Raging at the Wind Screed! – Misguided Protests
Enough already about the sensationalism surrounding those taking a ‘gutsy- principled’ stand by kneeling during the National Anthem or sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance. The most suitable response to those seeking self-aggrandizement by acting out in public is not acclaim or condemnation, but public indifference. This is the focus of today’s Raging at the Wind Screed – Misguided protest – taking a knee
Many parents learned that the least painful (but unpleasant nonetheless) response to a petulant child’s tantrum is to ignore them. The child will soon realize they’re not getting the attention they seek and quiet down. While this may cause some temporary discomfort to all those in listening distance, it’s a quicker and preferable route than engaging in the tantrum with the child by counter shouting or debasing oneself by resorting to threats.
The public passed up the opportunity to ignore the act and swiftly aid it’s departure. Regrettably, the protests are now a daily scene across the landscape. According to those in protest, their selfless actions are designed to draw attention to the inequality of our social and justice systems. However, their actions rarely seem to produce discourse on those subjects. They always seem to generate debate on their ‘courage’ for taking a stand or condemnation for their disrespect to veterans, police, the nation, honor (take your pick). The topics of justice and equality seem to fade into the background.
The protestors’ protest fail (in my view) for two reasons; one, the protests seems to draw more focus on the protestor and less on their aim; and, two, their decision making process on how they should best highlight their cause is poor.
The protestors have chosen to protests during the Anthem or Pledge. Their protest is not an incidental activity they indifferently engage in while everybody around them participates in a solemn display of unity honoring our national principles. Their act is to stand apart and show indifference or disdain to the Anthem & Pledge.
What they fail to appreciate is that the Anthem and Pledge are symbolic expressions that represent our endorsement of our national principles.
Regardless of how the protestor labels their activity, their act of protesting during these events is intuitively understood to be a protest against the principles themselves. The National Anthem sings to the pride of a nation under siege, as one of its forts undergoes a relentless bombardment; and survives. The fort represents the stalwart principles of individual liberty, equality and rights guaranteed by one’s creator (not by a distant sovereign). The bombardment represents the trials of a nation struggling to secure those very principles at all risks and succeeding.
While one can find any symbolism they seek in the song (this is mine, but, is may mean different things to different people), the Pledge of Allegiance’s symbols are more directly stated “…for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Protesting the symbols that permit protesting?
One may ask why would somebody protest ‘liberty and justice for all?’ It seems the protestors are protesting the very principles they desire to live by.
Regrettably, they conflate common symbology with people’s poor adherence to those principles. The aim of the protestors is to draw attention to the unequal application of laws and practices designed to achieve those principles. Indeed, this may be so; our history is replete with our constant struggle to live to these high standards. Sometimes the nation lives up to them, and realistically, sometimes it dos not. When we fail it is helpful to draw attention to that reality.
However, protesting the symbols of these principals and not the communal failures to live by them, is counterproductive and therefore a poorly thought out effort.
Actions can also be symbolic. The action of protesting during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance symbolically represents disrespect to, or, a dishonoring of, the nation’s principles. Protesting principles that ensure the very right to protest is not only cravenly ironic, it is witless, and does a disservice to the very aims of the protest.
As it is one of our cherished rights, few dismiss the right of the protestors to protest, except perhaps the protestors themselves. If only they realized what it was that they were really doing.
Misguided protest – taking a knee
- If you enjoyed the article, link to our other Musings, Screeds and creative works at Darren’s Musings
- Want to protest with a T-shirt, try this one “We want our Country Back”