Occasionally, Don Lemon fucking nails it. Monday night, amid continued #TakeAKnee protests, Lemon hit viewers with some truth that sadly needs to be said over and over again until certain people finally start to understand: this protest was never about the flag, the military, or any other blind patriotism trigger points Trump-supporting nationalists would like to believe.
"Taking a knee at an NFL game was never about the flag or the military," Lemon reminded viewers. "That's what the president wants you to believe. It gives his insulting 'sons of bitches' comment cover. A comment that not only insults hardworking professional men, but tries to drag their mothers down to his level, as well. Taking a knee is a constitutionally protected expression. It falls within league rules. Period. If anyone actually believes this is about the flag, then you must believe Rosa Parks' protest was about a bus."
Lemon then played a clip of Colin Kaepernick criticizing certain publications' characterization of his protest from 2016, a mischaracterization that Trump is now pushing via tweets and rally speeches. "Here's what this is about," Lemon continued. "It's about focusing attention on racial injustice. It's about challenging our country to extend the promise of that flag to all citizens, including the citizens whose ancestors were slaves. You may not agree with Colin Kaepernick or the scores of players who take a knee or took a knee this weekend, and that is OK. You don't have to agree with them. But that's not really the point here. No American gets to tell another American how to express their love for this country."
Lemon closed with an apt definition of what patriotism actually means, reiterating that disagreements are bound to happen. But telling another American they can't kneel if they feel compelled to do so?
"What matters is what's in your heart, and that is the American way," Lemon said.