The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

To kneel, or not to kneel, isn't the issue


September 28, 2017 | View PDF

Like almost everyone, I grimaced a bit when President Donald Trump jumped into the NFL kneel-gate arena this past weekend while making a stop on a tour supporting an Alabama lawmaker. While I’m certain his opinion reflects that of a large number of Americans who feel standing and showing respect for the National Anthem is appropriate, I’m not sure it did anything but create more sensational headlines and television clips.

Just so you know, I come from a long list of veterans in my family. My older brother served in Vietnam, my Uncle Rodney and Uncle Walter served in Vietnam and Korea. My great-grandfather served in the Civil War. You can be assured, we all stand when the anthem is played at events we are attending and are all proud to be Americans. But that isn’t really the point. Each and every one of us agree – well, at least the ones of us who are still above ground do - we served so that others could be free enough to think and say, and protest, as they will. And, whether we agree with their words/protest or not, we support their efforts to air their grievances.

We just wish it could come with some sign of respect for those who laid down their lives over the first 250 years of this democracy we live in.

With that, I was happy to see Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell’s response last weekend prior to his team’s game with the Texas Rangers. The son of a U.S. veteran, Maxwell did kneel during the playing of the anthem, but I thought it was tastefully done. As he knelt, he held his hand over his heart and removed his cap. By kneeling, he was able to draw attention to himself – and the desire for racial equality, which is something everyone should want – while also paying respect to the country that gave him the honor of playing baseball for a living.

Maybe we have found a middle ground in this issue?

To me, the kneeling is making people talk and recognize that we, as a country, still have some work to do.

Maybe, one day, we’ll all agree there isn’t an African-American, Anglo-American, Italian-American or Native American. Maybe we can all just be Americans even as we honor our roots.

I don’t believe every black man is a criminal. I don’t believe every white man in a racist. Nor do I believe She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad should have to cook every meal … although if we want it to be edible, I would highly suggest it.

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or are just plain lies.)


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