Apparently by taking a knee while the National Anthem is being played disrespects
the military, the first responders, law enforcement, the flag and the country. That is what our
President would have you believe. Although these athletes are not standing at attention, it
must be remembered that they are silent, frozen in place, and not doing any outward signs
of disrespect. What they are doing is allowing others to respect the flag in the manner that
they choose, while calling attention that the flag, which represents justice and equality for
all, actually has failed in that mandate. Simply put, to be black in the United States is not the
same as being white. Therefore, there is not justice and equality for all.
But our President not only likes to wrap himself in the flag, but he likes to wrap the
military in it. Disrespect for the flag is disrespect for the military and since our young men
and women die fighting for this country, how could anyone disrespect them? It is a false
equivalent. The flag does not represent the military, while the military may fight for the flag.
But the military is not fighting for a piece of cloth, but rather for the ideals embodied in that
piece of cloth. And the number one ideal embodied in that piece of cloth is, in fact, Freedom
of Speech and Expression. Therefore, those in the military are fighting for the rights of those
athletes to take a knee and silently protest that they do not have the same American
experience of those that are white.
Of course it goes without saying that when our President opens his mouth either lies
come out or hypocrisy. This man, who supposedly loves this country so much and the
military that fights for it, did in fact, receive five deferments so that he could sidestep his
military obligation to fight in the Vietnam War. This is the same man that boasts that he is
the most physically fit President that ever lived. If he was so physically fit, then why didn’t
he carry a gun in the jungles and marshes of Southeast Asia? The obvious answer is, his love
of America is only as deep as the political capital that he can wring out of his false words.
He talks about honoring the military and those fighting men and women that wear the
various branches of the military’s uniform. At the same time, he talks about Puerto Rico as
if it was a foreign land and that its citizens are second-class citizens. It is their fault that a
hurricane devastated the island to the point where 90 percent of the structures no longer exist.
It was their fault that 3.5 million people lack sufficient drinking water, electricity, and
telecommunications. It is always their fault and never his.
He talks about ending aid to an island that belongs to the United States. He knows
that death, disease and hardship awaits these poor people, but they cannot vote for him; they
speak Spanish, and aid will ruin his budget.
Again, he and we must be reminded how much he has wrapped himself in not
disrespecting the military. Well, approximately 20,000 Puerto Ricans fought in World War
I as part of the United States Armed Forces. The United States Department of Defense
estimates that over 65,000 Puerto Ricans fought in the U.S. Military during World War II.
During the Korean War, 61,000 Puerto Ricans served on the Korean Peninsula. Puerto
Ricans also served this country honorably during the Vietnam War with approximately
48,000 from this island territory, serving in all 4 branches of the armed forces. Puerto Ricans
also served in both Gulf wars, with 1,700 deployed to the Persian Gulf in the early 1990’s.
As of May, 2004, 1,800 Puerto Rican soldiers were stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and
Puerto Ricans continue to serve all over the globe and in all theaters of war on behalf of the
So when President Trump talks about honoring the military and how important it is
to him, why is it not important to him that these soldiers can go back to their island, to their
homeland, and not see it being rebuilt by the greatest country on earth? How can this
President talk about disservice to the military by taking a knee, and yet have no regard and
no concern for their piece of land that has been devastated? They have been willing to give
their lives in the name of the United States, yet this man, with 5 deferments, would have them
go back to a wasteland and not believe that he is dishonoring them.
When he was sworn in, he took an oath to protect the country and its Constitution.
Yet he has floated the idea of NBC losing its rights to broadcast because of coverage he does
not like. Of course, he says it is fake news. Whether it is fake news or not, it still has the
right to be broadcasted. However, it is obvious to anybody who wants to see, that the
legitimacy of the news is the direct inverse to what Trump says is true. If he says it is true,
you know it is false. If he says it is false, you know it is true.
Whether NBC gets everything right or not or whether any of the media get anything
right or not, is not the issue. The issue is that this man, as thin-skinned as he is, would do
away with the First Amendment, the most precious jewel in the necklace of democracy. If
there was any doubt that he believes that he was elected dictator, as opposed to President,
there should not be anymore. Those that dissent with him are jeered and called names. He
surrounds himself with throngs who refuse to hear his lies because they are in love with his
style. For these people, style over substance is what they have been waiting for. A strong
leader, right or wrong, is the bully they wish to back.
Everything about him is the antithesis of the flag that he pretends to cherish. He does
not honor war heroes such as John McCain, or Goldstar parents. He treats those who cannot
vote for him as second-class citizens. He wants to do away with news media that opposes
him or simply broadcasts the facts that he does not like. He talks about honoring the military
but dishonors those that fight in it. Mr. President, if the American flag stands for anything,
it stands for honoring those that fight for it. Not the cloth, not the stitching, but rather the
ideals. And one of the ideals of our military is to never leave a fallen soldier behind. Puerto
Rico right now is that fallen soldier and you dishonor this country because of your
willingness to leave it behind and to treat its citizens, including the hundreds of thousands
that have worn the uniform of the United States military, as second class.