American flag is ‘more than our colors’

President Donald Trump is railing against those athletes who are kneeling during the National Anthem and the display of colors. He is ignoring the fact that they are doing so as a peaceful protest against police treatment of people of color.

Trump clearly has no understanding of the U.S. Constitution which he swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend.” In this particular case the First Amendment protects the right of people to free speech and peaceful demonstration. Kneeling as a protest before the flag is a powerful visual symbol and certainly is “speech,” whereas money used to buy elections most certainly does not fit the speech definition.

Our Great Divider doesn’t know or support the Constitution or respect the rule of law as shown by his total disregard of the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution. This clause was put in to protect the United States from corrupting foreign influences. In Trump’s case he is making millions from foreign countries and foreign diplomats who attempt to garner influence by renting from Trump hotels and doing business with other Trump financial entities.

Several constitutional amendments, specifically the 15th, 19th and 26th, protect voting rights, yet our president has established a commission, the Election Integrity Commission, which seems established to specifically deny the right to vote, and especially targeting minority and poor people.

Congress passed a statute prohibiting nepotism after Kennedy appointed his brother to the position of Attorney General. Donald Trump’s top advisors in the White House are his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and his daughter, Ivanka. Where is the rule of law?

Now the flag which these athletes are kneeling before is more than our colors. It’s an expression of our cherished American values. These are things like a handshake and your word serving as a contract, respecting all and various religions and embracing immigrants and diversity.

The National Anthem was written during the bombardment of Fort McHenry when dawn’s early light celebrated our flag, battered, but still flying—a proud moment in a battle against America’s enemies. In Trump’s case, he is trying every trick in the book to counter the investigation of Russia’s war against America’s free elections, and god only knows what else. He is known to have stood in the Oval Office of the White House and given the Russians classified and top secret information. These acts in my opinion are deplorable and even treasonous. How can it hurt to conduct a thorough investigation of Russian meddling?

The protest by the NFL players and other athletes is a courageous display of patriotism in a country being torn apart by a divisive president who’s narcissistic and racist values will taint this country and people and, yes, our future generations, sadly perhaps forever.

Ann Ruhnka