Tag Archives: protests

The 1st Amendment in Danger from the World of Sports

Baltimore Ravens players kneel during the National Anthem – photo from ABC News

For some time now there has been a great deal of controversy in the National Football League (NFL) over players taking a knee during the National Anthem. Started by Colin Kapernick in protest of the many of African Americans that were and are being killed by police officers, it is a form of protest that has gain a lot of traction and has since gain national attention thanks to the twitter rants of our so called President, Mr. Trump. Trump has even gone so far as to suggest that any NFL player who takes a knee should be fired. Unfortunately, this idea has also gained some traction.

There has been talk among the members of the NFL of actually making it a rule that all players must stand during the National Anthem, or else be fired. This is in blatant disregard of the player’s 1st Amendment rights to peaceful protest and it shows just how far people are willing to go to enforce their own ideals on people and to ignore the racist and dehumanizing treatment that African Americans and other people of color face in this country. Here’s the thing, the reason why players are taking a knee is to protest the treatment of African Americans in this country, not to disrespect the flag, or the troops, or what it is supposed symbolizes, but many people want to draw attention away from the real issue and make a big fiasco out of the actual act, so no one will pay attention to the real issue. The people who are angry at the players, like Trump is, are more concerned with a piece of cloth then with the lives of actual human beings.

There is nothing special about this piece of fabric. The patriotism, values, and freedoms it represents are not magically imbued into it nor does it go away if it gets disrespected. It is funny how so many people get so angry and lose their minds over a piece of cloth and their own self-absorbed beliefs, but black children and adults can get systematically murdered, abused, and discriminated against but they don’t bat an eye. Instead, they rather hyper fixate on the players taking a knee and impose a rule of forced patriotism. Except, it is not patriotism. When patriotism is forced and you take away the rights of the people to protest, it is not patriotism, that is called fascism.

Make America violent again?

Wherever Donald Trump goes, trouble seems to follow. He’s the type of man who brings out the worst in people. He succeeds by taking advantage of the uneducated people, the ones who believe it’s okay to oppress a group of people based on fear, the ones who want to build a wall because they think it will improve the American lifestyle, the ones who are okay with a man who continuously says derogatory things to women and minorities. However, the people who disagree with these beliefs aren’t afraid to say so, to protest and riot against Donald Trump’s rallies is the only way they know how to stop him from becoming the next president of the United States.

Is Trump the real deal? Or just a joke? Graphic from Pinterest
Is Trump the real deal? Or just a joke? Graphic from Pinterest

On Friday, March 11, Donald Trump postponed a rally in Chicago because of “fights between supporters and demonstrators, protests in the streets and concerns that the environment at the event was no longer safe.” I wish I could have asked Mr. Trump why he thought that the anger and the riots occurred, because he obviously doesn’t see that behind every single riot or protestings at his rallies, stands Mr. Trump and his bigotry.

Protesters attended the Chicago rally in attempts to shut it down, to “Stump Trump,” and obviously, they succeeded, which caused Trump to cancel it, leaving all supporters and protesters to fend for themselves. He fled, leaving the Chicago PD to clean up the anger, frustration, and unanswered questions. Trump also has a reputation of throwing people out of his rallies, whether or not they are actually protesting or not. At Valdosta State University, a group of black students wearing all black in a silent protest at one of Trump’s rallies, was kicked out for no reason. They were standing silently at their own gym, not causing any issues, but were forced to leave anyway. This is when Trump’s antics have gone too far, where he is taking away people’s right to protest, especially when they are peaceful about it.

There is potential for Trump to prevent violent protests like the one in Chicago, if he were to simply answer people’s questions, have actual conversations with the American people, and listen instead of preach, repeat the same topics over and over again, and say things that he knows will get a reaction from people. He’s made himself to entertainment and a source of mockery, when he could have made a name for himself in the political world, with real issues and real passion behind them. Trump thrives on the violence and anger because it gives him more publicity. He doesn’t want to make America great again. He wants to make American violent again.

Trump: He’s just like us, only richer and much more orange

**Disclaimer- This article was written before Mr. Trump’s visit to Radford University **

Donald Trump is coming to Radford on Monday and you could say that I’m just a little bit excited. Although Radford was his last choice, it’s still makes us here at little RU feel very special.

With the primary on Tuesday, it makes sense as to why Mr. Trump would want to come down here. It was a smart choice for him to come, with Radford being surrounded by towns that are largely populated with right wing conservatives.

Although Trump used to be a publically known democrat, his run as a republican candidate has done nothing but great things for the businessman. He seems right at home with his extreme stance on immigration and nationalistic views, however new they may be.

Image from salon.com
Trump may look like an Oompa Loompa, but he doesn’t act like one. Image from salon.com

I’ve never been to see a presidential candidate speak before so I’m very excited to see what topics Trump covers as well as how the crowd reacts to him. I know, from the people that I’ve talked to, that most people here at Radford don’t particularly like him.

With most college campuses being liberal, it’s understandable as to why the students here don’t appreciate or respect his viewpoint. I can expect there to be a multitude of protests occurring, hopefully non-violent ones, expressing their distaste for Trump’s blatant sexism and racism. However, I, like some other of my friends, are going because we want to see what he has to say, how he reacts to protesters, and how he chooses to talk to the younger generations, the ones who have a big impact on the election.

With Trump being the big deal that he is, I’m excited to see all of the secret service agents surround him, the dramatic precautions that happen when protecting a man with so much money and power. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not he decides to make a pitstop at Starbucks or the Radford theatre.

Whether or not you agree with Trump or his views, this opportunity could potentially be a once in a lifetime event, and should be taken advantage of.

Hate breeds hate and we can make a change

As many of you may have noticed, Radford had a very vocal visitor this past week. This visitor has said a lot of hateful things to anyway unlucky enough to walk past him. He’s made students cry, he’s made them shout, he’s made some of them laugh, and made a few so angry they become incapable of moving, because the only move they’d make would be to run up and punch him. It’s true that the crowd formed around him may seem jovial, mostly because of the signs held by those who stand next to him, but if you look more closely you can see the tension his hurtful words cause.

Protesters preaching hate on Radford campus
Protesters preaching hate on Radford campus. Graphic from WN

Hate breeds hate, and from what I saw on Wednesday those rallies were one wrong word away from becoming full blown riots. But where does all that hate come from? What could possibly drive someone to shout out racial slurs and condemn whole groups of people to Hell because of the color of their skin? Or to insult a student’s deceased father? It’s not something that you decide to do overnight. Hate must be taught, and unfortunately it’s a very difficult thing to forget.

So what can we do? Not just at Radford, but in our lives and in our futures, what can we do? The answer is simple, we stop teaching hate. We can’t help the generations that came before us, but we can protect those that will follow. Instead of practicing hate we can practice love and compassion. Leave the hateful be, because they have nothing to say that’s worth listening to. When we react out of anger, the hatred only grows.

So next time you see someone preaching hate, do your best to ignore them and walk on by. It won’t be easy, but if you can let your anger go, that hatred will die. Eventually, and I mean in the very distant future, there may even come a time when the idea of someone spending five hours telling college students that their choice in clothing will send them to Hell will be nothing more than a weird story grandparents like to tell. Something on par with “I used to walk ten miles up a hill in the snow every day to get to class.”

So stand strong, and stand together, because we are a powerful generation, and we can end hatred.

Occupy Wall Street is changing history one city at a time

Occupy Wall Street protest. Photo from Creative Commons.

Occupy Wall Street has taken over the United States. The movement is protesting on Wall Street, as well as 180 other cities, to end our economic crisis. People of all ages paraded around with signs telling us to “Wake up!” and “Tear down this Wall St.”

This is the type of political involvement America needs. Unlike the stigma many media personalities and politicians are giving them, these are not just young, ignorant, hippie students; these are the people affected most from the economic downturn. Teachers who pay more taxes than CEOs, 80-year-olds who can’t afford to retire, college graduates who remain unemployed and single parents working multiple jobs to keep food on the table.

The protestors claim to have been inspired by the Arab Spring to try to change America’s economic course. Demonstration leaders have used social media, word of mouth and sheer manpower to expand the scope of the protests. Protesting by the youth of the nation isn’t happening in just America. Reports of protesting in England, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and several other Middle Eastern countries have been in the news regularly due to the world’s economic crisis.

But the movement has come under fire for not having a clear goal that is completely understandable. If you’re going to camp out in the streets of New York City, you should probably know what you’re fighting for. But I don’t think it’s their lack of goals, it’s their vast amount of ideals and lack of leadership.

Photo from Creative Commons.

If you read their Declaration of Occupation, there are 21 complaints made about corporate America. Each one of these complaints is legitimate if you ask me, but they’re so vague the protestors have a hard time pinpointing one cause they’re marching for. These complaints have no formal list of demands, which makes them seem disorganized and noncohesive. The movement needs a specific creed as to what they’re opposing. For critics, “corporate greed” just isn’t a good enough answer.

This is where a strong leader is needed. The Civil Rights movement had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Women’s Rights movement had Gloria Steinam and the Anti-Vietnam War movement had Bob Dylan. I believe someone needs to step up and lead these people if they are going to succeed. A hindrance of this might be that the Occupy Wall Street movement itself is supposed to be a true democratic organization with everybody contributing equally, but they need a leader with the political know-how.

Occupy Wall Street has the potential to make history. Many people are likening these protests to those of the 1960s, and I can’t describe how thrilled I am to have this happen in my lifetime. With the economic calamities and environmental impact careless and selfish politicians and corporations our generation has witnessed, it’s about time we do something about it.

Photo from Creative Commons.

There is going to be opposition, but I hope these people don’t give up. There are critics of every movement: the abolitionists were jailed, suffragists were ignored and civil rights leaders were murdered. Those downsides to change are worth it for the generations to come. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”