Friday night, Colin Kaepernick decided to protest a civil rights matter. To protest, he refused to stand up when the National Anthem was played before the game started. Naturally, that started a whole bunch of garbage and hate tweets.
Kaepernick said of his decision:
I am not going stand and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies on the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
Of course there are two sides to every story. There are people who support what Kaepernick did and apparently plans to continue to do. Then there are those who do not support Kaepernick or what he did.
Of course the biggest complaint is how he is “disrespecting” our troops who “fight and die” for our freedoms. For example, Alex Boone, a former teammate had this to say about Kaepernick’s actions:
It’s hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there. That flag obviously gives (Kaepernick) the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some (expletive) respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom.
We’re out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don’t have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts.
Kaepernick was explicit in saying his protest was not intended to disrespect our troops or what they fight for. As a matter of fact, as one who did serve, I would say to those who don’t like his stand to stop using our troops as ammunition for their hatred and tweets. I find his protest quite right and proper.
Those of us who have served, have done so to protect our freedoms. That includes the right to protest against things we find troubling. The very fact that racism still exists in this country is more of a slight to us who have served and are serving than a protest to bring the light of day to that racism.
The very idea that people are willing to hate others based on the fact they are different than us is repulsive to every fiber of my being. The idea that anyone who protests such actions is un-American is repulsive to me.
Colin Kaepernick has the right to protest this matter in anyway he chooses. He is breaking no laws. He is doing nothing to “disrespect” our troops and what they are fighting to protect, our freedoms. Rather he is exercising his freedom to protest what he finds to be wrong.
Yes, the haters who are sending lots of hateful tweets have a right to criticize him as well. However, they are they ones proving he is correct by their hate speech. They are the ones who are disrespecting the troops and our service to protect our freedoms.
It is always “armchair” patriots who have the most vitriol towards those who disagree with their world view. It is the “armchair” patriots who do not understand the true meaning of serving our country. It is always the “armchair” patriots who want to define what freedoms we veterans have fought to protect.
If you disagree with Kaepernick’s actions that is okay and it is your right. Just as it is his right to protest for what he believes. Just stop hiding behind the “disrespecting our troops” argument to voice your disapproval. As a veteran, I do not feel disrespected by his actions.
The freedoms we enjoy in this country are for everyone. Not just those who happen to agree with our opinion. If you don’t like protests, too bad. Everyone has a right to protest for what they believe in.
As a matter of fact, I find it more disrespectful when people wear the American Flag as clothes than I do when someone else burns it in protest. It is far more disgusting for the flag to be worn as a shirt getting dirty and smelly with someone’s bad odor than for a protester to burn it. Think about that for a minute.
Before you jump out of your patriot armchair and scream at me remember that the “flag code” that you love to quote for your argument about burning the flag, also states that it should not be used a clothing either.
This uproar is what the “far right-wing” has given us today. Protests are no longer allowed if they don’t approve of them. They can call others names and use vulgarity whenever they “feel threatened” by protesters, but they are allowed to hate in the name of “free speech”.
Rather than shout down Kaepernick, we should be holding that discussion on race we should have had 200 years ago. If you agree with him say so. If you disagree with him say so. Only either way you think, say so with meaningful arguments and have a proper discussion.
Protests can help us begin smart discussions about our problems. Runaway violence will not help but rather hurt that discussion. I served 20 years of my life so people like Colin Kaepernick can peacefully protest what he believes in. I am not disrespected by his actions.
Rather, I feel my service was not in vain. He is doing exactly what he is supposed to be allowed to do. Expressing his free speech for something he finds troubling. I say he should continue for as long as he feels necessary.