Protesters love their country

To the editor:

In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen Republicans and President Trump become very angry about NFL players protesting the national anthem because of injustices in this country. Specifically, it began as a protest by one player, Colin Kaepernick, expressing anger and disappointment at the number of police shootings of often unarmed black people.

I’m not saying I agree with this type of protest. I’m also not saying I don’t completely disagree. The objection to the protest is usually the same — “What about the troops?” “What about the veterans?” — and that it’s “disrespectful.” I can’t say the word that I really want to say in such a reputable newspaper, but that’s hogwash. After all, did any football players taunt John McCain for being a prisoner of war, saying “I prefer heroes who weren’t captured?” Did they talk about how our military is a “disaster” or “a joke?” Did they brag that they “know more than the generals?” All of those statements were made by our president, a man who dodged the draft because of “bone spurs” and, when asked which foot had the bone spurs, could not remember. Bear in mind, these things weren’t even said to make any political point or to protest anything. They were just meant to be mean. They were meant to disrespect the military and our veterans.

How does he get to be Mr. Patriotism after those slights? How can Republicans still play holier-than-thou about how much they love America, when they voted for someone who degraded our military and actively courted election help from a foreign adversary? This is what irritates me the most about these people — they pick and choose what to be mad about.

If Barack Obama attacked a Gold Star family, they would be irate. If Hillary Clinton had been caught on tape bragging about how she harassed men and enjoys to “grab them by the —–,” it would define her career in their eyes. They’re hypocrites. They check to see if there is an R or a D next to the name before they decide if an action is wrong.

Recently, it was revealed that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have been using private e-mail servers while serving as advisers to the president. After constant relentless attacks on Clinton, surely they couldn’t be so transparent as to not care about this — of course they don’t care. Haven’t you been paying attention? No scandal is scandalous when a Republican was responsible. No action is innocent when a Democrat was in charge.

In the end, it is important to remember what these peaceful protests are about — police brutality and racism. Don’t let anyone re-frame it by trying to turn it into a patriotism competition. The protesters’ love of their country is just as strong as anyone else’s. That’s why they are doing it.

Candace DeStefano

Wintersville

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