Take a Knee

Note: this post has nothing to do with climate change.

You might know George Takei as Lt. Sulu on the original “Star Trek.” He’s an American of Japanese descent — born here, raised here, every bit as American as any other citizen. But during World War II he and his family were put in an internment camp, for no other reason than being of Japanese ancestry.

While there, American citizens locked up with no charges filed, no due process, no constitutional rights, they were forced every day to face the flag and pledge allegiance. From behind a barbed-wire fence.

Forced allegiance isn’t patriotism. It’s fascism.

The NFL (National Football League) announced yesterday that all personell must stand during the national anthem. Those who wish not to, must remain in the locker room until it’s over. The NFL policy is forced allegiance. It’s not patriotism; it’s fascism.

This country was founded on freedom, including the freedom to protest. Stifling protest is a slap in the face to the principles we were taught to honor. I hope that during the first game of the season every NFL player will “take a knee” in protest during the national anthem.

Anything less would be unpatriotic.


21 responses to “Take a Knee

  1. Thanks for your blog. I really appreciate your personal perspective and your expertise in quantitative analysis.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Susan Anderson

    I think every team should simply stay in the locker room in solidarity. That would hurt both fans and owners, and clear this up in a hurry! If they pay the fine, that benefits the execrable management.

  3. Thank you for calling out the fascist behavior in America’s favorite corporate sports enterprise. After all, fascism is the combination of governance power with corporations. The NFL had those tendencies before any player ‘took a knee.’

    As for the relevance of such a post on a climate blog: IMHO (maybe not so humble), climate change (global warming or AGW) is but one of many externalities caused by corporate capitalism. As ‘things fall apart’ fascist behavior by corporate and government leaders will increase. Since—as ecological science teaches—all things are connected, calling out fascist tendencies in the bread and circuses part of our culture can be a starting point for pointing out similar tendencies in many other areas, including the election of proto-fascist bullies like Trump, whose administration pretends AGW doesn’t exist and pushes policies and actions of denial and outright repression of speech by scientists.

  4. I agree. Fascism is a dangerous self propelling Hydra. Once let to rear it’s head it grows and will consume freedom exponentially. Hungary is an example, Poland, Russia, China… and many others. The Hydra’s stench can be smelled in many corners of society these days. Back in 1945 America liberated Europe from it’s grip. Who will come to our rescue in the future?

  5. skeptictmac57

    I couldn’t agree more. This kind of pseudo ‘patriotism’ pushed by knee-jerk ‘defenders of freedom’ is mere posturing and signaling of one’s self righeousness.
    This reminds me of the same kind of demanded ‘respect’ that a mob gangster might require of his minions. That is not respect in the true meaning of the word (“a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”), No, what that is asking for is fear and obeyance, in the spotlight of hyped nationalistic observers while shifting away the actual meaning of the protests and real grievances of an oppressed community.
    This is an ugly use of a presidential (and other) platform for naked political advantage and a literal whitewashing of bigotry wrapped in a flag.
    People who buy into this nonsense are of the same ilk that firmly believe that beating or whipping a child as punishment is an idea we need to bring back so that ‘kids today’ will have the same kind of ‘respect’ that they had when their parents would knock the shit out of them as children and beat them into submission. Only this time it is being done through public shaming and threat to these citizen’s 1st ammendment right to free speech and protest, as well as a threat to their profession and livelihood.
    These bullies need to be taught a lesson that will stick with them for the next 50 years (about how long it has taken for them to forget the last great lesson of the civil rights protests).

  6. Samothe: Exactly. All these decades later I still remember the author commenting on the ending of his own “Lord of the Flies” (William Golding, 1954): “And who will rescue the adult and his cruiser?”
    [And isn’t the internet amazing that it took less than a minute to confirm?]

  7. George does a wonderful Ted Talk on this, well worth watching

  8. Greg Schorr

    It’s almost as if our president has studied at least one subject. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/68141866/5761581

  9. If standing is compulsory it is no longer a sign of respect, its a sign of subjection.

  10. The new version of kneeling could be to stand up, very straight with the wrists crossed in the small of the back and the ankles together.
    As though handcuffed and bound.

  11. My favorite reaction to the ruling came from the Wonkette blog:
    “NFL Compromise: Kneeling Players Have Three-Fifths Free Speech Rights”

    • Now that’s pointed, if you know US history!

      • Yep!
        For those who don’t, I should point out that for purposes of determining representation in Congress, slaves counted as 3/5 of a person in the Constitution.

      • …and the not-so-unintended consequence, of course, was the augmentation of the political clout of slaveholding states in Congress, relative to free states–despite the logical incoherence (not to say ‘tragic irony’) of counting nonvoters with opposed interests in order to determine the ‘weight’ of a state’s voting population.

      • Slavery: America’s original sin.

  12. Phil Scadden

    The US used to be lauded here and fondly remembered for their heroic defense of freedom from forces of fascism in WW2. Incredibly sad to that country of all the world should now succumb to those forces.

  13. Kudos Tamino for posting this. I was horrified at this decision for exactly the reasons that you and others have pointed out.

    What really irks me is that in just about any other context going on bended knee is an overt sign of humility and respect, from knightings to marriage proposals to prayer. This whole confected outrage over footballers going on bended knee at the playing of an anthem is a white backlash against the racism that bending the knee was intended to highlight, and as such it’s not only a stifling of free speech it’s an implicit push-back against racial equality.

    That the USA has sunk to this level of regression with government and wide social approval is shocking beyond description. Don’t let these people win – the US is being profoundly damaged by the GOPTrump as it is, and cannot afford to keep slidnig into the abyss.

  14. Doc Snow | May 29, 2018 at 11:47 pm |
    …and the not-so-unintended consequence, of course, was the augmentation of the political clout of slaveholding states in Congress, relative to free states

    The slaveholding states wanted the political clout but didn’t want to pay the taxes that the larger population would imply. The northern states didn’t want to concede that control to the south due to a population that was unable to vote. That happened anyway when the Thirteenth Amendment was passed and former slaves were now counted but were still prevented from voting by the states.