Constitution Applies to All

I was honored to do the coin toss for Military Appreciation Night at a high school football game recently. Thankfully, the loss of the toss didn’t determine the outcome of the game for the home team. They went on to win the game and I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to many of the other veterans who had attended the game.

One Air Force vet thanked me for my service and after some small talk, he told me how horrible he thought it was for NFL players to “take a knee” during the National Anthem. I told him I had a different take that I’d like to share with him.

I said my perspective was that I had served to ensure those players had the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights. He hesitated a second and then said “well, I just don’t think it’s right”. I told him that I didn’t think the Ku Klux Klan’s views are “right” nor do I like how they express them. But, to paraphrase what Michael Douglas’ character said in The American President, “I may hate to the core what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it”.

I believe those football players who “take a knee” have as much right to make a statement in any legal way they see fit, as the Neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville had to express their displeasure with the statute removal. But…when such expressions turn dangerous and deadly, that’s another matter entirely.

To all those who claim they love our country and support our Constitution, I say you can’t pick and choose who gets to enjoy the rights bestowed on citizens of these United States. Millions of servicemembers paid the ultimate price because they believed in our ideals. We best honor their sacrifice by continuing to live by, and protecting, those ideals.

50 Responses to Constitution Applies to All

  1. I don’t think Donald understands…

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago

    Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!

  2. As always, very well said Linda. Thanks.

    • “I said my perspective was that I had served to ensure those players had the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
      Linda, I wish our presidents were as concerned. Tonight’s Viet Nam chapter again reminded me how the government tried to suppress the news of what was happening in the war in order to keep up support for the war and for purely political purposes. I have seen elsewhere clips of Morely Safer’s footage of a marine setting fire to a villager’s home. For broadcasting this, “A Defense Department official stopped just short of accusing CBS News of treason. President Lyndon Johnson awakened CBS President Frank Stanton with a phone call, yelling, ‘Yesterday your boys shat on the American flag.’” ABC anchor Howard K. Smith said reporting of the war should always reflect support of the troops and of the war. I found the report “U.S. Network TV News and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War” to be useful tool while viewing the TV series.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    For a lighter, but profane take on today’s events, actor Michael Rapaport.

    https://twitter.com/MichaelRapaport/status/911625396537274368/video/1

  4. For Sure Not Tom

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Say what you want about Trump, that he preys on women, that he’s a traitor to his country, that he lies and cheats in business, that he’s going senile, and that he’s not even an actual billionaire, that was all just PR for his stint as a reality TV game show host.

      But he’s uniting the country. At least the left side. 🙂

    • For Sure Not Tom

      And now this is spreading to Major League Baseball.

      Bruce Maxwell, son of an Army Vet, born on a military base, just became the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem’

      • For Sure Not Tom

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Notice his white teammate with his hand on Maxwell in support.

          Way to go, Trumpaloompa’s, you’ve united the nation…against your cult leader.

          Trump is a racist POS, and he’s the elected leader of the GOP.

          GOP owns this.

          • “Way to go, Trumpaloompa’s, you’ve united the nation…against your cult leader.”

            Actually, I don’t think it is we Trumpaloopas (I do so like that name – Ha!) that have united the Nation against Trump…he seems to be quite capable of doing that on his own.

            “Trump is a racist POS, and he’s the elected leader of the GOP.”

            He is also still the President and the elected leader of the United States. The coming months are going to be very interesting…

    • For Sure Not Tom

      And here’s the ad the NFL will air tonight in response to Trump.

      It’s an indirect hit to be sure, but good for them all the same.

  5. Trump can’t let it go, as usual.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 3h3 hours ago
    …NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 4h4 hours ago
    If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 16h16 hours ago
    Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 20h20 hours ago
    …our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 20h20 hours ago
    If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….

    • Isn’t it interesting that Trump thinks he is in a position to school black athletes on “privilege”? Just sayin’…

  6. Rev. Dr. Barber‏ @RevDrBarber 12h12 hours ago

    NFL players who #TakeAKnee are sons of Justice, taking their place in the river of resistance that has brought us thus far on our way.

  7. voltaire said it first and better. this is for kavenaugh. as a jury member I can find not guilty anyone who brings a generic republican (for legal reasons) to justice. you know it well its called jury nullification. a white liberal should never find an african american guilty of any thing. that would scare white racists like kavenaugh and for good measure don’t find latinos guilty either. republican donor class would get the message that they could be brought to justice and the state wouldn’t be able to punish those who did.

  8. Sen. John Kavanagh

    The Constitution, specifically the 1st amendment, does not protect NFL players “taking a knee” or KKK members spewing hate speech, unless it is an agent of the government trying to shut them up.

    It is a common fallacy to think that the 1st amendment protects all but illegal speech (obscenity, the immediate advocacy of violence, harassment, etc.) all the time. The 1st amendment only prevents the government from suppressing free speech. The NFL or team owners could stop the kneeling anytime as employers and the players’ contract probably could not stop them. By the same token, a TV or radio show can prevent guests from appearing or hit the mute button when the station does not like what someone says and there is no 1st amendment violation because these are private persons exercising their rights to control their employees “on-duty” actions or the airwaves that they control.

    Also, the old veteran did not say he wanted to shut the NFL players up, unless you omitted that part. All he said was that he thought that the kneeling was horrible and he is entitled to that belief just like you can think hate speech is wrong but defend the right of people to say it, as I do.

    The bottom line is people can pick and choose what they let other people say, when they control the venue or the speaker is an on-duty employee. The 1st amendment only prevents government suppression of free speech. It’s a common mistake but one that needs correcting.

    • I reread the first amendment before I published the post and yes, technically you are correct. BUT, we also know that one of our cherished ideals in America is that we have the freedom to express our views without the fear of censorship. I believe you are wrong when you say “people can pick and choose what they let other people say”. That is of course, unless curtailment of that freedom is in the contract of employment such as with the military.

      As for the old veteran — he absolutely did want to shut up the NFL players. And yes, I told him he was entitled to that belief, and he didn’t have to like it, but they had their right to express their beliefs.

      • Sen. John Kavanagh

        Saying you have a right to speak unasked at the events of others, on radio and TV shows that don’t want you, at private clubs and events without permission and while working on duty for someone is scary.
        And I am not only technically correct on the first amendment. I am totally correct.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          I think scary is a little over the top, but I agree with you, except in this case.

          The National Anthem was written by an anti-abolishionist, and the third verse, which is almost never heard, is about keeping slaves down.

          In the grave.

          Learn some history.

        • Sen. John Kavanagh

          Interesting point that I was unaware of but that is not why players are kneeling or if it is, they are sure keeping it a secret. And why would they object, since we don’t use that verse?

          By the way, for a different take on the third verse, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/arts/music/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem.html?_r=0

          • For Sure Not Tom

            The article says the song is more complicated than just slavery. Um, okay, I guess? It’s like you’re trying to lawyer the point, but we know you didn’t go to law school.

            Kaepernick was originally protesting racism in general, your cult leader Trump for some reason escalated the debate to a whole new level, by calling on the firing of America athletes.

            And today a few hundred players and coaches joined him. No one was fired. He looks like a loser.

            You elected a reality TV game show host, and reality TV shows thrive on conflict. That’s why they put unpleasant people together in unpleasant situations, to drive conflict, and keep people watching.

            The leader of your party doesn’t seem to understand that he’s the POTUS of everyone, and calling for the firing of American’s isn’t part of the job.

            BTW, Trump didn’t actually pick the people he “fired” on The Apprentice. The producers of the show did. He was an actor doing what he was told. You can look it up, he doesn’t actually like firing people, he prefers to make their lives miserable until they quit.

            What a great manager.

          • Sen. John Kavanagh

            OK. So you introduce the point about the anthem and slavery and I respond to it and then you accuse me of “lawyering the point” and switch to a rant you are more comfortable with. You should see a doctor because you may have SDD – subject deficit disorder.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            No, I addressed your linked article. Then I continued the general discussion.

            We know you did not go to law school, and now we know you did not attend medical school and failed creative writing.

            You’re doing what fake conservatives do, they find a small piece of the larger discussion to focus on as a way to distract people from the actual issue.

  9. Frances Perkins

    Amen. Alleluia.

  10. Great article! Young minds need to hear both sides of arguments in order to learn how to reason and use logic. I hope some of them heard the response you gave to the vet! The most important thing you said was, “…you can’t pick and choose who gets to enjoy the rights…” It’s hard for all of us to understand how it’s okay for the “other side” (whomever that might be) to be allowed to talk or behave in certain ways. But it comes down to common sense. You cannot do things that destroy property or are physically harmful to people. Sometimes words are hurtful, but unless they cause injustice, they can be legally spoken. Protests come in all forms. Some are peaceful and productive, and some are obnoxious and divisive. In the scheme of things, Kaepernick might be offending someone’s patriotic sensibilities, but he made an effort to amend that by taking a knee rather than just sitting. In the same sense, it would be nice if our “patriots” could take a look at what he’s trying to say… that there is a lot of injustice in this world, and we need to take notice and try to fix that.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      We need a new National Anthem. The Star-Spangled banner is about war, and it’s impossible for 99.999 percent of singers to sing. As a sports fan I must hear it 300 times a year, and maybe two of those times the singer doesn’t make my ears want to die.

      As far as Kaepernick, good for him, it’s his First Amendment right, it’s about the most American thing you can do (exercising free speech) and don’t blame him one bit for not standing. Has anyone ever bothered to look up all the lyrics?

      Here’s the 3rd verse:

      And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
      That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
      A home and a country, should leave us no more?
      Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
      No refuge could save the hireling and slave
      From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

      It’s a disgusting, racist song.

      • “It’s a disgusting, racist song.

        Here I go again asking one of those stupid questions you hate that you say make me a hatred troll, but:

        Why is the national anthem a racist song?

        Now before you jump on me about asking you a stupid and provocative question, how about taking a moment to calm down and actually answer the question. I don’t know why you would think it is a racist song and I am genuinely inquiring why you think it is. What am I missing?

        • Tom, allow me…

          Steve, your browser is a powerful tool. Try using it. And, yes, you do miss a lot. By choice.

          COLIN KAEPERNICK IS RIGHTER THAN YOU KNOW: THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS A CELEBRATION OF SLAVERY
          Jon Schwarz
          August 28 2016, 12:08 p.m.

          https://theintercept.com/2016/08/28/colin-kaepernick-is-righter-than-you-know-the-national-anthem-is-a-celebration-of-slavery/

          • Steve is just another willfully ignorant conservative.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Pretty much everyone here already knows how the 1A works, thanks John.

            This isn’t one of your Tea Party rallies.

            Interestingly enough, it’s good old fashioned American Capitalism and greed that prevents the NFL team owners from doing as Trump asks and firing their employees.

            The President of the United States should not be calling on firing Americans from their jobs to begin with, and with Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico in dire straights, and North Korea firing “rockets all over the place”, to quote Trump, he should be working on more important issues. He claims he wants healthcare and tax reform, but he sure spends a lot of time insulting American football players instead.

            What is keeping those players on the NFL payroll is the NFL is a spectator sport, and they need someone to do the spectacle-ing on the field or they have no product.

            And if they have no product, they get no money.

            So they may not hire Kaerpernick because they want to avoid controversy, but thanks to our reality TV game show host POTUS, who likes to stir up controversy for ratings, they’re getting even more controversy, and I’m seeing dozens of players taking a knee today.

            If the NFL rating do go down today, it’s all on Trump’s mouth and thin skin.

            Good for them. God Bless America.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Thank you Liza. In your interactions with Steve, I see a cat playing with the mouse before she has her dinner.

            You’d be the cat, just to clarify.

            Wileybud, Steve is NOT a willfully ignorant conservative. Well, he is, but on this site he just likes to ask stupid questions to frustrate “leftists”.

            His goal is not to educate himself or anyone else, his goal is to get people wasting their time dealing with his ridiculous questions.

            If you go back over some of his responses to FalconZero and Kavanagh he freely admits it.

            He’s just a troll. Here’s a pretty well reasoned article that spells out why what Steve does is a waste of everyone’s time.

            http://theweek.com/articles/681291/right-needs-over-pointless-obsession-trolling-liberals

          • “Steve, your browser is a powerful tool. Try using it.”

            It is, indeed, a powerful tool, Liza; I use it all the time. But you and Tom are missing the point I was making in asking Tom why the National Anthem was a rascist song. I can search the web from now until doomsday, and it will not tell me what Tom’s thoughts were. I was asking him what his thoughts were, and I still don’t know because you posted for him. The reference you posted was interesting, but he played fast and loose with a lot of history, interpreting it in a manner that was as negative as possible for our history.

            Overall, he was accurate in his assessment. Certainly accurate enough to make me realize that Tom is probably correct. The third stanza, the one no one knows, has definite racist overtones and should probably be deleted entirely from the song. However, the part that is always sung does not have any racist components in it and is a great National Anthem. However, in our current frenzy to destroy and rewrite the history of the Nation, I suspect the anthem will go down in flames as well.

            I just wonder when the book burning starts because authors of the past were not “clean of spirit and politically correct” when they wrote their books.

            “And, yes, you do miss a lot. By choice.”

            You are learning a lot from Tom. Your cheap shots are taking on a semblance of subtlety and tightness of phrase.

        • I, too, was unaware of its overt racism until this year. The third stanza is seldom sung or read. As FSNT states, it is also impossible to sing. I think we could watch a ball game without having to endure this horrible embarrassment of a national anthem.

      • I agree, our National Anthem needs an update. It didn’t age well at all. By contrast, The Battle Hymn of the Republic will last forever:

        • Are you suggesting we replace a war and pro-slavery song with a war and pro-Christian song as our national anthem? Great song, but still divisive. For divisiveness and melody, I always liked Dixieland because there’s the traditional version and a Union version.
          Away down South in the land of traitors,
          Rattlesnakes and alligators,
          Right away, come away, right away, come away.
          Where cotton’s king and men are chattels,
          Union boys will win the battles,
          Right away, come away, right away, come away.
          Then we’ll all go down to Dixie,
          Away, away,
          Each Dixie boy must understand
          That he must mind his Uncle Sam.
          France has all other countries beat with its rousing La Marseillaise, but again it’s a war song. We really need to dump the Star Spangled Banner.

          • No, I don’t believe I said “replace” but perhaps I wasn’t clear. I was making the point that some anthems age better than others, and the Star Spangled Banner did not age well at all.

            Yeah, the Battle Hymn of the Republic is pro-Christian, to be sure, but there are many people living in the US who sing pro-Christian songs every Sunday. So, it’s not outdated in that sense and the lyrics are still good poetry.

            A brand new national anthem would be great. Maybe we could have a competition, same as they did with the design for the Vietnam memorial in DC, and some genius kid will hit one out of the park like Maya Lin did with the Vietnam memorial. I’m totally serious.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            I’d like something danceable. I don’t dance much myself, but think of how much more fun America would be if we started big events with a giant dance-off.

            I vote for Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”.

      • Jimi Hendrix tried to make it cool in 1969, and the right wingers didn’t like that either…

      • I would recommend America the Beautiful or This Land is Your Land (including all the verses).

        • This Land is Your Land would be a good one.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            This Land is Your Land is a great Woody Guthrie song. Here’s the lyrics to one that Woody actually wrote about Trump’s daddy, Fred.

            Old Man Trump
            Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Ryan Harvey

            I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate
            He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts
            When he drawed that color line
            Here at his Beach Haven family project

            Beach Haven ain’t my home!
            No, I just can’t pay this rent!
            My money’s down the drain,
            And my soul is badly bent!
            Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
            Where no black folks come to roam,
            No, no, Old Man Trump!
            Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

            I’m calling out my welcome to you and your man both
            Welcoming you here to Beach Haven
            To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place
            To have your kids raised up in.

            Beach Haven ain’t my home!
            No, I just can’t pay this rent!
            My money’s down the drain,
            And my soul is badly bent!
            Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
            Where no black folks come to roam,
            No, no, Old Man Trump!
            Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!

            It seems Trump’s have been racist POS for a long time.

            History is weird, he even sings about a Trump Tower decades before there was one.

          • My gosh. Truth is stranger than fiction.

      • And all this time I thought the last words of the Star Spangled Banner were “Play ball!”.

      • ”Thank you Liza. In your interactions with Steve, I see a cat playing with the mouse before she has her dinner. You’d be the cat, just to clarify.”

        I am truly happy that you two found each other and formed your mutual admiration society. It’s cute!

        ”Steve is NOT a willfully ignorant conservative.”

        On the contrary, I am someone who is ignorant of some things and I go places to find answers, new perspectives, new ideas, etc.

        ”…on this site he just likes to ask stupid questions to frustrate “leftists”.

        No, I simply ask questions based upon statements made by posters to expand on what they said. The reason it frustrates leftists like you, Tom, is you don’t know how to answer the question. So, you start with the insults, the haranguing, and cursing with the goal of embarrassing me and shutting me up. Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t work on me. I still want to know why something is as you say.

        ”…his goal is not to educate himself or anyone else…”

        You couldn’t be more wrong, Tom. My track record of exchanges with people on this log that have changed my mind on issues, or gave me a fresh and better perspective on something, goes back too far for you to accuse me of that.

        ”…his goal is to get people wasting their time dealing with his ridiculous questions.”

        Oh, Tom…you are not doing well with this message because you are wrong again. If someone considers it a waste of time to respond, they can do as you have done and ignore the question. I do it find it interesting how often these same people do not find it a waste of time to respond to me with invective and ridicule, but somehow can’t quite find an answer to my question. That applies whether they answer me directly, or do as you do and talk about me in the third person. Either way the question does not get answered.

        ”If you go back over some of his responses to FalconZero and Kavanagh he freely admits it.”

        No, they don’t. What the responses do reflect is a knowledge of the people posting here and how they will react. For instance, Tom, I know exactly how you are going to respond to this message…

        ”He’s just a troll.”

        Not just a Troll. I am a beloved Troll who is also well educated, well written, focused, darned handsome, and humble, to boot! LOL!

        ”Here’s a pretty well reasoned article that spells out why what Steve does is a waste of everyone’s time.

        It was an interesting opinion piece that is a mirror image of similar opinions from the right. Unfortunately, like the opinions from the right, it is long on sidewalk psychology and short on substance. Some specifics:
        • He bemoans “negative partisanship” from trolls on the right, while ignoring completely that the blogs being “trolled” are made up of nothing but negative partisanship from the left.
        • He asks, “Does it accomplish anything?”, which is a good question to ask. But one can, with equal validity, ask if the blog itself accomplishes anything. A lot of time is spent posting on them, but very little, if anything, is accomplished by posting on it.
        • He practices a “Dr. Phil” quality psychological analysis by stating that the troll does what he/she does for the sake of power over someone else. What power? What is changed in the exchange? I certainly don’t derive any sense of power over anyone here, and I REALLY do not enjoy negative exchanges when polite exchanges can be done.
        There were other things about the article that did not ring true, but that is enough.