Letter to the Editor

Protest: Is it dishonorable or critically necessary?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Our country was founded by protestors — against the tyrannical rule of a colonizing foreign power; it was further strengthened by abolitionists, the women’s suffrage actions, civil rights and gay rights movements. Our country’s history displays the need for and the beneficial results of justifiable protest.

The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” In more than two centuries, from slavery to segregation to lynching’s and police brutality to mass incarceration of people of color we have not come close to that ideal. It is our systematic practice of racial inequality, not the athletes kneeling during the national anthem that dishonors our country.

Honoring America has to mean much more than standing at attention for a song. In order for a protest to have any effect, it has to been seen. When athletes take a knee at public events they are risking future contracts and endorsement opportunities to speak out on issues of racial injustice because they feel duty bound to do so. They are, in actuality, patriots of the highest order. They are exercising one of the most important freedoms, the freedom of speech, for which our military has fought so valiantly for over two centuries.

Note: I have borrowed some of the thoughts from a piece by Stan Van Gundy, 20-year coach in the NBA, in the Time Dec. 11 issue. He further states: “I stand with these athletes and their patriotism. They could take the easy route and not place their livelihoods at risk by standing up for what they believe. Instead they are speaking up for those who have no voice and working to make America live up to its stated ideals. We should all join them.”

—Robert Sneitzer, Spirit Lake