Peaceful Demonstrations

Colin Kaepernick

Any time I hear about demonstrations that involve burning a flag, or not standing for the pledge of allegiance there is invariably a response involving the members of our military. I understand the sentiment in this, because they are protecting our rights, freedoms and way of life. They are defending our country, and the flag is a symbol of our country and the pledge of allegiance obviously has implications about how you feel towards the country (ie: loyalty.)

Consider however, why people might be doing these things. The short and obvious answer is that they feel our country is, in some manner or aspect, should not be admired. This is usually pretty easy to figure out as these demonstrations nearly always follow some recent event in America.

So now, we have men and women defending a country that is being untrue to its expectations. You know, the ones our military is fighting to protect. Our military is fighting to protect us, and then our own municipal police kill us — completely circumventing the justice system? If you want to talk about disrespect, start with that. Further, freedom of speech is a constitutional right, and arguably the most important one. All I can hear is, “How dare you use the rights our military fights for you to have.” I’m baffled. Not only are they making an effort to deter us from using what our military secures for us (in addition to physical safety) — they also are quite literally trying to make it illegal to burn flags. Which is more often than not a more blunt form of protest — the reason we have freedom of speech in our constitution.

On the topic of protests, the predominant criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement is that the protests are inherently violent — even saying that blocking highways is violent. Okay, I can see how you can stretch that because in theory an ambulance could need that road — therefore you have actively gone and injured somebody. So if marching is worth pepper spray, tear gas, sandbags and what have you, okay, I can accept that we have different values and morals or ideals in this case. If running over people (mind you, this will probably kill them) because they’re on the highway and keeping you from getting home is something you can genuinely encourage without even a moment of hesitation, I will stop trusting your moral compass entirely. However, if something as simple and peaceful as sitting down during the pledge of allegiance is even an unacceptable form of protest — I have to wonder what is acceptable and what or who gave you the authority to decide what acceptable forms of protest are (surely that’s something to be voted on at the municipal level at least).

I’m beginning to think you simply don’t want people to protest because it makes you uncomfortable or challenges your beliefs and views of the world. Of course I don’t know that, but the responses I’ve seen seem to be suggesting this to be the case.