Beto O’Rourke is right, columnist EJ Montini says. National anthem protests aren’t offensive because kneeling is an act of humility.
Diana Payan, The Republic |

Opinion: There’s room in the discussion to disagree with one another and for all of us to remain patriots.

One of the most admired and respected sports figures in Arizona is former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who not only was a great player, but is a great husband, father and citizen.

Last week, Warner used his Twitter account to speak out on the controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

Social media is a fast-paced, fickle medium. It doesn’t allow for much reasoned contemplation.

But that is what Warner was hoping to encourage.

Room for patriots on both sides?

He’d seen a video on Twitter showing Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in that state’s senate race, answering a question about the NFL protests.

O’Rourke was asked if he found such protests disrespectful. After watching O’Rourke’s answer Warner linked to O’Rourke’s comments and tweeted:

O’Rourke was speaking at what appeared to be a campaign town hall event where he took questions. He begins his answer by thanking and paying homage to those who served or are serving in the military.

Then he says, “My short answer is no, I don’t think it’s disrespectful.” Then he gives his “longer answer.” That’s the part Warner tweeted about. He says:

O’Rourke’s answer has gone viral. There is a lot to what he says about how it isn’t only soldiers fighting in foreign wars who fought for American ideals, but Americans – like civil rights activists – who fought (and sometimes died) for those ideals right here.

Lots and lots of people have watched the video of his answer. People that include Kurt Warner, who summed up very well the point O’Rourke was making.

The fight for freedom is internal as well

Our freedoms were forged by soldiers in foreign wars as well as those who risked everything within our country.

Because we are free to express our opinions, any citizen can find the NFL protests offensive.

But un-American?

Actually, they are uniquely, preciously American.

Forget me, how about Antonin Scalia?

I defer in this argument to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose career was, in the words of President Donald Trump, “defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms.”

Scalia said of flag burning, which most people would find WAY more offensive than taking a knee, “If I were king, I would not allow people to go around burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged ? and it is addressed in particular to speech critical of the government. That was the main kind of speech that tyrants would seek to suppress.”



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