BY BOB BEARDEN
So, what’s next – elaborate patriotic displays by our armed forces at NFL games and public shaming and public firings of NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem? The Dallas Cowboy players have been publicly threatened by the owner Jerry Jones, that if they take a knee during the playing of the anthem they will not be playing.
We have a growing cancer in our midst and its name is fascism and it’s being spread about by a scoundrel whose last refuge is a false patriotism. And rich billionaires like Harold Hamm and Jerry Jones are helping him stoke the flames of the firestorm of American fascism now rising in our nation.
The grandstand stunt of our vice president on Sunday in Indianapolis only helps feed the flames of division among our nation. Kneeling during the national anthem as a way of protesting egregious wrongs is not in the least unpatriotic and it is and should always be protected by the 1st Amendment as a right of our freedoms.
Calling those who kneel in protest “sons-of-bitches” is not only divisive and hateful, but it disrespects our rights and our freedoms to say nothing about the fact that it is calling the mothers of all who do so in protest “bitches.” That in and of itself is despicable and heinously disrespectful of women everywhere.
Our military fought and died to protect all our freedoms including the right to peaceful protest. While I might not agree with the way they are protesting, as a person who served honorably in the Air Force, I stand foursquare for their right to do so. When they kneel during the playing of our national anthem I do not feel they are in anyway disrespecting my service to my country. I am honored to have been able to help preserve their right to do just that.
The disrespect comes from those like our president who use foul language to express their displeasure and disagreement with someone taking that avenue as a means of peaceful protest. And yet that same person has no problem with the total disrespect shown by white supremists disrespecting our flag by flying the flag of a defeated cause and protesting for the continuation of racism and bigotry.
Yesterday a person of color stated plainly that she believes our president is a racist and white supremacist. Given his angry tirades against those who are kneeling in the NFL, the vast majority of whom are people of color, I have come to the conclusion that she is correct. He is a snake oil salesman, selling fear, hate, bigotry and false patriotism. In the end what he is doing is attempting to promote neo-fascism and foist it upon this democratic republic disguised as patriotism.
He is by his actions attempting to paint anyone [except his buddies in the alt-right movement] who peacefully protests things they see and know are wrong as unpatriotic. There was a guy in Germany in the 1920s who preached and sold that doctrine and cost the lives of millions upon millions of innocents.
We should not let that happen again. We as a people and a nation must not let the false narrative of a man who is a racist, a bigot and a spreader of fear and hate continue to divide our nation. We must stand together united against the rise of his Americanization of fascism in the guise of promoting patriotism.
What he is doing has no place in our nation.
– Bob Bearden is a trustee of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in OKC