Letter to the Editor
August 12, 2022
I am voicing my agreement with Rodney Kennedy in speaking out to bring Brittney Griner home. She is an American. She has accomplished more than most in her WNBA career, bringing honor to the USA in the World Cup and the 2021 Olympics.
I also stand with Brittney, Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, LeBron James and others in “taking a knee” during the National Anthem. And after George Floyd, I do not stand or say the “Pledge of Allegiance,” I bow my head in prayer. I’m a conscientious objector. So I guess that makes me “un-American” also — even though my ancestors go back to 1664 in Massachusetts, fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War (Union), World War I, my dad in World War II, and my grandson is on his second tour with the Marine Corps.
I agree with the reason why athletes take a knee during the National Anthem, but my reason for doing so resides in the history of Francis Scott Key, who held slaves for his whole life and wrote a disparaging racist third verse of the anthem. Although he defended freed slaves in his law career, he also was a member of a society that encouraged freed slaves being sent back to Africa. Abolitionists coined his phrase “Land of the Free/Home of the Oppressed.” His definition of “freedom” throughout his life included only white, male aristocracy. He was, without doubt, a privileged white supremacist.
“I agree with the reason why athletes take a knee during the National Anthem, but my reason for doing so resides in the history of Francis Scott Key, who held slaves for his whole life and wrote a disparaging racist third verse of the anthem.”
After George Floyd, I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance because in this country there never has been “liberty and justice for all.”
My reasons for these actions are related to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three of my grandchildren have African American blood in their veins, two more grandchildren have Native American (who are the only true Americans; the rest of us are immigrants) blood, and one great-grandchild is half Mexican American.
I take a knee and bow my head so that my other white grandchildren and great-grandchildren will ask why. I want them to know and thoroughly understand the racist treatment their cousins may encounter during their lives.
It is truly shameful and disgusting that the Baylor “family” community responses were so hateful. Their comments definitely espouse the views of the white, Christian nationalist, evangelical Trump-MAGA cult. And yes, it is a cult! It is not Jesus when the flag, the Pledge, the Anthem, guns, my individual rights, the push for white Christian nationalism are more important than loving your BIPOC neighbor, listening to and supporting the LGBTQ community, respecting the rights of women and their doctors, and the civil rights of all people.
Every Saturday, I join some 1960s friends at our protest site. I protest against Putin and Trump. So as a Roger Williams “seeker,” I stand with you, Rodney, in loudly speaking out in support of Brittney Griner’s release and return home.
Charlene Davenport, Clinton, Washington