Race Imboden, an American gold medalist fencer, participated in a silent form of protest at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru while the USA national anthem was playing.
Imboden took a knee on the podium, protesting against racism, the maltreatment of immigrants, gun control, as well as President Donald Trump.
In a statement on Twitter, he said: “We must call for change. This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.
He also added: “I chose to (sacrifice) my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.”
We must call for change.
This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, pic.twitter.com/deCOKaHQI9
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 10, 2019
During his peaceful, politically fueled protest the other members of the team, namely Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, did not participate and held their heads high.
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 11, 2019
As she told USA Today: “Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse.”
“We respect their rights to express their viewpoints, but we are disappointed that they chose not to honor their commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”
Lastly, as a result of both of their gestures, there has been a divide in opinions throughout the American public. On one hand, there are those appreciative of the political message, wh believe that peaceful protesting is a democratic right and see it as a just way to contribute to a much-needed cause.
However, on the other hand, there are people who absolutely disagree and find it shameful, as well as antipatriotic to ‘disrespect the American flag’ and ‘all veterans’ on an international stage. With the latter, there is the notion of “If you don’t like it here (the USA) you can leave. We don’t need you” in combination with comments implying the gesture(s) must be a publicity stunt.
Please share your thoughts and opinions on the matter in the comments below.