One of the core freedoms of our American democracy is freedom of speech. The basic tenet of this freedom is that one is allowed to act or speak against the government without fear of reprisal or persecution. Unfortunately, freedom of speech has become twisted in a manner recently that does not reflect its true meaning.
Last week, the NFL made a decision in regards to their players kneeling during the National Anthem. In response to players such as Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest injustice against communities of color, the ruling stated that personnel may sit or kneel during the Anthem, however, they must do so in the locker room. If they are on the field, they must stand. Any personnel who do not stand while on the field will be fined.
I’m not a football fan, but I am a fan of freedom of speech. This ban smacks of hypocrisy from my perspective. Those who took a knee or sat during the Anthem were only acting as any American does when they see injustice happening. They were publicly protesting, which is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The hypocrisy comes into play when those who claim to love the Anthem and everything it stands for, uses it to spread their hateful rhetoric or encourage violence (i.e. the rally in Charlottesville last year).
This ruling is a perversion of American democracy. My fervent hope and prayer is that this ruling is overturned. But until then, I will stand with the players who use their platform and celebrity for a good cause. Not just because it the right thing or the fair thing to do, but also because it represents everything that American can and should be.
At it’s heart, Beauty and The Beast is a tale of two outsiders who find the companionship and affection that is missing from their respective worlds. That narrative quality alone opens the door for new and interesting interpretations of the classic fairy tale.
In the new movie, Beast, Moll (Jessie Buckley) lives with her family on the island of Jersey. Put upon by her family and more specifically, her overbearing mother, Hilary (Geraldine James), Moll externally goes along with everyone, but internally, she is screaming for a way out. Enter Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a rough around the edges outsider who may be the man responsible for a series of unsolved murders of young girls. Pascal is one of a few suspects who is being investigated by Clifford (Trystan Gravelle), a family friend who works as a police officer and has been assigned to the case of the murdered girls.
While the movie was a little too long, the narrative was fantastic. This dark and twisted fairy tale is neither simple or predictable. Writer/director Michael Pearce keeps the tension thick, always making the audience question if Pascal is really the killer or if he is being targeted because he is an outsider. He also smartly ended the film in the most un-fairy tale way possible, with just enough narrative leeway for the audience to ask questions about the future of these characters.
America is a country of immigrants. Unless one is Native America, we can all trace our familial origins to one or more persons who left their countries of origin for a new life in the United States.
It’s no secret that the current administration’s immigration policy is not exactly open to immigrants, especially those of color.
According to Steven Wagner, the Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, nearly 1500 immigrant children who tried to enter the US illegally are missing. Mr. Wagner claims that his department is not responsible for the children once they are placed in sponsor homes.
I am the descendant of immigrants. I am appalled by the actions taken by those in Washington. While I am all for securing our borders and preventing terrorism, these actions are not disgusting, but inhumane.
At best, these kids could be living on the street or getting into trouble with the law. At worst, these kids could fall into the hands of human traffickers. I shudder to think what should happen if they do find themselves entangled with human traffickers.
This is not the America that I know and love. While following the law of the land is important, so is compassion, humanity and understanding. From where I am standing, things need to change, otherwise the America that our Founding Fathers envisioned will be nothing but a mirage.