Dear Editor: Some of the responses to a recent "Quick Question" about athletes' disrespect of the national anthem made me think of the bumper sticker from the Vietnam War era, "America: Love it or leave it." A trite and simple response to those who would question the motive and legality of a war of choice whose escalation was based on what we now know was falsified information about "The Tonkin Bay Incident."

Now we have NFL athletes who choose to use nonparticipation in the national anthem as a means of protesting the overt and latent racism that exists in the United States. The blowback from these actions was clearly demonstrated when Seattle Seahawks star Michael Bennett was profiled, tackled by police and held on the ground with a gun to his head while fleeing a shooting incident in Las Vegas. On a tape of the incident the officer was heard to say, "I will blow your f---ing head off!"

In answer to Michael Bennett's accusations, the Las Vegas police led with this statement: "While the NFL may condone Bennett’s disrespect for our American flag and everything it symbolizes, we hope the league will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our police officers."

The right to dissent and protest is a long-held and cherished tenet of the United States of America. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, "Blind patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

To the gentleman suggesting in a letter to the editor that we send our currency with pictures of "slave-owning presidents" to him, I have a better idea. Let's calculate the value of the U.S. currency with pictures of presidents who owned slaves and use that figure as a starting point for reparations to the descendants of those enslaved individuals who helped build this country.

Harry Bennett

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Madison

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