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Tirade on players shows Trump’s flawed thinking

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tirade on players shows Trump’s flawed thinking

I am a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and I am a supporter of the professional athletes whom Donald Trump has been vilifying on Twitter.

I served in the military to protect the rights of all our citizens, which are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution.

Mr. Trump, since he began his run for the White House, has been undermining our freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. According to him, everything he doesn’t like written about him is either a lie or “fake news”. This is a direct assault on the basis of our democracy. If people want to be angry, they should direct it at the real threat to our society, Mr. Trump.

We have serious issues facing our country, such as North Korean nuclear weapons, hurricane disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, but our president focuses on pro athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Where are his priorities?

Finally I would like to clarify one thing, the U.S. code of etiquette on the national anthem says persons should stand, not must stand. For all of those fans who sit in front of their TVs or at their favorite bars, you should also stand when the anthem is played; if you don’t, you are being disrespectful, too.

Dennis Opritza, Canfield

Kneeling during anthem violates law of the land

Kneeling during the playing of our national anthem violates federal law.

Title 36 United States Code Section 301 clearly states: During a rendition of the national anthem –

(1) when the flag is displayed-

(A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and

(C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart …”

No one is above the law, including professional athletes.

Timothy J. Grendell, Chardon

Grendell is the probate/juvenile court judge of Geauga County. He also is a former state senator and state representative.

Protest by NFL players is sign of national distress

Several years ago, Tim Tebow takes a knee to bring attention to what he believes needs addressed in our society. And gets praised. Colin Kaepernick is also a Christian who believes deeply in prayer. With the urging of teammate Eric Reid and advice of former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, Kaepernick, too, takes a knee to bring attention to what he believes to be a serious problem facing America. He is castigated. I may be wrong about this, but the struggle between intellectual consistency and hypocrisy has raised its ugly head.

The problem that came out of the enslavement and exploitation of Africans, a problem that caused 600,000 Americans to die in a civil war, a problem that caused near memorialization of second-class citizenship, a problem often forced on society by racist sentiment and white supremacy and too often ignored. T hat problem may now be faced in its entirety.

A flag at half staff is a symbol of distress. Not standing tall but kneeing during the national anthem is not necessarily disrespectful. In this instance it is a sign of distress. Though professional athletes are there to entertain us they are not just entertainers. They are also citizens with every right to call attention to what they believe to be social shortcomings in their nation. And making a million dollars has nothing to do with it. Nothing like sports to focus American attention.

Having served in the Marines, in 1961 I failed to get back in as a sergeant to go to Vietnam as one of the advisers President Kennedy had proposed as being needed there at that time. A year later a book on foreign policy started me down a different path. I came to oppose that war. I have two sons. Bud is an army veteran, and John is a journalist who spent nearly five years in Afghanistan covering that war and went to Ukraine in 2014 to cover what had begun there.

In other words, I’m a patriot and I raised my family to love this country. But today I find it hard to believe the sycophantic behavior of some followers of this president, a president who avoided serving in the military, who practices international relations as a bully, diversion as a fall-back tactic, lying straight to your face as a major strategy and patriotism on the cheap. Quite likely, though, he’ll succeed in making citizens like me to blame and behavior like that of Kaepernick despicable even though it’s what makes America great.

John C. Wendle, Youngstown

Kneeling athletes set poor example for youth

I am so angry at these NFL, NBA, MLB players who cannot stand up for this flag. I agree with PresidentTrump. What would they do in the upcoming Olympics? Not stand up for the country that they are representing?

I am thoroughly disgusted with this. Yeah! I don’t agree with Trump on some items such as immigration. Yes, you have the right, but to do it in front of the whole country is disgusting.

Yes, the First Amendment gives us the right to stand up for our rights but to do it on such a large scale? Who’s going to go to these sporting events now? I sure as heck won’t.

Why even have somebody sing the national anthem if nobody is going to stand up and honor those people who rose this flag during war. I am so disappointed in these sports figures.

So what if you don’t like the president; it’s still an honor to go to the White House. What kind of example are these athletes setting for young people?

Cindy Kramer, Youngstown

US flag also protects citizens’ right to protest

Our flag is a beau- tiful and enduring symbol of our country, our God-given freedoms and the men and women who died protecting these freedoms. As a symbol of freedom, it should be honored and respected.

Our founding fathers, realizing how important these freedoms were, put them in writing for future generations. In the very First Amendment, they spoke of the freedom of expression. They realized that the freedom of expression is only valuable when it protects things we don’t want to hear in ways that we may not appreciate.

That is the interesting paradox of our flag. The flag that stands for freedom is the same flag that demands a person be allowed to express his or her beliefs and peacefully protest what he or she sees as injustice even if it means doing so in ways we may disagree. To only allow people to express ideas we agree with, in ways that we like, is truly no freedom at all.

To paraphrase a quote “I disagree with what you say and your actions, but I will defend to my death your right to do so.”

Our president should know this, since it is his sworn oath to protect those freedoms. He should not be referring to someone who exercised their God-given right with words that should not be used outside of a kennel.

Remember our flag stands for freedom, and when we protect the exercise of freedoms for others, even if we disagree with them, that is when we truly show respect for both our flag and country.

Daniel Simcox, Columbiana