LETTERS: Kneeling, other acts; Money woes not our fault; Securing law, order

Kneeling, other acts

Many Americans are histrionic about the virulent spread of not COVID, but rather kneeling as protest. It started in 2016 with Patient Zero, Colin Kaepernick. Today, this affliction has spread to the Yankees, the NFL and even hit that liberal bastion that is NASCAR in the deep South.

However, the physical act of kneeling is morally neutral. Only with a historical and cultural context can we understand the significance of a knee to the ground.

It is an act of submission, to an authority or elder, as a sign of respect or reverence.

Catholics kneel — quite often — at church services. Muslims kneel daily on prayer mats and in mosques. Though rare, Jews kneel in synagogues.

In the Middle Ages a squire knelt before the crown when being knighted. Today, Elton John, Colin Powell and Stephen Hawking kneel — well, OK, not Hawking.

True romantics kneel when proposing marriage to their loves. These are all voluntary acts of reverence and submission.

There is a continuum of similar physical acts of deference. We bow our head in prayer, as a greeting, an affirmation or acknowledgment.

Japanese people bow their torsos in greeting. Women can curtsy, one foot behind the other, knee bent, head nodded. Not quite Cirque de Soleil, but takes some practice. Real men don’t curtsy, but that’s another story.

Then there is genuflection (half a kneel), followed by full kneeling.

Then we enter the lesscommon kowtow, aka Japanese dogeza (kneeling plus bowing, hands and forehead on ground); and then upward-facing dog, hips on floor — no, wait — no yoga here.

The highest form of submission is prostration (full body on ground, face down, arms stretched).

Can’t get any lower here.

All acts of reverence, respect and deference.

There are no known instances, at any time, in any place where kneeling is considered an act of disrespect — until Kaepernick took one for the team.

In contrast, real acts of disrespect include sitting when everyone stands for a judge or superior officer (i.e., a passive act to ignore someone). Not advisable to attempt, either. An active act of disrespect would be turning a back on someone. Flag burning is very disrespectful, yet this is constitutionally protected free speech.

Constitution? Free speech? Political speech?

Yes. Freedom of expression is a core American value.

We all have a deep respect for our flag, but we must pledge our allegiance to the deeper American values the Stars and Stripes represent.

Kneeling always has been and continues to be a sign of respect. Today it is also an act of protest and civil disobedience.

Though federal law requires all to stand, one Henry David Thoreau most definitely would disobey and take a knee.

As fellow Americans take to their knees or to the streets in protest for redress of racial injustice, we must all guard against a knee-jerk, pernicious reaction: questioning their patriotism, their loyalties.

There is a creeping neo-McCarthyism that fears disruption, chaos and anarchy. McCarthyism metastasized in the 1940s before it was eradicated by reason in 1954. Is a mutated McCarthyism visiting America, the world?

“I’m more patriotic because I’m standing!”

“No, I am.” Let’s hope reason prevails in 2020.

Leonardo Olivares


Money woes not our fault

South Texas is in a depression.

I have been studying the economy for the last two years. Why? Because about two years ago I got fed up with my financial issues and started asking myself: “How much of my money problems are my fault?” The short answer is about 25%, so that means 75% of my money problems are not my fault. It’s the fault of a bad economic system and government policies.

Here are a few examples of things that I do not control: Economic supplyand- demand cycles, government tariffs (a tax on foreign governments), federal tax laws, wealth inequality issues, business monopolies that control us by reducing competition, jacking up prices, controlling wages, sending jobs to other foreign countries and reducing competition, and greedy, stupid politicians who receive bribes from big corporations to obey their orders and demands, which in turn help them keep their power over all the rest of us. For the most part politicians and corporations look out for their interests first and not the American public’s economic interest. This explains why we have a bad government response to COVID-19. It appears that the politicians and corporations are becoming public enemy No. 1.

I hope some of you will do some research on my remarks and become a more informed. Question everything and never stop learning.

Tomas Cantu


Securing law, order

I watch the news, I read the paper, I listen to the radio and all I hear is rhetoric. “We need to do this, we need to do that.” But no action is taken.

The job of the police is to maintain law and order with whatever force is necessary. The minute a rock is thrown, a window is smashed or a fire is set, it is no longer a peaceful demonstration and uniformed officers need to take control and arrest the culprit(s).

José C. Coronado


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