“It doesn’t matter what color you are, when you’re in Afghanistan and get killed you come back in red, white, and blue.” ~ Rob O’Neill, former Navy SEAL
There was cause for celebration in Athens and across the state of Georgia over the weekend, as Saturday’s resounding 31-3 victory against Mississippi State catapulted the Georgia Bulldogs into the top 10 of all college football teams in the nation. However, as the focus shifted from the NCAA to the NFL on Sunday, fans witnessed more than 200 players choose to kneel or sit during the pre-game performance of the national anthem. This unprecedented wave of protest comes more than a year after then-San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the move as a statement against police brutality and racial inequality. The renewed interest among players in Kaepernick’s cause is a direct result of a series of incendiary tweets and statements made by the President. Trump condemned the protests as gross disrespect for the country at an Alabama rally on Friday, even referring to the kneelers as “sons of bitches” in a not so surprisingly “Trumpian” temperament.
And of course, it seems as if every single person in the country has had something to say about it, including your friendly neighborhood editors here at The Arch Conservative. In order to fully understand the futility of these athletes kneeling, one must simply look to evidence that disproves the popular narrative that minorities are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers. The story usually goes something along the lines of whites make up 62 percent of the U.S. population but constitute only 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers, while blacks account for 24 percent of persons killed by police despite representing only 13 percent of the population. This may seem troubling to learn at first read; however, this logic commits a fatal flaw that is often witnessed in Leftist justification for their claims of societal injustice. That is, in any institution or phenomenon, demographic representation should always match the national population benchmark. This train of logic is dangerously misleading with respect to the police brutality narrative because it assumes that all people from a certain population are equally likely to come into confrontation with the police. A man with no criminal history working behind the counter at Chick-fil-A is less likely to be confronted by law enforcement officers than a man with a warrant out for a violent crime, regardless of their race. Violent crime is the greatest indicator of whether or not someone will encounter police at all, not race, as the mainstream media and Colin Kaepernick would have you believe.
That said, what follows are a few questions that should end the nation’s obsession with the anthem issue: Is kneeling during the anthem disrespectful? Yes. Is it protected under the First Amendment? Yes. Should these multi-millionaires take their social justice activism off the field? If they’re as “woke” about the cause they kneel for as they claim to be, then absolutely. But, another important point to recognize is that before Trump’s Twitter storm over the weekend, one could count the number of kneelers on one hand. This indicates that kneeling has evolved from what was a statement on perceived social injustice to a blatant spite of the president. Those who knelt this weekend will continue kneeling because Trump tells them not to do so. Rather than achieving any real goals, this will only drive fans and viewers away from professional football, a game that in the past three years has become tragically infused with political sentiments.
Of course, this weekend’s NFL twitter tirade was not the only news surrounding our bombastic Commander in Chief. In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly last Tuesday, President Trump boldly declared that “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.” Outrage promptly ensued, with many claiming that Trump’s rhetoric pushed the United States closer to zero hour. Truly, how could the leader of the most powerful country on earth diminish the severity of Kim Jong Un’s repeated nuclear threats by assigning him a humorous epithet?
It is as if Trump’s critics have not been paying attention to the man for the past two years. Trump gives everyone a nickname, lest we forget Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, and everyone’s favorite, Low-Energy Jeb. It is important to not let a classic case of Trump being Trump distract from what was an overall formidable speech. Trump’s speech indicated a return to assertive U.S. foreign policy in assuring that the best route to prosperity for any nation-state is to protect its sovereignty along with the interest of its own citizens. Trump, rightly doing what Bush and Obama had done before him, called out the most imminent threats to a peaceful world: terrorism, authoritarianism, and weapons of mass destruction. One of the most refreshing moments of the speech was Trump’s loud chastising of the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, exclaiming that the country is in shambles not because of a poor implementation of an ineffective and immoral ideology but a “faithful” implementation.
Despite frantic sentiments, it is continuously apparent that Trump will always be a showman first and president second. Yet, we should not expect our president to offer anything less than a strong condemnation of socialist failures and direct threats made towards our nation from a despotic regime, even if he cracks a dumb joke or two in doing so.
With October 11th rapidly approaching, a new print edition of The Arch Conservative magazine will soon hit the racks. If you get a call about a subscription offer, you would be wise not to immediately hang up on the trembling young conservative on the other end. With the plethora of submissions we received this season (and some special new additions), we assure you that this edition will be chock full of fresh perspectives from student writers striving to promote liberty and conservatism here on the illustrious campus of the University of Georgia.
Until next week,