Perhaps in the past week or so, you heard a little news blip about Mike Pence leaving an Indianapolis Colts game because players knelt for the national anthem. In my opinion, this is why it should matter to you.
Just in case you missed it, here is what happened. Last Sunday, Oct. 8, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game because players knelt during the national anthem. He later tweeted “I left todays Colts game because POTUS[President of the United States] and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.” According to CNN, the trip from Las Vegas where a memorial for the shooting victims was held to Indianapolis was about $100,000. However, it doesn’t stop there. After leaving the game, Pence flew to Los Angeles for a Republican fundraiser. That, according to CNN, brings our taxpayer total to almost $250,000. This of course is a figure based on airfare alone, the number doesn’t include things like hotels or security expenses.
That should infuriate you. Bring you to tears almost. Personally, I think it was a (not so) cheap political stunt to help sway public opinion about NFL players kneeling during the anthem. President Donald Trump jumped on the publicity, claiming he told Pence to leave. The story gained so much traction, Saturday Night Live used it as the premise for its cold open. With Alec Baldwin as President Trump, Pence (Beck Bennett) is required to check in with Trump at any event he attends. This made for a humorous start for the third episode of the 43rd season.
Despite the apparent humor behind it, the situation isn’t funny. It’s rooted in the issue of players taking a knee during the national anthem. They protest police brutality, systemic racism and the overall oppression of the African-American community. Not something to be taken lightly in any way, shape or form. They protest even as our president takes shot after shot at their First Amendment right. Half a nation questions the legitimacy of their protest claiming men and women fought and died for the flag and anthem, the same flag and anthem being protested. I see it differently. My father served in the Navy, and if he were still living I’d like to think he’d agree he fought so they had the right to chose if they sat or stood, knelt or sang along in unity with others.
President Trump has attacked many people and groups since his election in January. Almost as if he is purposefully trying to tear our citizens apart by pitting them against each other. In recent weeks, his latest “victim” is the sports community. Do not be discouraged — we must, as a community, stand, or should I say kneel, in unity with our brothers and sisters. We cannot allow this man to bring division into all aspects of our life. He’s quick to point out all our differences, never highlighting all the numerous things with unite us as one. Remain vigilant, remain strong and most importantly, remain together.