In recent days, the NFL has been in the national spotlight with its players taking part in widespread protests of the national anthem. What started as protest by a single player a year ago has spread to hundreds more, showing no signs of ebbing as the new season begins.
With President Trump weighing in on the controversy last week, signs are starting to emerge that the controversy will no longer be confined to the NFL. In fact, players from other major sports leagues have either taken part in the protest already, or have indicated plans to do so in the upcoming season.
While professional athletes taking part in this trend is one thing, it’s another when it spreads to the halls of Congress. Sadly, that’s exactly where the display seems to be heading next, after Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee took a knee on the House floor yesterday.
From the Huffington Post:
The anger against President Donald Trump’s attack on National Football League players who protest during the national anthem has now spread to Congress.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) took a knee on the House floor as she used a special order of the Congressional Black Caucus to condemn Trump on Monday night.
According to Jackson, criticizing those who kneel during the anthem is racist:
“There is no basis in the First Amendment that says you cannot kneel on the national anthem or in front of the flag,” said Jackson Lee. “That is racism. You cannot deny it, you cannot run for it.”
Jackson Lee later dropped to one knee, and said she did so “in honor” of the NFL players who similarly protested Trump’s remarks over the weekend.
Of course, people’s desire to see the national anthem respected has little to do with race. For millions of Americans, the national anthem and flag represent a piece of themselves. By protesting the anthem, you are in fact protesting America itself — the America elected officials serve. For that reason, such a protest has no place in the halls of Congress.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]