As many of you are probably aware of, the NFL season is just around the corner (FINALLY!) and there has already been some headlines making waves. So, since I said this this blog would include looking at life through the lens of uncertainty, science, and sports, it’s finally time to get to some sports!
So Colin Kaepernick, if you haven’t heard, has been getting some people real fired up with his recent display of not standing for the national anthem just before kick-off.
And I really do not understand the hate.
First and foremost, he has said that his protest is not against the military, it is not against veterans, and it is most definitely not against the United States of America. It is simply about bringing attention to issues that people, particularly within African American communities, are facing that are unfair and incredibly unjust.
I am not going to go deep into that issue now (perhaps in the future) but I recognize that being a six-foot, white, male makes me one of the most privileged people in the world and perhaps even more so in the United States. However, I also recognize that I need to educate myself far more in this area and still have much to learn about the diverse ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds of people in my own community.
For these reasons, I am simply going to concentrate on the freedoms Kaepernick employed through his actions and give my opinion on those.
When did it become a requirement to stand for the national anthem?
In what way is patriotic to do something you are forced to do?
Last I checked our veterans and current military men and women are fighting for our freedom. That means we are free to stand, sit, lay, or take whatever posture we please during the national anthem. Of course people are also free to disagree but do not say that it is un-American to exercise freedom.
One could argue that the posture Kaepernick took during the anthem was one of the most “American” things he could have done. He freely expressed his opinion even when the manner was something looked down upon by many.
If I stand and place my hand on my heart because of a fear that I will be ostracized and ridiculed then I am not showing love for my country or the people who died for it.
I am simply living in fear.
Love drives out fear.
When I stand and place my hand on my heart during the presentation of my countries flag it is because I choose to show my love for my country and the ideals it stands for.
I know the United States of America is far from perfect but it is still the country I have grown up in and the country I choose to love.
If another person chooses to exercise their freedom and stay seated, it is exactly that freedom that I love.
When you are forced to make a choice based on fear, coercion, or manipulation love cannot exist in that choice.
Let us not lose our ability to love.