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GUEST COLUMNIST: Kneeling to make America great

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Greyson Oswalt-Smith, guest columnist

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a guest columnist for Rome News-Tribune

 Mr. President, why must you concern yourself with the petty passion of the people? This disturbs me more than anything else in the NFL controversy. As the President of the United States, you must focus on issues that are endangering the lives of others with deliberate speed and dispatch. Among other problems needed to be addressed, Puerto Rico is still in need of aid, yet you spend your energy targeting peaceful protests.

Mr. President, I insist you read the Federalist Papers, they lay out the United States Presidency and the Executive Branch. One attribute of the presidency that is written is the length of presidential terms set at four years. This was no arbitrary number! It was selected because the president must be detached from the passions of the people, yet still be cognizant of the political realm. This means the president will have political ambitions and want to run again to become re-elected. The president must make unpopular decisions sometimes, the four year terms buys the president time to cozy back up to his constituents.

Have you not noticed that representatives in the House of Representatives, serving two years, are most impulsive? We have had a representative call for the President’s removal while there is a special investigation underway. It was purely political. He knew it wouldn’t work. Representatives would call for Hillary Clinton’s imprisonment over and over, even after several congressional investigations and hearings. All these investigations concluded with no recommendation of charges to be pressed, yet they pursued it. These representatives heard their constituents and fed them with empty actions. They are impulsive because their term length forces them to constantly listen and act on the people’s passions. If the representatives do not bend to the passions of the people, we see another 2010 Tea Party takeover of the House of Representatives.

On the other side of the fence is the United States Senate. There is a reason it has been continuously named the most deliberative body in the world. With term lengths of six years, they may be deliberative. They may look at facts, statistics and history when deciding issues and implementing policy. The Senate is by no means immune to politics, they must run and regain the trust of the people like any other political individual. They also have those that have less than pure intentions. Still and still, senators have many years they may deliberate with prudence and wisdom.

I understand the people being fueled by the kneeling and it capturing a large audience through the media; however, anyone with a high school education understands it is protected by the First Amendment. Mr. President, have you not noticed that not a single senator has brought the issue up once? It is a petty dispute fueled by the people’s passions, and a response is not befitting a senator. A response is not befitting the president either. Mr. President, you are no statesman!

Snowflakes, those who are offended at kneeling, what are your arguments? They don’t stand. Let’s be clear, those who wish for players to be fired because they refuse to greet a flag and anthem with pride and those who promote the involuntary praising and salutation to a national flag and song are wishing to degrade the First Amendment and are currently changing the presidency. Those who want the petty passions of the people in the White House, this is for you.

The First Amendment protects the right of freedom of speech. If burning the flag is seen by the Supreme Court as protected speech, how is kneeling not? What do you want? You act as though a weekend boycott will do anything. Do you wish for a state with mandatory praising of the flag and anthem? Do you wish for the First Amendment to dissipate into the darkness in which all forgotten rights and freedoms are condemned?

I signed that contract, that blank check that confirmed my love of country. I swore on the oath many before me have swore on. An oath to uphold the Constitution. Those who have done the same understand that these rights are to be protected, not degraded. When I used to see a flag being burnt, I would wince. When I used to see a flag being disrespected, I shuddered. When I used to see people kneel for the anthem, I would roll my eyes in annoyance. Now, my eyes have been opened after the NFL incident. I realized that it was not a protest against the United States, but institutional racism.

Institutional racism is what is being protested, and it is being mistaken as a protest against the United States and its values. Isn’t it funny that the two are intertwined so much so that they are nearly unrecognizable?

One may ask where my passion comes from to address an issue so aggressively. I answer that the president is inept and a danger to the First Amendment. The president must not address these silly disputes among the people, he must govern.

We have poisonous water in Flint, a natural disaster in Puerto Rico, North Korea and Afghanistan to be concerned about to name a few. The president calling for the firing of private citizens for their beliefs and display of beliefs is intolerable and terrifying. This is a direct threat to the First Amendment and the power of the presidency. Is this the end of the First Amendment? Does a river erode a riverbank in an instance? No. This is the potential beginning of an eroding of the First Amendment. How to stop this? Demand the president respect the Constitution and act as a true statesmen, not meddle in petty passions of the people.

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a political science major at Kennesaw State University who plans on going to law school. He enjoys being politically involved locally, and serves on the Sara Hightower Board of Trustees. He may be reached at