I have one question for the Democrats who want to replace Louise Slaughter.
Where do you stand on the anthem?
The kneeling during The Star Spangled Banner. Done by football players. Sometimes by high school kids living in the district.
Discussed on the evening news and debated in the halls of Congress.
It’s a simple, defining issue that gives insight into priorities and understandings. And if Congress is about representation, it’s important for voters to know if the candidates on the ballot represent them and their values.
So I ask again: Where do you stand on the anthem?
What do you think about the kneeling athletes and the clenched fists raised in the air?
It’s a question that presents an opportunity to take a stand.
And I invite Joe Morelle, Rachel Barnhart, Adam McFadden and Robin Wilt to take a stand. They have a televised debate coming up. They have the primary on June 26. Before they go to the voters, let’s hear what’s in their hearts.
The issue is taken seriously by the national media – on a recent night it was the lead story on all three network newscasts – and it speaks directly to issues of patriotism, for some, and oppression, for others. It says something, we are told, about the criminal justice system and the police, and racism, and white privilege and economic inequality and the very nature of the American Republic at its founding and in the present.
In a way, the anthem issue is about how a person sees the United States.
And knowing how a candidate for the House of Representatives sees the United States is crucial.
So I ask the Democratic primary candidates again: Where do you stand on the anthem?
I ask it to gain insight, and to recognize a reality. Because these four people find themselves in something of a conundrum. That arises from the varying values of their Democratic Party cohorts and the larger community whose votes they will need in November to be elected.
Here’s what I mean: To win the Democratic primary, a candidate must support kneeling. To win the November election, a candidate must support standing.
Democratic primary voters are less prone to see the anthem as a positive thing, and less prone to seen protesting it as a bad thing. General election voters are more prone to see the anthem as a positive thing, and less prone to see protesting it as a good thing.
And one candidate can’t serve two masters.
So the question becomes: Which ass are you going to kiss?
Do you want to win the primary, or the election? And how can you win the election without winning the primary?
It’s a pickle.
And, as a Republican, I’m glad to see it. It is the natural consequence for a party following a policy of nodding assent to ever more outlandish and extreme positions. Half the stuff issuing forth from the frontlines of the progressive movement is pure horse crap. Incredibly, the Democratic Party is on the road to equating patriotism with racism.
In Republican thinking, America is the good guy. In Democrat thinking, America is the bad guy.
In the Democrat world, kneeling is heroic. In the Republican world, kneeling is craven.
And never the twain shall meet.
Because patriotism, which once bound us together, which once provided the common ground for the purest of our conservative and progressive passions, is being abandoned by the Democratic Party. Its members will deny that, but it is obvious.
And the anthem is the demonstration of that.
If Franklin Roosevelt, a paralyzed man, could stand for the anthem, so can every American.
If Frederick Douglass, a once enslaved man, could stand for the anthem, so can every American.
Certainly, there is a right to kneel in protest.
But there is also a right for the watching nation to recoil in disgust.
Or, in the case of this election, the 25th District of New York.
And that is exactly what will happen.
So I call upon the Democrat candidates to have the courage of their convictions, to stand up for the truth of their party, to make their position known.
Before the primary, in a loud and clear and public fashion: Where do you stand on the anthem?