Zeke Corder

Zeke Corder is the author of Zeke’s Corner, a regular column in the Kuna Melba News.

I was unable to attend the Veterans Day activities at Kuna High School this year. I always try to attend, but my father-in-law recently passed away and his funeral was on Friday morning. Obviously that took priority over being honored at Kuna High.

I read with interest the coverage of the activities that Alx provided in the Kuna Melba News. She covered the activities in excellent detail.

One small portion of the coverage, however, did disturb me, just a little. The students who had expressed an interest in kneeling were cautioned to avoid doing so to remain PC.

I lived through the years of protests and riots in the 1960s. I was young but old enough to be very disturbed by what was happening in the southern U.S. I saw the police beating people who gathered to oppose the inequality that prevailed at that time.

I, along with many others, hopefully most people, was appalled to see people discriminated against based solely on the amount of melanin in their skin. I heard the racist rants by McGovern and others. So I was awed at the message spread by Martin Luther King Jr.

I was truly thankful when the Civil Rights Act was passed, and skin color was no longer a factor in if person could be served food or go to the bathroom.

In my time in Thailand and Vietnam, it was obvious that discrimination had not ceased in the military.

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Student deferments allowed those who could enroll in college to avoid the draft, at least until the lottery began. Those of us too poor to attend college went to war. Those of us who fought in the war could hardly have been prejudiced against anyone because their skin was darker. Most of us learned quickly that the guy beside you was a brother in arms, no matter where he came from, no matter where he went to church, no matter his skin color, or any other meaningless factors. Just as they say there are “no atheists in a fox hole,” I would have to say there are no racists on the battlefield. Though I know there was discrimination, it was certainly tempered during battle.

I had hoped America had learned to get beyond discrimination based on color, religion, background and other factors not under our control. And I thought we had made great strides in the elimination of racism and religious persecution.

This current administration seems to have taken us back a few decades. Now, based on religion we have banned people from entering our country. Once again, it seems that skin color determines how the police view us and how we are treated.

I am in fervent hope that the majority of Americans have grown beyond petty racism and discrimination. I am also certain that the vast majority of law enforcement officers treat people equally and with a presumption of innocence. But, as we have seen recently, there are a number who discriminate against individuals based on color, clothing and other meaningless factors. In a number of these incidents a suspect is killed because of a presumption of guilt by LEOs, and the officers are found innocent of all charges and allowed to continue.

Those issues seem to be growing under current mindsets, and I cannot ignore those issues. I believe it is likely that had I attended the Veterans Day activities, I might well have taken a knee in protest of injustice. As we all know, taking a knee to bring attention to injustice has no bearing on our respect for the flag, the national anthem, other veterans or any other factor except injustice and inequality. We cannot ignore these issues, and politically correct or not, public protest does work.

If you remember some other issues, the protesters in Boston were not dissing tea. Rosa Parks was not upset at the buses. Gandhi was not opposed to food. Kneeling during the national anthem is not showing disrespect for the anthem, the country, veterans or anything but injustice.

 

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