You have the right to express your opinions, ideas, and thoughts. I have the right not to agree with you. Neither of these rights negates the other rights.
It is just as important to understand what you are protesting so that you can put your opinions in the right context.
It started with one man.
That seems to be the running theme in the news, in entertainment, and even in some events that were once considered children’s activities.
Despite my own natural born instinct to confront and argue (although I would have argued I was debating), I never imagined that honor and respect would become one of the items in the list of controversial subjects.
It started with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. It wasn’t that he took a knee (although if you are Tim Tebow that becomes an issue in and of itself). It was WHEN Mr. Kaepernick took his knee that became the issue.
He took a knee during the National Anthem of the United States to protest something that he felt needed awareness. I respect his desire for wanting to shine the light on an issue he considers a problem.
I just think there was a better time or a better place to make the point. Choosing the time of the National Anthem of the United States of America misses the mark.
The Power of an Anthem
Many years ago, my children and I were listening to Adventures in Odyssey while traveling. The episode was called, “By the Dawn’s Early Light.” I couldn’t stop listening. The event came to life for me in the words they shared.
Not too many weeks later, I participated in a local bowling tournament. Before the first ball was rolled, the organizers played the “Star Spangled Banner.” I tried to sing along, but the emotions that were given such life when I heard the production of “By the Dawn’s Early Light” overwhelmed me. I choked back the tears as I thought of what others had done so that I could stand there in that moment.
I taught my children that same reverence and respect – not for the words, or the music, or the performers, but for those that had made the way for us.
After the attacks on 9/11 - seeing the people of the United States of America unite in a way I have never experienced before and watching the sacrifice of others - my reverence and respect only grew.
The Power of Taking a Knee
Throughout my lifetime, which I admit is short compared to our history, the idea of “taking a knee” has been about prayer. Prayer provides powerful motivation and inspiration. Prayer heals. Prayer offers thanksgiving.
But even prayer has a place.
Why Respect the National Anthem
The National Anthem is not about a country. It is not about states. It is not even about patriotism. It is completely and wholly about sacrifice – the sacrifice made so that I can share this article with you, so that you can share your thoughts with me, and so that we can live the life that we believe is right for us.
Francis Scott Key went to the enemy to try and negotiate the trade of prisoners. He was on a prisoner ship and watched as the enemy attacked his home country (the very fort where his own brother led). All through the night, the cannons fired. The dark blocked Key from seeing if his home survived.
Until the dawn broke . . .
As the sun rose, Key could see the Stars and Stripes still waving. He knew then that they had survived the attack. His joy that followed a night of anguish poured out from him into the words of what came to be The National Anthem of the United States.
Standing reverent during the National Anthem of the United States of America takes a few moments to remember and honor the sacrifices . . . ALL OF THEM . . . that made way for all that we are today (and for all that we have yet to achieve).
A Better Way to Disagree
Things are not perfect – they never were and they never will be. There will always be people involved and people are far from perfect.
Protest. March. Declare your disagreement.
But keep the reverence and respect for those that made the way for you to do just that.
You can tell others you respect them. You can write about how you respect them. Actions will ALWAYS speak louder than words.
There has to be a better way to disagree than to trample down reverence and respect in the process.
- Host a debate. Let each side answer questions about the situation and how the situation can be resolved.
- Set up a meeting with the opposition – far from the cameras and spotlights. Have open and honest conversation.
- Give solutions. The only way to fix anything is to provide a way to do something different.
I once shared with a friend that nobody ever wins an argument. In an argument, feelings get hurt, emotions flare, and in the end, both sides lose. We have to find a way to stop arguing with each other and begin sharing, healing, and helping.
What do you think?
Is there ever a wrong time to protest? Share your thoughts in the comments below.