Thursday, November 10, 2016

I do not Fault Kaepernick for the Way He Chooses to Protest

   In America, and thankfully, in many places in the world, you are free to protest against your government without being tossed in jail. Nor, are you told how to protest. It is your protest, so you choose how you will go about protesting. Protesting, by its nature, doesn't have to be in a proscribed manner.
   Freedom at its core is the right to be a dissident, to disagree with society. It is the right to oppose, and criticize your government, and to call for reform. On the flip side, a society that is not free is one that requires everyone to conform.
   If you haven't guessed what topic I'm speaking of, its Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem. I do not fault him. I do not suppose to tell him he is wrong for having his opinion, or for expressing it in a way I wouldn't. Instead, bless him for caring enough, for working to change things that, to him, need to be changed.
   I do not see him trashing the principles America was founded on. Nor do I see him denigrating those who have died in combat for the freedoms we have, as some people suggest he is doing. I see him kneeling on one knee during the national anthem, and if that is his way of showing respect for the flag, so be it. It is good enough by me.
   If America isn't about the right to disagree, and the right to choose your own way of showing your displeasure, what is it? If we must all conform to thinking the same, and, if we don't, if we must protest in a proscribed manner, what are we?
   I guess I'm saying, let Kaepernick choose his own way of protesting. Why try to paint him as un-American, when he is as American as you or I. Let him be himself. America is not (or shouldn't be) about putting people down for disagreeing with the way society does things, nor is it about telling them how to go about expressing themselves. Let them speak what, how, and where they may. Freedom of speech -- one of our most basic of freedoms -- is the right to speak your mind, and to choose how you will go about expressing yourself, and to choose where you will do it, to a large extent. As long as you are not infringing on the rights of others, you are free to do things your own way. One person's freedom only ends where the other person's nose begins, as they say.
  So, disagree with Kaepernick on whether blacks are mistreated, if you will, but don't fault him for the way he expresses himself. He goes down on one knee to show his respect, and that is good enough for me.

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