by Wayne Simmes:
It can be argued that our country was born by protests. After a long bitter war with France, our parent country, Great Briton was in dire financial straits. It was determined that part of that debt be passed on to the colonies by new forms of taxation. One of those taxes was on tea. The crown believed that the colonist would willingly pay the tax instead of giving up their cup of tea. This was also to try and salvage the British East India Tea Company which was also in financial trouble. And to make sure that the colonists did not just buy their tea elsewhere a law as passed making it against the law to buy tea from any other sources.
Some people in the American Colonies took exception to being taxed and having no say in how those taxes were levied. Thus the saying, “no taxation, without representation”. After trying to get some egress from the local British leadership without success, some of the colonists decided to take action. Under cover of darkness, they slipped aboard some British cargo ships and began dumping tea into the Boston Harbor.
This act of disobedience to the Crown was in no small part the start of what would become the Revolutionary war.
And that was led to the formation of a Country founded on the principles of freedom. One of those rights was the freedom of speech and the freedom to peacefully assemble. So if someone feels they have a legitimate complaint, they have the right to voice that grievance and to organize to show their solidarity to Local, State or Federal elected officials.
And throughout our history people have used those rights to protest some of the wrongs that they have seen and endured in our country. The practice of slavery, women’s suffrage, equal rights for various groups and what some perceived as unjust wars.
And for the most part, those protests led to changes for the better within our country. But one common theme was present in all of those protests. For the most part, the desired action or change was well defined. Nobody had to guess that it was slavery that people were protesting. It was not hidden that it was the rights of women that was being protested in the Suffrage Movement. The Civil Rights marches of the 50’s and 60’s did not have a hidden agenda. The protests against the War in Vietnam were open and aboveboard.
But, today it seems that there is a new protest almost every week. At times I think there is a new protest every day. And for the most part, we have no idea what these folks are protesting. Not too long ago we had people marching throughout America protesting our police. But it was unclear exactly what they were protesting about. It is true it started because a black man was shot by police. But that happened in one city in Missouri and yet these people went across the Country shouting “pigs in a blanket. Fry them like bacon.” Their theme was “Black Lives Matter.” And most of us agree that black lives matter, just as we agree that white lives matter and brown lives matter and yes blue lives matter.
But they refused to hear that. If someone tried to make the point that “all lives matter,” they were shouted down. Their right to be heard was more important than anyone else’s right to be heard.
And then we had the protests against Statues. People in many parts of the country organized protests against some statue of Southern War heroes. And that has spread to protests against even the Founding Fathers who came up with the idea of writing down precious freedoms and including them into a document that has stood the test of time for almost 240 years. If it were not for those men, we would not have the right to protest today. Surely they deserve some measure of thanks and to have their memories preserved by allowing their statues to stand.
The past two seasons we have seen players kneeling during the National Anthem. None of them seem to want to share what they are kneeling against, so we have to assume that they are protesting what the Flag of The United States stands for. That flag stands for all the freedoms that everyone has under the Constitution of the United States. So when they exercise their freedom to disrespect that flag, they are saying that their right to do so is more important than the rights of anyone else. And now those actions have spread beyond football and basketball and now they are starting in Major League baseball as well. And perhaps most disturbing to me is that even a children’s band has joined into the lunacy.
Instead of standing proudly while they played the National Anthem, they decided to get down on their knees while they played. Some of these children were still in middle school and I can guarantee you they had no idea what they were taking a knee for. It has been explained in the news that they were protesting police brutality. I wonder how many of them could cite even one case of police brutality. Has anyone bothered to tell them that the vast majority of policemen and women in this country are good, honorable people that risk life and limb on a daily basis to keep the rest of us safe? Has anyone told them that these people they are accusing of brutality risk death every time they put on their uniforms?
Frankly, I am tired of all the protests. If you have some grievance that you want to air, at least before taking to the streets you might let us in on what it is you are grieving.