Take a knee for a new national anthem

FROM THE LEFT

I am a patriot. I served this country as an outstanding civilian for more than three decades. I pledge allegiance.

Some of my fellow Americans wonder why it is necessary or appropriate to protest civil injustice by taking a knee at professional sporting events, namely the National Football League games.

When do they think it’s most appropriate? While being beaten, strangled or shot by an employee of the government?

Should Rosa Parks have waited until the bus was practically empty of white folks and there were plenty of seats available for “colored” folks? Should gay men at Stonewall Inn have waited until after the police left to complain about discrimination by the government? Should the physically disadvantaged among us have waited until it was more convenient to have accessible public restrooms and maneuverable sidewalks? ‘Hey, you women will get the right to vote—just be patient, will ‘ya? This is not the time.’ It is always the right time for justice and equality in this nation.

When exactly is it convenient and appropriate to demonstrate for redress of grievance against the government or all of society for that matter? After the ovens have cooled?

Those seeking justice will always use what is at hand. We will strive to bloom where we are planted. We will voice grievances when it is not convenient, because to the oppressor it is never the right time or convenient. The only time I believe Jesus talked about silence and going into the closet was when it came to prayer. For protests, he was very public and in-your-face.

We can not relegate redress of grievance and protests to the closet— that action serves no purpose to change public hearts and minds.

Actions must be publicthey must be by the people and for the people!

The Boston Tea Party did not occur off-stage. Dissenters love our country just as others do; we simply want progress so it can be all it can be.

Why do we play the Star-Spangled Banner before major sporting events?

Why is the national anthem not played before a play, opera or movie screening?

Why must the descendants of former slaves stand, kneel, listen to or participate in any form to a horrible-to-them song that contains in its third verse: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”? Surely, we can find a more suitable song for the anthem for these United States.

The current anthem is a source of division and derision and should not be the cause, as it is now, of such public discord.

Pride in country should be evident and not dependent upon hoisting a flag to assure you are a worthy citizen. No one knows for certain what is in the heart of a citizen who displays patriotism when it is mandatory or subjects the citizen to being ostracized.

When allegiance to a bad song is imposed it is meaningless.

Watch as those in the audience ignore, chew gum, eat, drink, and move about while the song is played.

Those at home, I suspect, don’t even stand!

For far too many it has become ho-hum.

Stop playing this degrading and difficult-to- sing song at games or chose a better and more inclusive National Anthem and play it only on special occasions, like Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and Independence Day. That would go far in instilling national pride and patriotism.

How about commissioning the writing of a new National Anthem that can truly unite this fractured, yet still superior example of national diversity that would truly instill national pride?

Choice Edwards

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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