Taking a Knee: Ignorance is NOT Bliss 


Olivia Wieseler, Opinion Editor

Emotions have been running high these past few weeks.  The whole country feels tense, waiting for the slightest conflict to set everything off again.

The “Take a Knee” movement has circulated a whirlwind of opinions ranging from subtle comments, to hostile threats.  The division in this nation is overwhelming, and needs repair.  People need to realize that there are better, more respectful ways to have their voices heard.  By kneeling at the flag, people are poorly communicating what they stand, or kneel, for.

As far as I know, the whole point of the “Take a Knee” movement is to peacefully protest racial discrimination.  While there is nothing wrong with the reason for this protest and its peaceful nature, there is something wrong with the actual action of it.

Kneeling at the flag sends the wrong message to many people, especially those who have fought and served our country for the very freedoms they are trying to express.  By kneeling at the flag, people send a message of disrespect to our nation’s veterans and soldiers.  I realize that this is not the intended message, but unfortunately, that is the message that people are receiving.  Unless someone explains the point of the kneeling, no person who is not a part of the movement can really understand the exact reasoning behind the protest, so they assume it has something to do with disrespecting the flag, the country, and those who have fought to protect it.

At least, that’s what it looks like.

This ignorance of the implications the “Take a Knee” movement demonstrates is the fact that these people do not fully understand the hidden connotation of our right to free speech.  Yes, it is true that free speech means you can speak freely however, whenever, and wherever you want.  Nevertheless, it does not mean you should.

Our forefathers did not give us our freedoms for us to do as we please, but to give us the choice to speak up when it is necessary.  People need to understand that just because they have the freedom to do what they want, does not mean that they should actually do it.  As the cliché saying goes, “There is a time and place for everything.”

At the flag during the national anthem is not the place or time to be kneeling.  Instead, people need to find a new and different way to call for change in our country.

But what change are they looking for exactly?  After someone explained to me that the “Take a Knee” movement was to protest racial discrimination, and that they planned to keep doing it until they saw a change, I immediately wondered, what change?

Do they want new laws? New government officials? New government system?  What change do they think will happen when people see them kneeling at the flag?  So far, the only change that I’ve seen is our country has become more divided than ever, and that is a change we don’t need.  This is the final major problem with this movement: once people do know what it is for, what do you want them to do about it?  Don’t get me wrong, I get it.  I get that there is so much injustice in this world and in this country, but to continue an action that has so many people on edge, for a movement that can’t really bring a tangible change to our country, is just unnecessary.

The only way to bring any change is to work towards peace and understanding among all races, nationalities, genders, ethnicities, cultures—among ALL people.  And I think that is something that ALL people need to work on.  It is something that both sides of this conflict need to do.  Instead of sowing hate and intolerance, we need to try to work together and to understand one another.  If I’ve learned anything from this movement, I’ve learned that there is a lot of hate in this world, and we need to do more than protest.

We need to set examples, and be loving towards each other, especially those we disagree with the most.

We are meant to be the UNITED States of America.  Let’s stand together united, instead of divided.

To view an alternative viewpoint, written by Contributing Writer, Alyssa Parker, click here.