Racing giant Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumped into the political fray this week by posting a tweet opposing NASCAR owners who said they’d fire any employees who kneel during the national anthem.
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017
Hundreds of thousands liked his tweet, praising him for pushing back against NASCAR’s “racism” and defying owners who echoed Donald Trump’s call for the National Football League to fire players who disrespect the flag. One of those owners was racing hall of famer Richard Childress, who has been an Earnhardt car owner for years. He said any protest will “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”
“Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in,” he told the Associated Press. “So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.” Owner and fellow Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty agreed, saying any protester who works for him will be fired.
Here’s the problem: Earnhardt’s tweet, and the love-fest that followed, encapsulates everything that’s wrong with these protests. No one has the “right” to protest on his company’s time. The people who are protesting aren’t victims of anything, and many aren’t doing anything to actually help those who have legitimate complaints.
You Got It All Wrong, Dale
Their protest, which focuses on the United States as represented by the flag and the national anthem, dishonors every American, especially if they’re white. These protests should outrage all law-abiding Americans because it collectively—and individually—makes them guilty for something they have not done. Finally, there’s no “revolution” because there’s no “oppression.”
Earnhardt’s quotation of John F. Kennedy is so inappropriate within this context, it’s laughable. Kennedy said this during an economic speech in 1962 directed at Latin America—countries that did not value the principles of freedom and liberty that the United States of America represents, however imperfectly. The president was challenging all “American” nations in the Western Hemisphere to join with the United States to establish democracies that can flourish and influence the world for liberty and equality. The presupposition to Kennedy’s speech was one of American pride and the United States as the shining example other nations should follow.
The quote also speaks to the rights of people to protest without being bullied, intimidated, or stopped by the government. This quote has nothing to do with employers telling employees what they can and cannot do on company time. When Earnhardt or anyone else protests during a national anthem at an athletic event, he is stealing time from his employer. That time is not his own. He is being paid to do a job, not to protest. The same is true for all other athletes who want to protest when they should be abiding by the dictates of their employers.
Here’s a lesson for those too immature or narcissistic to grasp it on their own: When you are at work, you don’t have the right to do, say, or wear anything you want. You have contracted your time to another person or to a group, and it is your responsibility to do what they have required of you. It is perfectly within their rights as employers to say that they will fire anyone who does something they forbid on their time.
Yes, This Protest Is Against The United States
As for the protests themselves, the popular liberal talking point is that they’re not protesting the flag or disrespecting the nation. But this doesn’t make any sense. If they’re not kneeling in opposition to America as a nation, why are they choosing to protest during a time that honors the USA?
If they are really protesting abuses by cops, then they should go on their own time to particular police departments that have transgressed in this way and protest there. Find those who have been specifically victimized and help them directly, instead of engaging in a collectivist agitation campaign to make all black people in America victims and all whites perpetrators.
The fact is, these protestors don’t want to deal with individual issues. They want the collectivist frame because it perpetuates their grievances, creates division between people who are neither victims nor perpetrators, and advances their leftist ideology rather than dealing with real problems. If they were really concerned about police violations, they would deal with each individually and leave it at that.
The reason they don’t is if they actually looked at this individualistically instead of collectively they would have to admit that United States’ “racism” is not systemic. Collective responsibility, action, victimization, and guilt would go out the window. A few departments that have civil rights violations don’t compare to the thousands that don’t. The few police officers who have wrongly shot black people compared to the hundreds of thousands who haven’t does not translate into a racist criminal justice system. Old racist Joe down the street doesn’t mean all of America is racist.
Let’s Unite, Not Divide, Around Real Solutions
If these very wealthy athletes really believe there are injustices on the streets of America, they should empower real victims with real solutions. Maybe set up a legal fund for any poor black person who thinks his or her civil rights have been violated so he or she can take it to the courts. We do have actual laws in this country that protect everyone’s rights, you know—and, yes, they’re enforced. This is something nations that are truly racist don’t have. Maybe these self-indulgent athletes should visit those nations for some much-needed perspective.
The nearly 400,000 people or bots who liked Earnhardt’s tweet and those who praise football players for hiding in locker rooms or kneeling during our nation’s anthem should be ashamed of themselves, of their ignorance, their divisiveness, and their hate. They are praising the disruption of employee-employer relations, the disruption of individual Americans finding solutions for the betterment of all, and the disruption of entertainment that should be bringing us together rather than tearing us apart.
Instead of giving into groupthink and labeling fellow Americans racists at the drop of the hat, let’s honor our nation for the beacon of freedom it is. Instead of protesting faux mass abuses created in the minds of community agitators, root out the real ones and deal with them one by one—not as a blind collective.
Only then will we have peace. I can assure you of one thing: while it’s true that we can prevent violence by making peaceful revolutions possible, allowing—and encouraging—“revolutions” rooted in lies, slander, and scapegoating will incite violence.