Why Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Is More Pro-American than His Critics’
The great thing about America is…that here people have the right to protest things going on in America by not standing during the national anthem and by not saluting the American flag.
To be sure, Americans also have the right to criticize such persons and their protests, but condemning them as “traitors” is un-American. In fact, it smacks of totalitarianism.
When an American sings the national anthem or salutes the American flag, he or she should be doing so because they represent the freedom to not sing the national anthem or salute the flag—among other freedoms.
According to news reports, San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick declined to stand during the playing of the American national anthem on August 8 this year (2016). Kaepernick is African-American and the event was a pre-season game. He later explained that he choose not to stand as a protest against the ways especially black American males are treated in America.
A great irony is that many of the same people who condemn Kaepernick as a “traitor” are the same ones who express tremendous fear of the federal government—sometimes to the point of hatred. When they point the accusing finger at a Kaepernick they have three fingers pointing back at themselves. They condemn a fellow American for exercising the very right the national anthem and American flag symbolize.
None of this means I agree with Kaepernick’s protest. It only means I defend his right to choose not to stand during the national anthem. That is his right and it should not be infringed upon by some kind of punishment as many called for.
Having said that I do not necessarily agree with Kaepernick’s protest, I will say that I do understand an African-American male’s anger at what has been happening to African-American males in America in recent years.
*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*
When I graduated from high school during the Vietnam War many of my peers all over America were protesting America’s involvement in that war. A young man I came to know throughout high school (because we had the same last name and therefore sat together in “Home Room” and “Study Hall”) decided to protest the war during our graduation ceremony. When our row stood to go forward to receive our diplomas he remained seated. I doubt most people knew that was an act of anti-war protest, but I now consider it a courageous act. At the time I was angry because it meant that I, sitting immediately next to him, would receive his diploma from the huge pile on the stage and everyone else behind me would receive the wrong one. When I got to the woman handing out the diplomas on the stage I grabbed both my friend’s and mine and nodded my head out to the empty row we had just left behind. She saw him sitting there, probably assumed he had did not feel well, and gave me both diplomas.
Yes, at the time I was angry at my friend, but only because his protest nearly caused chaos for the rest of us. I acknowledged his right to protest as did most of my fellow graduates.
People accusing Kaepernick of being a “traitor” clearly do not understand what America is all about. They are mostly the same people who want to criminalize burning the American flag. Fortunately for all of us that issue has been settled the right way.
As I have said here before, patriotism is one thing; nationalism is something else. Calling a protester a “traitor” (or anything equivalent to that) is beyond even nationalism; it smacks of fascism.
I would not do what Kaepernick did, but if I were a black man in America I might. I would have to walk a mile or two in one’s shoes to know. But I do not condemn or even criticize him. He was exercising his right as an American to sit out the national anthem. Thank God for that right. It’s the essence of America.
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