When the national anthem for our nation is played, I stand and salute the flag. I place my hand over my heart and pay respect to the sacrifice that was made by our countries soldiers so that I can live a life relatively free and unhindered. I enjoy this freedom, a lot. My children are being raised in a nation that affords them a great opportunity. To me, the flag and the national anthem are a symbol of that freedom.
I also have no problem whatsoever with football players (or any person for that matter) refusing to salute the flag and pay that same respect. It is a right that they have to choose to stand by as a form of protest against something that they feel is being overlooked. It gives voice to an issue that is dear to them and they are doing it without resorting to violence.
I applaud people like Colin Kaepernick for standing by their principles. They have found a way to protest peacefully. That is an American principle. It’s part of being free. I also applaud those who disagree with him but do so by continuing to honor the flag when it is flown. Both sides of this debate are voicing their opinions in the matter and both opinions hold equal value.
Joseph Stiglitz states that “there are moments in history when people all over the world seem to rise up, to say that something is wrong, to ask for change. This is what happened in the tumultuous years 1848 and 1968. Each of these years of upheaval marked the beginning of a new era”.
There is nothing wrong with this. It is a natural part of a free society that we need to embrace and even encourage. Our constitution protects this as long as it is done within the boundaries of the law. Peaceful protest in order to encourage change should be accepted by all people as a part of our growth process as both individuals and a nation.
I remember, a little over a year ago, watching this video by former governor Jesse Ventura in regards to the incident. His voice changed my opinion in these regards and allowed me to see this situation through a whole new lens. I especially appreciate his statements in regards to the government forcing patriotism upon its citizens. Man, we really have to be careful there.
Now, that is not to say that all opinions and means of protest should be tolerated. The moment that a protest or an opinion oversteps that process of peaceful protest, the law should step in and control the individual or even group of people. However, this is the last resort as the voices of ALL of America’s citizens hold equal value.
What needs to occur is this. Individuals on the opposite sides of this (or any) debate, need to set aside their own thoughts for a second and sincerely attempt to understand the thoughts of the person standing across from them. I think you would really be surprised with what you walk away from the conversation with.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.