To stand or not to stand that is our right.
By now you've probably been smacked between the eyes with Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem. I'm guessing you've got some feeling about it one way or the other. I'm also going to guess that you may have already voiced that opinion in some manner. But when you walked away from the conversation did you recognize that he has the right to do it? Did you recognize that as an American he chose this form of protest to make his point? Yeah, yeah, yeah I get it, if you're an American you stand for the national anthem. But if you're an American, you should also stand for what you believe in.
Before I come off like someone who supports anti-patriotic behavior, let me say this: I don't. But what Kaepernick did was probably one of the most patriotic things you could do, and that's make a statement that effects change and improves the country. If you are for some reason unaware of the current situation, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers refused to stand during the national anthem, stating, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick then went on to say, "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Did watching Kaepernick not stand for the national anthem make me uncomfortable? It most certainly did. It got my attention, it's nothing I could ever do, no way. When the anthem plays, I'm on my feet with my hat removed. But not Colin, he remained down, then made the statement which took off like a wild fire. So mission accomplished, the word is out, we know exactly how he feels and what he hopes to change. For that I applaud his efforts. There is clearly still a racial divide in this country that needs to get addressed and pulled out into the open. Donald Trump is pulling it into the open, and pulling us backwards at the same time. So let me ask you, what's the difference? Colin Kaepernick sits during the national anthem and people are lighting his jersey on fire. Trump sympathizes with Putin and calls Mexicans rapists and we seem to be okay with that?!? It's an odd double standard.
I know that we are quick to judge anyone who seemingly does anything that does not conform to the norm. Not standing in this instance is not the norm, so we're instantly uncomfortable with it. That being said, I don't know Colin Kaepernick personally and I'm guessing you don't either. For all we know he has a deep seeded love of the United States and this is why he is choosing this method of protest because he knows it'll make the hair on our necks stand up. Or, he could be a really lousy patriot who doesn't give two shakes about America and he knows that it'll make the hair on our necks stand up. But I will say this, he is seeming to do it for a noble cause, which is basically to treat everyone equally.
Protest is nothing new to us. In 1773 Boston threw a Tea Party, and if you boil that down (no pun intended) it was the lack of representation or making sure that everyone is treated equally. Nearly 200 years later there was the march on Washington, which again had to do with inequality and spurred on the Civil Rights Movement. Am I willing to put Kaepernick in the league with MLK or the colonists? Hardly. But movements start in the strangest way and sometimes they effect huge change.
So I will not say that Colin Kaepernick is not a patriot; he is. I am not comfortable with his method, I do find it disrespectful to the flag, but not the country. Besides, I'm a Giants fan and he plays for San Francisco, What the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.