The recent NFL protests have been a huge issue this week in America. Those who support the players who choose to kneel during the national anthem support their right to free expression, and oftentimes claim that the reasons those players are kneeling are legitimate. Got it. Point taken. Those who are outraged over players not respecting the anthem claim that these athletes are unpatriotic and are insulting everything America and our flag stand for. Got it. Point taken.
But there’s an unseen issue going on – that of selective outrage. In this piece, I’ll focus on the selective outrage from the right, and it pains me to have to bring attention to this. While now, just now, patriotic Americans are offended by players not standing during the national anthem, many of those same Americans choose to ignore the true assaults on American values coming from the people in Washington DC.
What is happening at the beginning of many NFL games throughout the week has been seen as offensive to everything the flag stands for; to everything our brave men and women in uniform fought and died for. I take this with a grain of salt, because what those men and women fought and died for was those players’ right to NOT stand for the national anthem.
Still, the outrage goes on. I wish the outrage was equal, or rather, greater, when Congress runs roughshod over the Constitution and actually attacks what the flag stands for. What NFL players are doing is merely symbolic. What those in Washington are actively doing is real and will have lasting effects on our day to day lives.
Think about it. How does a player kneeling for the national anthem effect you? If you’re honest with yourself, it doesn’t. If you are a red-blooded American who loves his country, does seeing Colin Kaepernick kneeling make you feel less patriotic? Of course not! His actions, while they may be offensive to many Americans, do not hurt any Americans.
In the same tone, the point should be made that these actions are symbolic, and do nothing to actually address any of the problems America has with minorities and those living in the inner cities. If police brutality towards African-Americans is really an issue, what good does it do to kneel for the national anthem? Players – you aren’t making a difference. You’re kneeling does nothing to help the thousands of young innocent black lives that are lost each year on the streets of our nation’s inner cities. You aren’t brave, and you aren’t making a difference.
The real outrage should have come when Congress and the President made a deal to suspend the debt ceiling and collect over $150 billion worth of national debt over the timespan of a weekend. The politicians in Washington are bankrupting our country and have no intention of adjusting their ways, but for some reason this isn’t an outrage. In fact, the entire story was pushed under the rug, and when it was brought up was sold as “helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey”. Disgusting dishonesty!
There was less outrage over the V.A. scandal. If kneeling for the national anthem is disrespectful to the troops, how much MORE disrespectful is it to them that thousands of our returning veterans are being given subpar healthcare once they return from the battlefield. Hundreds of those who have served are being prescribed addictive pain killers, are having their PTSD undiagnosed, and are either dying waiting for treatment, or killing themselves before anyone gives a damn about what they’re suffering from.
Where is the outrage over the Patriot Act or the National Defense Authorization Act? One piece of legislation destroys the Fourth Amendment, and another destroys the Sixth Amendment. Outrage? No. If our brave men and women are fighting and dying to protect our freedoms overseas, shouldn’t Americans be outraged when those very freedoms are attacked, not by terrorists, ISIS, or the Taliban, but by the legislators in Congress?
Not standing for the national anthem is offensive to our troops, but what should be more offensive is our government, after being lobbied by special interest groups to the tune of billions of dollars, decides to send America’s finest to die over oil, lithium, and opium. THIS is offensive. Americans are being sacrificed to protect oil fields, maintain America’s bully stance over weaker countries, and impose western values on people who have no interest in them.
Members of Congress and the President’s administration have recently come out with the framework for a tax reform plan, which continues to include a progressive tax structure – something advocated by Karl Marx himself. The lowest income tax rate proposed is 12%, yet Americans fought a revolution over a tea tax far less than that. If not standing for the national anthem goes against American history, doesn’t a progressive tax on Americans’ earnings also go against American history and what our nation stands for? Where is the outrage?
The media pushes the NFL protests as the largest story of the day, but neglects to give any real air time to the recent terrorist attack in Tennessee, where a Somali immigrant shot up a Christian church. Given how controversial Donald Trump’s “travel ban” has been, one would think this story would get more coverage – but no. The media is failing to inform American citizens about what is actually happening to their country, and there is little to no outrage.
Outrage is fine. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for what one believes in, but both the NFL players, and those patriots who are offended by the protests, ought to be more offended by American media failing us, by Congress actively tearing apart the Constitution, and by the pitiful political atmosphere we currently live in.
Tim Preuss is CEO & Founder of Preuss Media.