Let’s be clear here: this is what a dictatorship looks like. The President of the United States of America is advocating retribution against those who peacefully protest their government. That it is hypocritical of Donald Trump) and republicans/conservatives to try to strip citizens of their 1st Amendment right, while they previously protested what they considered to be unjust attacks or suspensions (Curt Schilling, Phil Robertson) is beside the point. Yes, we heard all about the violation of their first amendment rights back then, except both were punished by private employers who have a right to determine who represents them, and therefore their constitutional rights were not violated.
If the NFL chooses to create rules against certain behaviors and the players violate them, they would have the right to penalize those players. Trump doesn’t have to like it – he’s entitled to his opinion – and it is one that is shared by many Americans (predominantly those who are fond of Confederate Flags and guns). However, it is wholly different when the president demands retribution. Protesting your government is a constitutional right. In calling for reprisals against protestors, Trump has violated his oath of office (for his illegitimate role as president) in which he is required to uphold the constitution.
That Trump claims this has nothing to do with race and is just about respecting our country is false. Any president who respects this country would not encourage protesting the removal of statues of those who committed treason against it, and would not call those who wrap themselves in the Confederate Flag “very fine people.”
It was troubling that at first people seemed more upset that Trump used the phrase “son of a bitch” in speaking about Colin Kaepernick (http://amzn.to/2y3VOZG) and athletes that choose to take a knee during the anthem, than they were about what the actual message was – retribution. This is actually something Trump does well (if inadvertently), his boorish or childish behavior distracts from the actual message. But as the weekend went on, you could see that more people recognized that this was about the president trying to restrict free speech and how it is. Dale Earnhardt, Jr seems to have hit it best with his own tweet. While this behavior seems par for the course for this mockery of a president, these actions cannot and should not be ignored. Little by little, tweet by tweet, speech by speech, Trump is chipping away at our individual liberties and freedoms, and shows no signs of stopping.
Wendy Luxenburg writes for Palmer Report