These are the freedoms the Founders were protecting
Watching the NFL on Sunday some said that the players protests weren’t respecting our country, but I disagree. The fact that the players can protest at all is a victory for supporters of our Constitution and its explicit protection of free speech. We must also acknowledge how strong these feelings for protest are, with players willing jeopardize their hard-fought careers to make a point and to ask yourself would you have the guts to do the same, knowing how divisive the protests are? This is the first time in our history that real free speech has existed in this country and part of achieving racial equality is acknowledging the unequal truths in our past and present. Research shows that ‘resumes with white-sounding names spurred 50 percent more callbacks than the ones with black-sounding names’. In Charlottesville in 2015, 67% of people who were stopped and frisked were African American but they only represent only 19% of that community. Our country was also built on the backs of bought and sold African-Americans and we wouldn’t be the country we are today without their exploited labor and collective sacrifice. George Washington had slaves as did Thomas Jefferson – and Sally Hemmings wasn’t Jefferson’s ‘mistress’ as is told in white washed history but rather a woman held captive and shamefully treated as property, an act easily spotted as evil and morally unjust were it to happen today. The ideals of the Founders, regardless of how inferior they were in practice when written, are only now being presented for application and we saw them executed Sunday in arenas across the country. The first amendment to the US Constitution states: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ They may not have imagined it at the time, but the NFL protests are exactly what the Founders of our country were protecting all those years ago. Being an American Patriot doesn’t mean changing the past to fit our ideals, but rather requires us all to have the strength to face the hard unjust truths and to come out stronger together, arms locked with our team mates, supporting our American right to protest and of all Americans’ rights to the fruits of humanity.