For Liberty, Justice and The Troops!

Colin Kaepernick’s recent decision to not stand during the National Anthem has caused quite a stir in our country. It has become an undeniably hot topic that must be discussed. Many feel that what he did was not called for and that someone who is paid as much as he is, should not have anything to complain about. Well, those people are wrong. Kap and others in his position have just as much right to speak on injustice as the server at Applebee’s or the cashier at your local grocery store. If you feel strongly about something, there should never be a dollar amount that is going to keep you from standing firm on that belief. This is a freedom that we are afforded in this country, and many people seem to feel that beliefs such as Kap’s, should be kept to yourself. People have taken to social media and amplified this way of thinking into a bigger and uglier monster than what it should be.

One of the biggest arguments that I am seeing on social media is that by sitting during the National Anthem, Colin Kaepernick has “spit in the face of this country by disrespecting the flag.” In reality, Kap has not done that. What he did do, was opt to use his platform to take a stand. He also used his platform to demand justice, which just so happens to be one of many things that the American flag is supposed to represent. Many feel that he used his platform at the “wrong” time, but my question to those individuals is this: when is the “right” time? The protesting in Baltimore, MD and Ferguson, MO were also deemed the “wrong” time. The WNBA athletes taking their stand? The “wrong” time. Anytime a high profile individual takes the time to speak on racial inequalities in America? The “wrong” time. So, I ask again, when IS the “right” time? Should those demanding equality for people of color check with the racists of America for a good time on when they can demand justice? Or should they just keep these discussions amongst themselves? It is important that those concerned are notified of when the “right” time is, because it would be a shame if we continued to inconvenience you with our issues.

Another argument that I am seeing, and one that hits very close to home for me is “he disrespected The Troops, by not standing during the National Anthem.” Oh, The Troops. During times like these we can always count on someone to defend The Troops. There is always a group of people who are ready to stand on their soapboxes, with their khaki cargo pants and their AR-15s, to tell some loudmouth that they offended The Troops. Quite often we see that these same people have usually never served any time in the military, and are living vicariously through their family members, and friends who are serving in the United States Armed Forces. Hell, they may even be a card carrying member of their local militia, because “MERICA!” As a veteran, I can say this: Americans have a very odd fetish with deciding what is and is not offensive to those that HAVE served and defended this country. Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with Kap’s actions, and being honest, I feel that as a black man and a veteran, he has spoken on my behalf. Kap even stated that he has respect for those that fought to defend this country, but at the same time, has seen those same people be disrespected by those that claim to have a ton of respect and love for them. So, before you decide whether or not someone is actually offending The Troops, stop and have a conversation with one, to see what their views are on the situation.

It blows my mind that a cry for justice and fairness for people of color has been met with so much resistance. Colin Kaepernick did not do anything that could be seen as harmful, but has been labeled a terrorist and traitor by many and has even received backlash from his fellow athletes, claiming that they do not agree with his methods. To me, I view them all as cowards. Every single one of them. Let’s be honest and acknowledge that Kap’s actions were not, in any way, disrespectful to the American flag. Point, blank, period. Whereas Dylan Roof, the white man that murdered nine black people during a church service in Charleston, SC, literally burned the flag and caught very little, if any, backlash from the masses. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? When will we, as a collective, start to understand that a symbolic piece of cloth does not hold more value than the life of a living, breathing person? I hope that the day comes soon, and I try my hardest to remain optimistic, but unfortunately reality has shown me otherwise. Until then, let’s just continue to wait for the “right” time to be vocal about these matters. I’m sure someone is going to get back to us on that pretty soon.

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