Protesting is Patriotic

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” ― Harry Truman

Putting aside the statements from the President of the United States calling a citizen a ‘son of a bitch’, his previous tweets about POTUS involvement when it was another president, let’s take a look at what hoopla is all about.


What it means

The taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem draws attention and focus, through a quiet, peaceful action. Such a public act is designed to raise awareness by asking WHY.

The WHY, in this case was to draw attention to the systematic racism and discrimination against people of color by law enforcement, and the perpetrated police brutality on this group of Americans, targeted by race by the very institutions designed to protect the people.

What it doesn’t mean

The protest does NOT suggest the individuals hate the country, are against law enforcement, or in any way are disrespecting the flag, the military, or first responders. The Flag and the National Anthem are for ALL Americans, not a select few.


The First Amendment of the Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What is means

This is a good time to remember that the Constitution is a rule book for GOVERNMENT, not the people. It lists the limitations of what the government can do, highlighting the basic rights of Americans. The Government is barred from limiting the right of the people to protest.

Businesses have the right to have clauses for individuals when representing the employer.

What it doesn’t mean

While the government is Constitutionally barred (with some exceptions) from prosecuting/persecuting individuals for protesting, it doesn’t mean that individuals have the right to protest without repercussions.

Businesses can set standards for their associates as long as it does not infringe on specific laws. In this instance, the heads of the teams and the oversight commission have come out in support of the players’ right to protest.

Government Influence

Our President has called for the firing of players who exercise their Free Speech.

A member of his Cabinet, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnunchin spoke out as well, suggesting that the owners and NFL should vote to limit the #FreeSpeech of their players, despite the owners already stating otherwise.


What it means

Civil servants, including POTUS and the entire executive branch, are barred from influencing of employment decisions of businesses.

18 U.S. Code § 227 – Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch

The law clearly states that if found doing such, they

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States”

What it doesn’t mean

It doesn’t mean that POTUS, his Press Secretary, or his Treasury Secretary, when appearing in their role as civil servants, government employees, representatives of the administration, have the right to express their opinions under the auspices of the First Amendment.

As Civil Servants, they are required to refrain from even the perception of influence, and therefore specifically barred from the “water cooler talk” in taking or expressing an opinion publicly about employment decisions or penalties.


The undercurrents of this discussion are emotionally triggering, raising concerns over the treatment of people of color by law enforcement, and the suggestion that the protest is somehow against our Military or our country, unpatriotic.  It is the responsibility of Citizen’s to respect the rights of others. It is, however, the responsibility of a civilization to hear the concerns others.

It’s time we put the distractions and rhetoric aside, and listen, hear.


About Laurissa Doonan

I'm a marketer. I've been a professional marketer for over 25 years, but in reality, I have always been one. Marketing to me is about communicating effectively, regardless of platform, regardless of channel. Marketing is understanding both your objectives and your audience, and finding the right method and message for your customers to reach them where they are. Now I dedicate my efforts to helping very small and small companies pursue their passions and grow their businesses through marketing; providing agency trained expertise without the overhead.
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