This has been a fascinating year filled with surprises in the United States, and the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump is certainly a highlight. On Sept. 24, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives of Congress, announced the beginning of an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. This is only the fourth time Congress has gone through with this type of inquiry with a United States President. AP Government teacher Chris Yoder said, “The other three presidents who seriously faced impeachment include Andrew Johnson, who came one vote short of removal in the Senate, Richard Nixon, who resigned before the impeachment process in the House was over, and Bill Clinton who was impeached but not voted out of office in the Senate.” Keep Reading
The San Francisco 49ers faced off against the former San Diego Chargers in a preseason exhibition game on Sept. 1, 2016.
As usual, before kickoff, players, coaches, referees and fans stood for the national anthem. But out of the 68,500 people in Levi Stadium that participated in the singing of the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick, the former starting quarterback for the 49ers, took a knee. Naturally, the sports world was shaken by Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem honoring our country’s soldiers, flag and independence.
Kaepernick later explained to NFL reporters that he took a knee during the anthem as a way to peacefully protest the shooting of unarmed African Americans and the police brutality that they have endured. Although this was a legitimate explanation, it would still be an unending reservoir of conversation that would continue for the duration of the 2016 NFL season through the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.
Now that the NFL season has begun anew, the topic of kneeling during the national anthem has resurfaced. Several NFL players such as Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Von Miller and LeSean McCoy have joined Kaepernick in his protest.
After the conclusion of the third week of this new NFL season, President Donald Trump addressed the subject that began over a year ago at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama for the campaign of Senator Luther Strange. During the rally, President Trump addressed a litany of topics and issues including the increase in NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. However, due to the president’s display of foul language and lack of a vocabulary, reporters were unable to fully disclose what he said.
On Sept. 23, Trump posted on Twitter and said, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Trump would post another 16 tweets to bolster his opposition of this topic including a tweet that stated that the NFL’s ratings are “way down” not only because the players are kneeling during the national anthem, but he also attributed the low ratings to boring games. Because of this comment, there has been tremendous backlash between the office of the President and the National Football League. These repercussions include a great upsurge of players kneeling during the national anthem.
Now, there are well over 200 documented players that take a knee during the national anthem, not to mention entire teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys that lock arms during the singing of the anthem. In the case of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans, players opted not to take the field during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” These teams as well as several others, are choosing to make a stand for something that they believe in, yet they are being condemned and ridiculed by the president.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said, “I think we have to celebrate their right to express themselves, as every American does.”
President Trump is opposed to players kneeling because he believes that it is a clear discourtesy of the flag and the veterans who risked their lives to protect the freedom of the citizens of the United States. Thus, he stated that the “league should back the U.S,” implying that the NFL should align their policies with country.
What the President doesn’t realize is the fact that the American armed forces and veterans fight in order to safeguard the rights of the people under the nation’s laws and Constitution. If those rights are infringed upon or aren’t being exercised, then the sacrifices of those who are in the military lose their importance. Knowing this, many veterans and soldiers support NFL players in their protest, because it means that the veterans were successful in protecting the rights of the American people.
John Middlemas, a 97-year-old World War II veteran said, “Those kids have a right to protest.” So, if veterans of this nation who have actually engaged in combat are in support of individuals voicing their opinions and exercising their First Amendment right, then why does President Trump have an issue with it? It poses the question, who is really attempting to disrespect and suppress those who are utilizing their rights? Are the players of the NFL at fault for simply making a stand against the evident racial divide and violence, or is it President Trump for attempting to subdue the players’ right to protest?
Due to the popularity of football and its amusing digital counterpart, fantasy football, this topic is prevalent in the Wesleyan community.
Senior Holt Cochran said, “The players that are kneeling during the national anthem are nonviolently protesting a social justice issue. They are using their platform as celebrities in a sport that is a huge part of our culture to express their views on police brutality and discrimination against minorities, an issue they believe needs more attention. It is within their constitutional right to kneel for the national anthem, because they are exercising their freedom of speech.”
The world needs more people who are willing to openly profess their personal views. The players who are publicly making a statement in spite of what the fans, officials or even the President believe are the people who act as the voice for the voiceless.
Two months ago, it was impossible to avoid campaign ads if you were anywhere near the 6th district. Everywhere you went it seemed you couldn’t escape this election. No matter where you would go, you’d be bombarded with the sound of campaign ads, phone calls and whatever else they could throw at you. Why was this one election so important compared to the rest of the local elections?
This election was so vital because it would be indicative of what the next four years of life in the United States would be like. Jon Ossoff represented change and the ability for Democrats to oppose what they don’t support in Trump. He hoped to flip the historically Republican 6th District and set an example for the rest of the country to follow.
This past 2016-17 school year was one to remember. Take a trip down memory lane as the Green & Gold staff looks back at some of the most memorable events of the year!
August: The Rio Olympics was a huge success for the United States, with 46 gold medals, 37 silver medals and 38 bronze medals. The 2016 Summer Olympics also featured countless historic and memorable moments such as gymnast Simone Biles’ breakout performace with the “Final Five” women’s gymnastics team and Michael Phelps’ final Olympic Games and record breaking accumulation of his 23rd gold medal. On Aug. 8, Freshmen and Seniors ventured to Carolina Point for the pre-school Freshman Retreat. New students were introduced to Wesleyan culture and get to know new friends and peer leaders. Keep Reading
Wesleyan offered an opportunity to Wesleyan students this semester; to experience the inauguration in person. Most people do not get the chance to do this in their lifetime, and Wesleyan students were able to experience it in their high school. Wesleyan worked with an organization called Close-Up, which offers weekly trips to Washington D.C. to learn about the capital and the history of this nation. Wesleyan sent 16 students on the trip. Chris Yoder, AP Government teacher, and Ted Russell, the history chair, went on the trip as well. Keep Reading