As the NFL season continues, so does the “controversy” around professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem. It shouldn’t be a controversy, though. It’s men choosing to exercise their freedom of speech by quietly kneeling during the national anthem. Additionally, the controversy around kneeling has completely taken away from the true point of the protest — which wasn’t about free speech, to begin with.
It was about black men and women being brutalized by corrupt police officers. Not to say all police officers are bad. There are more good officers than bad. The problem, however, is that the bad officers aren’t receiving the punishment they so richly deserve. It was about the oppression of black people during a time when we were told systemic racism no longer existed.
Regardless, the real point has been lost on the far right-wing pundits who scream the loudest when their precious flag is “disrespected.” Tomi Lahren is one of those extreme right-wing pundits. Somebody gave her a platform and she shills for the far-right masses.
In a Twitter post on Thanksgiving, Lahren posted a photoshopped image of Colin Kaepernick kneeling in front of the image of soldiers going into battle on D-day. It’s a ridiculous attempt at making a point with shocking imagery, which is her type of journalistic efforts – shock journalism.
First off, there are several soldiers in that image who would probably tell you they might not agree with Kaepernick kneeling, but they fought for his right to kneel. It’s freedom of speech, and had Germany won the war, freedom of speech would no longer exist. Furthermore, black men went into that war just like white men. Many think there were no African American soldiers at that pivotal battle. However, there were. The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion fought alongside white soldiers in the name of freedom on D-Day. Over 1 million African Americans fought in WWII, and yes, they were segregated and mistreated by the commanders.
So, if anyone wants to do something to honor all those soldiers that fought, sacrificed their lives, their physical well-being, their mental well-being, recognizing that Kaepernick’s kneeling is an expression of peaceful protest would be a great way to honor the people Lahren’s trying to use to prove her own political opinion. She has noted previously that Kaepernick has the right to protest; however, she believes she has the right to criticize his method of protesting.
Indeed, she does. That’s how freedom of speech works. However, just like she has the right to criticize his method of protesting, we have the right to criticize her criticism. That’s just what Twitter users did in response to the picture she tweeted. Several replied to the post and tore her to bits and pieces for it. You can check out their responses below.
Featured image by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon.