Every leader of the world faces some form of protest or another. It comes with the job, and since no figure can perfectly fit the role they succeeded in winning, there will always be groups, communities, and opponents to any political career. It is no surprise, then, considering that Trump’s election to the Presidency was a form of protest in itself, that he is suffering so much at the hands of the American public. The man, I’m sure he feels, cannot catch a break.
Last year, Colin Kaepernick used his platform as an NFL star to make known his criticisms of how black citizens of the US are being treated by the police community. During the opening ceremony, Kaepernick knelt when he was expected to stand. In terms of protest, it is as tame, and peaceful, as it can get. Millions saw him do what is now being adopted as a form of protest against Donald Trump: Kaepernick took a knee. In the decision to simply not stand tall for the national anthem, dozens of athletes and artists are peacefully protesting the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency. If he can so brazenly remain passive in the face of Nazi marches and continually disregard and disrespect the minorities of the country he is supposed to represent, how can that man be President in 2017?
No shootings. No assaults. The stars of sport and music and Hollywood are expressing their freedom of speech in a manner that causes no true harm and at the same time has sent ripples throughout their country. Those critical of him continue to take a knee, and in response, Trump has denounced them as sons of bitches, worthy of firing for refusing to show the respect owed to the national anthem, and to the American flag.
A smokescreen. Taking a knee is not in opposition to either the anthem or the flag. It concerns the man who is currently supposed to be the face of the USA, and therefore of the anthem and the flag. To say that taking a knee is to insult the stars and stripes is like believing books are banned to protest printer ink. What Trump despises so much about the protests is his inability to halt them. Images of famous names bringing one knee to the ground are already viral, and every week, more names will be added to the list, and more photos of the occasion will be broadcast, posted, shared and retweeted. When the President’s primary platform is Twitter, he is correct to fear hashtags and images that protest his actions. When the Charlottesville Nazi March went ahead, the images from that went viral, too, and Trump replied with neutrality. Bad people on both sides. When Jemele Hill publicly denounced him as a white supremacist, without flaming tiki and without smashing a vehicle into a crowd, Trump called for ESPN to sack her.
The trouble for Trump is the publicity of the #takeaknee protests. It is the ability for the globe to see these photographs of Pharrell and Kaepernick and Stevie Wonder as they decline to stand for an anthem currently in service to a racist. For as long as the images continue to stockpile, the longer Trump’s position is called into question.