Listen to the audio version I called in, or you can read below.
Many years ago during the Vietnam War I was in Miami and I interviewed many people involved in that war, generals, reporters, people on the scene. It was a tremendous time to be in Miami and a lot of famous people came through and one of them was General Wallace Greene (General Wallace Martin Greene, Jr. – December 27, 1907 – March 8, 2003) who was the Commandant of the United States Marine Corp. That made him the highest ranking officer in the Marine Corp.
At that time, of course, protests were going on all across America against the Vietnam War. People were burning flags, a lot of people were feeling bad about it, but students across America were doing it.
I was against the war. I didn’t know if I liked the burning of the flag. I didn’t like that. But I certainly felt for the protesters and agreed with them. I thought the war was a big mistake and thought it early, by the way.
Anyway, General Greene is on and I expect him to naturally take the stand of the military and he surprised me by saying, “Oh, I support these protesters completely.”
And I said “Why?” And he said, “Because that’s why our Marines are fighting. They are fighting so they can protest. If we didn’t allow protesters then we’re just like a lot of other countries.”
I never forgot that. If we don’t allow protesters, we’re just like a lot of other countries.
So, if people are fired because of an opinion they have about black people being killed by cops — and even though that’s not the majority, it certainly has occurred in a lot of occasions recently — so I have sympathy for the way many people feel. Now, I’m not a proponent of sitting down when the national anthem is played.
So, what I’m saying is, here we have a President of the United States, an old friend of mine, but a President who I disagree with a lot, coming up and condemning people for acting on their constitutional rights. Now you can condemn them, you can dislike them, you may not like what they’re saying — but to ask for them to be fired? Calling them SOBs? That’s not the America I grew up in.
And then I thought of this — what if, in Germany in 1935, people stood up and protested treatment of the Jews, or of gay people, what do you think would’ve happened to them, under a regime led by Hitler?
The answer speaks for itself.