Soldiers Died So Everyone Can #Takeaknee

Take a knee

The American right to freedom of speech is absolute and undeniable. This is part of what makes our country unique. Conservative commentators are correct to point out that conservative views are regularly attacked and censored on college campuses. But two can play the censor’s game.

Censorship is exactly what conservatives are seeking when they demand that professional athletes stand during the playing of the national anthem before the game starts. This is what authoritarian and totalitarian regimes do — insist on complete conformity of thought, at least in public, rather than the legitimate and free airing of different views. I grant that left-wing totalitarianism sometimes takes hold on campus, but today let’s look at its right-wing cousin.

The right-wing version of totalitarianism is at full boil as this latest #takeaknee controversy flares up. All of the old, bad and anti-American arguments for censorship are making their usual appearance. People are quick to point out that pro athletes make a lot of money — as though this is supposed to buy their silence, and to deprive them of their free speech rights as American citizens. If Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick want to challenge police practices, they have an absolute and complete and untouchable right to do so.

The other common argument is that taking a knee shows disrespect for US soldiers who fought and died. This is a complete lie. Those soldiers died for those very freedoms. Denying athletes — or anyone — the right to exercise those freedoms is no better than spitting on a soldier’s grave.