The Object of Protest
Pay attention to what I'm saying!
The United States Constitution gives its citizens the right to protest any issue they have with what is going on in this country. There are protests going on almost everyday, but we don't always hear about them. The object of protest is to get the cause you are protesting about some attention, or no one will care or respond. A few weeks ago, the KKK and Neo-Nazis chose to have a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia in opposition to the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. At least that's what they said it was about.
The protest was scheduled for Saturday, but it started with a hate-filled march on the University of Virginia campus Friday night, with the protesters heading toward a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the university. To their surprise, they were met by a group of students who had formed a circle to protect the statue. The protesters with lit torches surrounded them and shouted verbal insults at the students.
Their was no police presence, as they had no idea this was going to take place. Violence broke out as the protesters attacked the students who fought back. Both sides suffered injuries from the confrontation. Now you would think that this would cause the scheduled protest to be called off, but the next morning the protesters gathered again, this time with weapons. Having heard about the violence the night before, anti-protesters also gathered ready to confront the protesters, and were also armed with weapons. A third group of heavily armed militia arrived and said they were there to keep the peace. Local police were also on the scene.
The plan had been for the protesters to follow a planned route that would have kept them separated from the anti-protesters. But the protesters came there looking for a fight and deviated from the planned route and began attacking the anti-protesters. The local police stood by and watched as the violence escalated. The groups attacked each other with weapons but no shots were fired. Finally, the police stepped in and dispersed the groups, but they shouted at each other as they departed.
This all happened before the rally was scheduled to start. Then a protester drove his car into a group of anti-protesters as they were leaving, killing one and injuring 19 others. This event gained national media attention mainly from the death of an innocent woman, and the theme of racial hatred that the protest was about. Two known hate groups assembled under the guise of a peaceful protest in order to perpetrate violence.
Now lets look at the most recent, or I should say, most notable protest. A year ago, an NFL player named Colin Kaepernick chose on his own accord to bring attention to the injustice of police brutality toward African Americans that resulted in most instances of the officers being exonerated for obvious cases of murder. Again, remember the object of a protest is to get attention, so he chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem before the start of the game, a less that two minute protest before every game.
When asked why he was protesting the anthem, he corrected the reporter and told them he was protesting the injustice of police brutality. Throughout the season, a few other players began to join his protest and knelt during the playing of the anthem. When asked, they all echoed the same response as to the injustice of police brutality. This continued for the rest of the season, and started back up during this year's preseason games as more players joined in.
But there was one major difference this season. Colin Kaepernick was no longer employed by the NFL. He had been released by his current team and no other team had signed him, despite his proven credentials as a competitive quarterback and winner in the league. He may not have been needed by every team, but there were definitely teams that needed him, and most of those teams chose to sign less qualified or less skilled quarterbacks. Even if Kaepernick wasn't a starter, he was better than almost every backup QB in the league.
At the start of the protests, there had only been African Americans kneeling, but this year saw White players starting to join in. Then just before the start of the weekend games for the third week of the season, the president opened his mouth on the subject and turned what had been a smoldering fire into a forest fire. By calling out the players, or as he referred to them, "sons of bitches", who knelt to be fired, he insulted the mothers of players who have the Constitutional right to protest. Second, he insulted every player that was not protesting because they did not like the method the other players had chosen for their protest. Third, he insulted the owners who allowed their players to exercise their right to protest under the Constitution.
So this past weekend, almost every team used the playing of the National Anthem as a way to show solidarity for those teammates they felt were exercising their Constitutional right, even if they didn't agree with the method. This angered the president so much that he has tried to change the message of the original protest. You see, they were protesting against an injustice that they wanted attention brought to. The president is trying to make it seem like they are protesting the flag or the anthem, or the military. Those three things never were mentioned as a reason for the protests. In fact, people are now kneeling in support of the protesters in areas without the flag or the anthem being displayed or played.
The president knows it is now his job to address the issue of police brutality in America, and it is also the responsibility of every citizen to speak up as well. For those who do not have a sense of responsibility, they don't want to see these protests, so they are trying to change the message. The protest was designed to get your attention and listen to why I am protesting, but you are more concerned with the way I got your attention than the message I am trying to deliver. In other words, you are still not listening.
Now let's take a look at the responses to these two incidents by the president, which are now well documented. His response to a violent protest in which the protesters resorted to violence that killed and injured innocent people, was to blame both sides. No, that's not right. The protesters held an unscheduled march the night before the scheduled march. Then they assembled before the scheduled start time the next day and deviated from the planned route before the time they were to start their rally to deliberately confront the anti-protesters.
You even went so far as to call the protesters, who basically express anti-American views and blatant racism ":good people." When criticized for those remarks, you issued an amended statement in which you slightly condemned the racist groups, only to reverse that a day or two later affirming your original remarks. So the president defended a group of people that were responsible for the murder and injury of people that were standing up for American values.
In the second incident, the visibility that the NFL protests were getting was starting to irritate the president so much that he has been accused of neglecting the problems caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria to Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands, both properties and citizens of the United States. He called players who are standing up for American values by pointing out injustice and racial inequality sons of bitches.
Because the people with racist views don't want to deal with the issue at hand, they want this to go away, and they are trying to ignore the message of the protests. Colin Kaepernick's protest got the attention of America and the world because he chose a platform that he knew people couldn't ignore, or so he thought. He accomplished the first part of his mission.
So in fact, people saw and heard what he had to say, The media made sure his message was heard by continuing to show his and other players kneeling for injustice every week. The media even made sure his message of why he was doing it got heard. Watch as he answers every question they ask about his protest.
Not once did he say he was protesting the flag, the National Anthem, or the military as Trump suggested. He also stated that he knew what he was risking as far as his career was concerned and did not encourage any other players to participate. This is significant because he did not play a single game this year, yet his name came up every time they showed other players kneeling in protest, none of which lost their jobs as he did.
If you think he didn't have an impact on the season, you saw fans boycotting the NFL on both sides of this issue. You had fans boycotting because Kaepernick lost his job and you had opposition fans boycotting because they wanted to ignore the issue. To show you how powerful an issue this was, notice how there is no mention of what he was protesting about since football season has ended. That's the power of choosing your platform to draw attention to your reason for protesting.