It is a distinctively American impulse that has caused some football players to take a knee this fall. That distinctiveness is in part thanks to a Constitution that jealously guards free speech — which is decidedly not the case in much of our illiberal world today.
But the distinctiveness of the protests this fall has other roots as well.
Even if those refusing to stand for the national anthem cannot fully articulate the reasons for their protests, their dissent is in keeping with a long and venerable American tradition of reflexively questioning authority. Sometimes we protest because it feels like the right thing to do.
Such contrariness — as was seen Sept. 9 at Foley Stadium when Doherty football player Michael Oppong knelt during the anthem; he’s been joined by teammates since — has often offered important correctives to a restless nation.
Last week’s Sina-cism: Save Our Sanity — anti-charter school lies and distortion
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