I remember a few years back, speaking with a buddy of mine who is big with the local Friends of the NRA about the NRA. I told him I was a little bothered by how it seemed the NRA gave some liberal politicians good grades when we know they’re not really supporters of the Second Amendment. He replied that the NRA is the epitome of a single issue organization. If you support guns, they’ll support you.
I accepted that as fair enough, but that was a few years ago before things got so ugly in American politics.
Now, the NRA is releasing a new commercial seemingly aimed at those who are refusing to stand for the National Anthem within the NFL. The ad features NRA commentator Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL who lost friends to the horrors of war.
“NRA members stand for the flag, and they want the whole country to know it,” says NRA EVP and CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Speaking as a veteran myself, though one with nothing near Raso’s standing, I will continue to stand for the National Anthem regardless of who or what is taking place. I understand why former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick felt the need to kneel, and I’ll be honest. I applaud him for maintaining the courage of his conviction throughout the controversy.
But I can’t help but feel there was a better way.
Men and women of all races have died for this country. They died under that flag. They all saluted during that National Anthem. Each and every one made that sacrifice for the nation that is now being so thoroughly disrespected.
There’s a part of me that wonders if talking about it only empowers it, but that ship has long set sail. It’s out there, it’s being talked about, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle on this one.
Pittsburg Steeler Alejandro Villanueva, a veteran himself, refused to return to the locker room during the National Anthem. He was rebuked by his coach and has since apologized. He shouldn’t have had to. Villaneuva shouldn’t have had to apologize. His teammates should be apologizing to him. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he wished it had been handled differently, and I couldn’t agree more. To push a veteran to stage a protest that he may or may not have agreed with?
Raso, Villaneuva, and I are just three of the millions upon millions of American veterans who stand with pride as a usual thing during the anthem.
We live in a nation where there’s no law against this kind of protest, this kind of disrespect. It’s one of the beautiful things about this nation. Colin Kaepernick and others won’t be rounded up and thrown into prison, nor should they.
However, let me ask these protestors this: What do you hope to change? The discussion isn’t about why Colin Kaepernick knelt, or what others are feeling the need to kneel. No, the discussion is simply about kneeling.
So what’s the goal? What do you hope to accomplish besides dividing the nation even further? Whatever it is, you may want to step back and try again, because nothing good is coming of this.
Instead, all that’s happening is people seeing blatant disrespect of our flag.
Like Dom Raso, I stand.