During the singing of the national anthem at a professional football game, Colin Kaepernick, an African-American player, knelt on the sidelines in protest against racial injustice.
The enraged president of the United States, in effect, later suggested that anyone guilty of such a gesture is a son of a b---- and should be fired.
The scenario has set off a national reaction that has gone beyond the stadium.
An online cartoon depicts a family at breakfast. A little boy is down on one knee beside the table as his mother is telling the father to inform the lad that he’s not to “take the knee” because he doesn’t like asparagus.
Never miss a local story.
At a Pasco County, Fla., elementary school, a 6-year-old first-grader recently “took the knee” during the class recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher reprimanded him. The child’s mother complained that the teacher’s response “was biased, condescending and on the verge of threatening.”
The teacher responded that she had merely told the boy that the class was learning about “what it means to be a good citizen and that it means respecting the United States of America and our country’s symbols, showing loyalty and patriotism and that we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Ye gods! What have we come to?
If I had taken a knee in first grade, I would have been the recipient of a painful paddling in the principal’s office. And when my mother heard about it from my brother, instead of lodging a protest, she would have stung my back and legs with a hickory switch.
So, folks, if in the future you disapprove of something, “take a knee.”
For example, if your wife’s green bean casserole doesn’t seem quite up to par, take a knee beside the table, even if it means you may suddenly be wearing the green bean casseroles on your face as the result.
At church, if the parson’s sermon is a bit boring, take a knee in the center aisle.
At work, if you didn’t get that raise you expected, take a knee outside the boss’ office.
The consequences could be interesting,
A news headline online accuses President Trump of being afflicted with “malignant narcissism” defined by the dictionary as “extreme selfishness with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.”
You may remember the story of Narcissus from Greek mythology.
He was the handsome fellow who saw his own reflection in the river and fell in love with it. Unable to leave the reflection, he lost his will to live and consequently died at the riverside.
It’s true that our president finds himself appealing and has shared his self-admiration during numerous public appearances.
His self confidence brings to mind the words of poet Shelley’s Ozymandias: “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
When I mentioned to a friend the possibility that the president might just be trying to conceal an inferiority complex, the friend said, scoffingly, “Don’t be funny.”
As a not-dry-behind-the-ears G.I. during World War II, I was stationed at Keesler Field, Miss., located just outside Biloxi.
I didn’t think much of the town back then, and my opinion of it isn’t enhanced by the news that Biloxi’s school board has pulled Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” from an eighth-grade reading list.
Kenny Holloway, the board’s vice president, was quoted as saying that there is language in the book that “makes people uncomfortable.”
To me, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of the most beautiful and significant books in American literature and should at least be available to all students.
When my wife was teaching Oral Interpretation of Literature at N.C. State, she required students to watch videotapes of former students. When the student on the videotape said she was reading from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the student writing the critique (obviously not being familiar with the title) wrote she had watched a student reading from “Tequila Mockingbird.”