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The Protest Trend

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The Protest Trend

Photo from creative commons

Photo from creative commons

Photo from creative commons

Rhea Hernandez, Reporter

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Paint this scene in your head: People in the crowd scold the football players as they continue to kneel during the national anthem at the start of the game. The players don’t rage back at the audience nor try to justify their actions because, to them, what they’re doing already says enough.

“Wait, what? What are they doing?!” one fan says.

“Are they disrespecting our nation?” another says. The players kneeling remain in their position, silent and stoic in his actions. Some other people in the audience shout out words of encouragement and support, whooping and yelling out to keep up the protest.

“Yes! Black lives matter!” a fan cheers.

“Kneel for us, guys!” another comments. The opposing fans hear this and start to shove the fans supporting the kneeling players; they begin to shove back. They get into arguments and more join in. Soon there are scattered clusters of people who are arguing about the NFL player’s actions. Some leave the stadium and the national anthem stopped playing.

The game has ended before it started.

We as Americans have protested in support, or against, many social issues in more ways than one. There are people out there who are willing to literally fight for what they believe is right and push down the opposing side, and there are people who choose to silently oppose other opinions or stay neutral and not take a side. These kinds of responses to social issues have been shown when it came to the Kneeling Movement.

So which method is right? Should you fight or should you keep your words to yourself?

Let’s start with a little background information:

The Kneeling Movement began when NFL player, Colin Kaepernick, kneeled during the national anthem in a preseason game that was almost two years ago— February 2016. It was a way to protest against police brutality towards black and colored people. Though it didn’t get much attention at first, its appearance grew until September in 2017, when President Trump commented on Twitter saying they were disrespecting the flag. In addition, he said the players should be fired by their employers and fans should leave the game the moment they see a player kneel during the national anthem; he even using the phrase “sons of b一”.

Now, some agree with him, and some don’t. Some support the movement, and others won’t.

But in this country, there’s never a singular opinion— no matter what.

What is said to be right and what is said to be wrong can be a vast, gray area. But those with enough money and power, or a strong reputation, are more likely to have the higher advantage and the ability to influence what people see, hear and know.

President Trump has clearly proven this with the attention he had gotten with the strong comments he made in the news and on Twitter. Though people hesitate to agree with him word for word, nobody, not even Congress, could forcibly stop him from raising a fist to what he feels like saying.

“Does President Trump at times cause controversy with his proclamations?” US History teacher Mr. Nalezinski said. “He certainly does, but other presidents have done the same thing and have received a pass from the media. It’s a tough call.”

President Trump’s comment, of course, isn’t the only influence. The Kneeling Movement itself has created a strong voice and is used whenever a player takes a knee. But whether the reaction is supportive or opposing will vary.

“If the hope of the protest,” Boys Varsity Coach Mr. Lauzon said. “was for people to think about the police brutality that was going on, then I believe the players got what they wanted. If their goal was to unite our country on the subject, then I am not sure that was successful.”

Nevertheless, President Trump will never win everyone’s support and the Kneeling Movement is in no better position either. Protests will go on whether it’s in a form of a riot or in a Twitter post.

“I don’t think there will be an end to protests,” Mr. Lauzon said. “because we as a society will never all agree on and believe in the same things.”

Despite being a child learning how to handle the real world, we teenagers still have the potential to understand a general concept of what’s right and what’s wrong.

True, adults often have more knowledge and are often able to form their own opinions, but it doesn’t mean we have to automatically, fully believe what they say. What we need to do is  remember that everyone has their own perspective and we need to be respectful of that.

“It is not my job to tell my players what they should or shouldn’t believe in. My job is to coach football and try to help my players become better people,” Mr. Lauzon said.

Yes, a protest is a way to strongly voice something out, and yes everyone one has the freedom of speech according to the Constitution’s First Amendment, but we also have the ability to share a mutual respect for each other’s opinions, and this ability is something that doesn’t have to be written down in words of the law.

“As an educator,” Mr. Nalezinski said. “We are here not to promote our political or religious or any sort of moral views; we are here to provide an education for students and allow you the opportunity to make your own decisions based upon your upbringing and your background and your personal beliefs…”

The meaning of justice may be in black and white on official government documents, but no matter what, the acts of human nature seems to know its way around the words; the true meaning of justice only exists in a person’s perspective, and that perspective may be achieved by an open mind.

So let me ask you this:

As a student,

As a kid,

As a teenager,

As a person,

As a human being,

What is your opinion?

 

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