sinks in.
Apparently a lot of people think being an American means saluting the flag, standing for the anthem and keeping your mouth shut.
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And in this moment, the country is led by a man who can’t keep his own mouth shut but is quick to tell other people to be quiet. He’s free to speak, but we as citizens ought to be concerned about what comes out when he does exercise his freedom to express himself.
He seems to have finally said enough to draw a broader swath of people to react to the lack of values his comments show.
Last year former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the singing of the national anthem before football games to call attention to injustices in our country. He may have sacrificed his career for love of the values his country proclaims around the world.
Trump went after Kaepernick and the National Football League, saying maybe fans should stay home, and suggesting his audience would like to see owners get rid of protesting players — “get that son of a bitch off the field.” He said that last part Friday in a speech to a mostly white crowd in Alabama.
Seventy percent of NFL players are black. The owners makes billions off their work and the destruction of their bodies, but the NFL hasn’t been the kind of organization to care much about the consequences of the game for players or about anything beyond making money.
Most players kept silent about the protest last year, but some eventually joined it or tweeted support for those who knelt. but Trump pushed them to speak up and Sunday, across the league whole teams knelt or stood arm in arm or stayed in their locker rooms.
Even some NFL team owners have had enough, and they are mostly conservatives, many of whom were Trump supporters during the campaign.
This Sunday some of those owners linked arms with their players.
The first was Jaguars owner Shad Khan, a Republican who gave money for Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Khan is an American of Pakistani heritage and the league’s only Muslim team owner.
This weekend kindled my hope that more people will see their interests in standing up for fellow Americans and for the best of our ideals. We keep loving America because we see its promise and we show our love by pushing America to be the best version of itself.