Admiration and Courage
I admire and respect the protests occurring during the national anthem. Here is why. It is peaceful and it is powerful. The very act of peaceful protest is a basic American freedom; It is demonstrating a respect for all those who have fought on behalf of our democracy so that we can live in a country where we have a voice. Where we can take action to make our country even better than it already is. Where we can look in the eyes of all people and say, “I am an American. I love my country, but I have a responsibility to bring attention to injustices and atrocities that I have either experienced or witnessed and I do so without fear of retaliation, retribution or threats.” This is what makes America great.
Having the right to peacefully protest inequality in a country that has equality written into the Constitution, should not be necessary, but it is. Being able to protest because that same country has said you can stand up for yourself and you can stand up for those whose voice has been stifled, is the right of every American. You can, as an individual, have a voice that is heard.
Redirects and Rhetoric
Unfortunately, the messages of protests are sometimes lost or so effectively redirected that the narrative around the protest is changed. It is the new narrative that invites retaliation, retribution, treats and hate. Because of this, it is important to stay clear and on point about the message. Very few people would argue that equality for all is un-American or that injustice is fair. It is necessary to not get lost in the rhetoric of the redirect.
It is essential to be strong in the face of hate, for protests are what shapes America.