by Jacob Condo, Staff Writer
Our right to protest defines us as a nation, and there is no better indicator of what’s going on in our national psyche than what we’re rallying against. However, the media’s responses to said protests reveal even more.
Just last month, Colin Kaepernick protested police brutality against American citizens by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Judging by the public blowback, you’d think he’d set the flag on fire. People were demanding he be kicked out of the NFL, thrown in jail, or killed.
Rape and assault are apparently okay, but god forbid you sit down for the national anthem: that would be wrong.
With the hypocrisy of the NFL aside, it’s all pointless. There is literally no law stating that you or anyone else who isn’t part of the military has to do anything at all during the national anthem. Probably because we don’t live in North Korea.
Kaepernick, like every United States citizen, has the right to freedom of speech and protest. This nation was founded on protest and revolution, and we wouldn’t be fulfilling our civic duties if we didn’t protest the things going on our country that need to change.
Anyone can salute to a flag and recite an oath with creepy devotion to the government it represents. Any one of us can say we love our country. It takes true patriots to stand up to our government in order to make our country a better place for the people living in it.
When presented with situations like this, questions on morality begin to arise, and people start to wonder if perhaps taking a stand against their countries practices might in fact be patriotism in itself.
When all is said and done, this whole media frenzy is just odd. When you actually consider the situation from an outsider’s perspective, it’s just a guy sitting down. So why all the hubbub? After all, some other things going on actually do matter, and the media coverage has been minimal.
While we debated whether or not some football player should sit during a song, the Pentagon announced that it lost $6.5 trillion in taxpayer dollars. It’s all just gone. Nobody on major news stations or presidential candidates seems to care.
The Department of Defense says it has no idea where all that money went, because they aren’t properly keeping their books.
Make any argument you want about the price of security, but the Pentagon is spending a ridiculously huge amount of it on god-knows-what and we’re the ones who foot the bill. So where the hell is all of our money?
People aren’t paying attention to the missing money, or the people killed by police, or the fact that the laws we set down as a nation are being ignored and our people are suffering. It’s partly because of unprofessional journalism, and deliberate omission.
It’s a problem that’s been plaguing our society for decades, and hasn’t gotten better. Instead of investigating what the hell is going on in this country, we get the same sensationalist idiocy every week.
Whether it’s some celebrity flashing her breasts or some guy sitting down during the national anthem, or Donald Drumpf said something mind-bogglingly insane again, it’s all stuff that should be taking a back seat compared to things going on which actually affect this country.
Take for example the current issues with the Standing Rock Tribe, and their fight against a pipeline project which could endanger millions of people who depend on the river it’s set to go over.
If you don’t quite know what I’m talking about, that’s understandable. After all, major news sources like CNN and Fox News have seemingly nothing to say about it.
People in their thousands from all over the country joined in a peaceful protest against the construction of an oil pipeline that was planned to go straight over the Missouri River, just above where it enters the reservation and supplies the drinking water for seventeen million people.
Naturally, nobody living on the reservation was very happy about this, and the protest has been picking up support and followers for months in their stand against big oil. Despite losing a court case and being attacked with tear gas and dogs by private security, they stood their ground.
Luckily, the powers that be have decided to intervene.
In a joint statement, the Army, Department of Justice, and Interior Department halted construction of the Dakota Access pipeline near Lake Oahe. While construction is at a standstill, the Army will be checking whether or not it’s environmentally sound to build in the area.
While this is great news, the people who’ve been standing in the pipeline’s way are still out there protesting. Just because the pipeline was stopped in one place doesn’t mean they’re not going to try and build in other sections of the reservation. So, the fight goes on.
While it’s a victory for protest movements, I still find it odd that such a massive movement (in fact, a historic moment, considering the US Government says it wants tribal government input) has very little coverage by major news outlets.
Here we have government action to the aid of protestors, and nobody has anything to say about it. They aren’t the only group being swept under the rug by any means.
People in Flint, Michigan, are still relying on donated water, and there are still people who are attacked or killed by cops. Remember those troops people complained Kaepernick was disrespecting? Yeah, they’re still at war in a situation that can only be called insane.
But by all means, let’s focus on yet another dumb thing Donald Drumpf blurted out, or why Hillary is the Anti-Christ and how Obama is a Muslim who wants your guns. It’s all very good television, but the fact is that there are more important things going on.
We’ve got people on the ground fighting for our water, our lands, and our civil liberties, and all major media can muster-up is criticism about how this-or-that group is privileged, or whining.
There never seems to be any real conversation about why these people are upset, and why these things are allowed to happen. Our journalists have a responsibility to the truth and to the welfare of this country.
Instead of a petty bunch of sensationalists, we need more people in news media (and frankly our government) who are patriotic enough to realize that it’s not the flags or the laws that need protecting: it is the people.