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The Public Pulse: Kneeling shows disrespect; No, it's First Amendment expression

The Public Pulse: Kneeling shows disrespect; No, it's First Amendment expression

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Nebraska volleyball players, including Lauren Stivrins (26), Madi Kubik, Nicklin Hames (1) and Kayla Caffey (left) went over to apologize to Maryland players, like Rainelle Jones (right) after the game on Friday at the Devaney Sports Center. A few Nebraska spectators yelled at kneeling Maryland players to "stand up" during the national anthem.

Well-deserved criticism

Rainelle Jones of Maryland kneeled during the anthem Friday and was jeered by a very few NU fans. Both John Cook and Trev Alberts lamented her treatment as being disrespectful and apologized. I wouldn’t have.

What about Jones being disrespectful to the fans, the flag, the country, everyone? Why did she get a bye? What about her disrespect of veterans who fight and die for the country represented by the flag and the anthem? I would not voice my dissatisfaction like some did, but I understand it and I support it.

To coin a very appropriate playground phrase, she started it.

Neil Willer, Omaha

Questions for ‘patriots’

In regard to the Nov. 12 article “Husker fans shout at Maryland players for kneeling during national anthem,” I was pleased to see that online comments were not accepted. Of course, on Facebook, the usual “patriots” came forward to spew vitriol and sling mud at the idea that our national anthem and flag were being disrespected.

I would like to challenge those “patriots” to answer every one of these questions with a yes or no. Do you stand in silence when the colors are being presented? Do you remove your hat and place your hand over your heart (or salute if you are military) during the anthem? Do you sing along with the anthem? Do you remain standing in silence until the colors are retired? Do you wear the flag as apparel or use it in advertising in your business? Do you display the flag at your home or business? Is the American flag at the top of your flagpole, no other banners or flags above it? Do you feel it’s OK to beat police officers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building with an American flag on a staff?

Just in case you need to check the answers, they should be yes, yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes and no. If you answered all those correctly, then you may be a patriot. You may not agree with anyone kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, but you also know that those doing so are exercising their First Amendment rights.

Jeanne Miller, Omaha

Divisive action

An OWH Nov. 11 article quotes NU Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg saying, “the university will continue playing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ to promote unity and inclusion.” On Sunday, Nov. 14’s editorial, entitled “Song promotes unity; Ricketts’ criticism is divisive,” repeats this misleading claim.

Progressives are experts in redefining words to suit their purpose. While “Lift Every Voice and Sing” may be a beautiful song with deep meaning, it’s also almost universally spoken of as the Black national anthem, and there are even proposals to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” So, I have to wonder, how is that inclusive or unifying?

Does that mean “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the White national anthem? Since America is a melting pot and we’re all immigrants at some level, does each ethnic or racial group get their own national anthem performed at sporting events?

I thought I should look up unity and inclusion to see if I my understanding of their definition is incorrect.

Unity: “the state of being united or joined as a whole.”

Inclusion: “the act of including: the state of being included.”

It seems pretty clear to me that elevating “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to the same level as “The Star-Spangled Banner” is exclusive and disunifying. I’m fine with revisiting what should be our national anthem and replacing the current anthem with a new one, but unless and until that happens, I agree with Gov. Ricketts’ criticism and soundly disagree with the OWH editorial staff that he is divisive.

Mark Holling, Omaha

Don’t be naive

Former Congressman Brad Ashford (Nov. 6 Midlands Voices) imagines that the voters in this month’s elections wanted bipartisanship, getting things done, no petty politics and didn’t care about what political party the candidates belonged to.

Not even close! Republicans for decades defined Democrats as extremists, big city/coastal elites and enemies of heartland Americans. Ronald Reagan ran against “welfare queens” and government itself as the problem and not the solution. Today’s Trumpian Republicans will never collaborate with Democrats, and they are winning.

Democrats like Ashford long for the days when Americans once worked together and embraced progressive ideas for the common good. Teddy Roosevelt’s National Parks, Ike’s NASA and Interstate Highways, Kennedy’s race to the moon, LBJ’s Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Nixon’s EPA, and ACA/Obamacare; SEC, FCC, USDA, CFPB, FDA, CDC, NOAA, FEMA, TVA.

All that big government: bridges, dams, tunnels, seaports, lighthouses, Amtrak, power grid, satellites, cleaner air and water; free public schools, police departments, life-saving fire departments and EMTs; Social Security and Medicare, VA, and SNAP (food stamps, best thing ever happened to American farmers).

Sadly, Ashford’s notion that such collaboration is still possible is just dangerous for our democracy. While he may imagine Republicans will come to their senses and remember where they left their self-respect, honor, and political courage, progressive Democrats must go to work. They must fulfill their promises that government can still get important things done for everyone. This means saving American democratic government for future generations too.

Jim Boucher, Valley


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