There are always 2 sides to every story and most times there are more than just two. But recently the discussion around respect, Constitutional Rights, patriotism and love of country has lost sight of the fact that the American story is NOT monolithic. It is a broad and diverse story that has evolved over time to include people of all races, creeds, colors, ethnicities and national origins. The history of America includes the forging of great aspirational dreams and vision. But it also includes a legacy that is steeped in oppression, racism, terrorism and the attempted destruction of entire groups of people based on their race, religion, national origin and sexual identity. That too is a part of the American story.
We have a Declaration of Independence and Constitution that was intended to include specific types of people and to exclude others. Wars have been waged to challenge the foundations upon which this nation was built, and entire Movements have been constructed to hold America to account for the platitudes she espouses and the values she claims define her character. Freedom in this nation has been birthed out of STRUGGLE and out of PROTEST. Many people gave up their lives in the fight for justice and equality for all people. And yet, today there are those who want to thwart and denigrate the very spirit of protest that has defined the American Dream and is enshrined within her foundational documents, simply because they disagree. The American story that they have lived doesn’t require challenge or protest. For “these privileged people” the story of America is different. They have ALWAYS been a part of this “America” from its very foundation. They have never been part of the excluded, the disenfranchised, and the oppressed. No. That has NEVER been their STORY in America. So those for whom America, its flag and its National Anthem hold only sacred and positive intonations and celebrate, without question, an “American Exceptionalism” that many have yet to experience and others have only had partial or conditional access to, DO NOT understand why everyone cannot “Respect OUR country and Our flag.” They cannot SEE why these protestors Do NOT have the perspective of the flag, the anthem or of America herself that their privileged position and always-included status have had. They only see ONE side of the story, their side.
Peaceful protest is foundational to our 1st amendment rights as citizens of this nation. Injustice and inequality in a nation that champions “equal justice under the law” MUST be challenged when it does not distribute that justice equally. This nation owes its African American citizens a debt that has never been paid. We will NOT settle for less than what is due. Our story is NOT your story but for you to understand our protest, you MUST acknowledge OUR story because it is inextricably bound to the American story and the Dream of Justice for ALL. #takeaknee