What Freedom Means

Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Tamir Rice.

These are some of the unarmed black males shot to death by police. I can’t say “men,” because Tamir Rice was only 12 years old.

Kneeling quietly and peacefully during the national anthem respects the memories of those we have lost, and draws attention to unequal police treatment. It is not an attack on all police, but a call for equal treatment before the law. This action does not disrespect the flag, and in fact it honors the highest purposes and ideals of our nation.

What does disrespect the flag, and dishonors the service and lives of our troops, is compelling people to forfeit their free speech rights. Free speech is a right our troops have defended for centuries. Censorship is the work of totalitarian regimes, and we must resist it here. This is not what freedom means.