It would seem our neighbours to the south are experiencing a sea of change, and the backdrop of choice is something that for years has served as a unifying force — sports.
The tide began to turn rapidly last week after American president Donald Trump delivered yet another unhinged address. This time Alabama was the featured state, and Trump’s remarks were another firestorm of racial epitaphs as he asked his largely white audience what they thought of the predominant number of black football players who have taken a knee during the national anthem to demonstrate against racist police actions.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began the protest last season following a number of high profile deaths of black men at the hands of white cops.
Now, in a time of so much uncertainty in the U.S., more and more NFL players have taken one knee during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
More and more did it this past Sunday after Trump, in his Alabama address, called on team owners to fire “those sons of bitches.”
He’s the same man who after Nazi sympathizers marched in Charlottesville said there are “very fine people” on both sides.
It’s upside-down understanding of a situation at its best.
Trump has accused those who have been taking a knee of being somehow un-American, and disrespectful of both the American flag and those who have fought and died for it.
He seems to forget that those in the military paid the ultimate price so North Americans, and those in war-torn lands could have the freedom of speech, and the freedom to speak out against injustice.
Arguing otherwise is like maintaining that Rosa Parks was demonstrating for nothing more than better access to public transportation.
It’s a multi-layered situation, and one that rings all the louder with a president focused on division rather than “making America great again” as he so often claimed in the run-up to his election.
The U.S. has a dark history of racial injustice, stemming from consecutive years of legal slavery, and it seems that when efforts are made to unify, one fell swoop — this time in the form of the country’s leader — brings things crashing down.
Yet, America is the home of the free, and they intend to be brave as they peacefully protest.
For sometimes you have to kneel before standing tall against injustice.