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too. Failure to extend the same rights to others that we take for ourselves isn't just hypocritical

Time:2018-09-23 23:28Shoes websites Click:

Nike politics boycott Economics law

Protest is as American as apple pie and baseball. It allows people to peaceably assemble and redress grievances against the government, and it's enshrined in the Constitution through the First Amendment.

But protesting is also a partisan activity, and oftentimes, those who are so far to the right or the left that they can't see around the corner accord this liberty to themselves, while trying to deny it to others. And that's wrong on every level.

The most well-known case, until recently, was that of the Colorado baker who refused on religious grounds to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Colorado's accommodation law prompted the state to say Jack Phillips could not deny the couple's request. Phillips took the matter to the Supreme Court, which ruled the state showed "hostility" toward Phillips' religious views. This year, Phillips told a transgender customer he would not bake a cake for her, and another round of litigation ensued.

The public could be forgiven for suspecting that publicity was a goal here; why would an LGBT individual try to do business with this man? But both incidents sparked protests. LGBT advocates encouraged a boycott of the bakery, although some acknowledged he had the right to deny the couple service. Phillips' complaints that the case was hurting his business were ironic: Americans are free to express opinions, and to a degree, act upon them, but they shouldn't be surprised if it comes at a price.

Now, a boycott has been launched against Nike after the company attached itself to Colin Kaepernick, the former professional football player who began protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick was trying to shine a light on the killing of black men by white police officers, and while his methods may be controversial, his issue is a legitimate one that cannot be dismissed.

The Nike sponsorship is the latest salvo in this war. Kaepernick's behavior went viral, and other players began kneeling in silent accord. Team owners and coaches got dragged into the fray. Almost immediately, indignant "patriots" began showing disdain by urging boycotts of NFL games and products. Kaepernick was labeled a traitor and worse - by, among others, the president of the United States, who has better things to do than verbally attack a black football player.

Never mind that Kaepernick got the idea from other high-profile individuals whose patriotism and intent aren't in question. Forget about what the First Amendment says, and that plenty of Americans don't salute the flag or stand for the National Anthem for religious reasons. And let's ignore the millions of people who grant inappropriate - some would say disloyal - status to Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be an American" by standing with hands over hearts, as if it were the "Star-Spangled Banner," and by directing hateful looks or comments to those who reserve their reverence for the real deal. These misguided "patriots" are the same folks who would give the Confederate flag - a symbol of sedition - precedence over Old Glory.

The counterprotesters have begun burning Nike shoes and other apparel, or stripping them of their logos, and calling for a boycott of Nike products. So far, their actions haven't hurt Nike. Although President Trump claimed in a tweet that the boycott is "killing" Nike, sales actually jumped 31 percent after it named Kaepernick as its spokesman.

The fact is, the boycotts and protests in all these cases are legal, and they are part of the American way. Phillips' anti-LGBT crusade is not a good business move, but many would argue he has a right to refuse to do something he considers morally reprehensible. And those who are offended by his behavior have a right to eschew his bakery, and urge others to follow suit. The shoe-burners are also within their rights, as are private entities that will no longer trade with Nike.

The most unsavory wrinkle in this affair is the tendency of Trump and other politicians - like District 2's congressman - to attack those who acknowledge the liberty of Kaepernick to act, and of Nike to back him. They have opinions like everyone else, and they can express them. But while they may disagree strongly with Kaepernick and Nike and engage in their own boycotts, as public servants who swore to uphold the Constitution, they should also concede those to whom they object are acting in accordance with the vision of the Framers.

That goes for the rest of America, too. Failure to extend the same rights to others that we take for ourselves isn't just hypocritical: It exposes ignorance about our system of governance, or a direct hostility to it. Neither is a positive attribute.


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