"Say it. Say Black Lives Matter."
"Do it. Stand and show respect for the flag."
What are we doing, America? What are we trying to accomplish with our political debates, anymore?
Are we past the point of trying to get others to agree with us?
In today's America, it seems what we really want from the other side is submission.
Donald Trump, the President of the United States and one who should be focused on more lofty affairs, couldn't help but weigh in on NFL players not standing for the national anthem. Trump said that when a player refuses to stand, the owner should say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired."
When Black Lives Matter protests erupted in St. Louis last week after the Jason Stockley verdict, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's house was vandalized. Reports at the time said that it was because even though she expressed outrage at the verdict, protesters were angry she wasn't out on the streets with them.
America was founded upon free speech. That's why we allow peaceful protests against verdicts they find unjust and allow people to where Confederate flag t-shirts without fear of government prosecution. And yes, that also gives us the right to publicly pressure those who are silent on key issues into speaking out.
But more and more it seems we also demand some sort of punishment not just for another person's seemingly disrespectful comment, but for that person not specifically speaking out on our behalf in the specific way we want them to do it.
While the begrudging validation that might eventually come may feel good, we need to realize that you can't bully someone into speech and have them mean it at the same time.
That person isn't an ally, but a hostage.
Time for some on both sides to decide if that's what they really want.
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