Choose your protest wisely
This past Friday night the San Francisco 49ers played host to the Green Bay Packers. While we generally react to NFL football games by what happens on the filed, it was what happened off the field that raised the most eyebrows.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the national anthem as a form of protest for the way blacks and people of color are treated in this country. His actions set the social media world ablaze, figuratively and literally, as fans went as far as to burn Kaepernick jerseys as a sign of their disgust.
As a citizen of this country, Kaepernick has the right to do what he did. There is no law as to say one cannot sit when our national anthem is played. The question is: was he right?
That remains to be seen. He knew the backlash that was going to happen by doing this and he has remained steadfast in his beliefs. When questioned by the media he has continued to hold his ground on his beliefs and has not backed down from his stance. However, by choosing the route he chose to bring light to this issue, will it have the intended results?
Anytime one decides to buck an American tradition, especially one as hallowed as the national anthem, you can be sure there will be people that will see it as an act against patriotism. I see it as many others do, which is a slight to the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives so that we can continue to live in a free country.
Many members of my family have served in the military and I am proud of what they have accomplished. If I were not to pay homage to what they have done for this country, I would not feel like I am supporting what they, and many other families, have sacrificed.
Kaepernick has stated his appreciation for the military and said that his protest was not for these men and women, but to the widespread oppression carried out largely by police against minorities. The problem is that since birth, citizens of this country have had it ingrained in their minds that the national anthem is synonymous with the flag of this country and our military men and women. So right or wrong, when you do this, the American people are going to take it personally because of what this country means to them.
Has Kaepernick shone a light on this issue? Absolutely. He is standing on a mountain with a megaphone right now and pledging to sit until he feels it’s worth standing for again. He has spoken nothing about actually doing something about it, though. For now, it seems more like a child throwing a temper tantrum hoping to get their way. If he really wants to make the difference he wants to see, he needs to get involved.
He has the means and the public outlet to take action and actually do something that can make a difference. But if he thinks things will magically get better by sitting on his backside, and people will suddenly try to make this better so that he can feel good about standing again, he’d be wrong.
We don’t yet know if he will get involved or what his plans are outside of this specific protest. Given the tactic he chose to carry it out, we don’t know if he will make the difference he’s hoping for. However, based on the comments that have flooded social media it would seem the public is making this more about what he is standing against, rather than what he is sitting for.
Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8046.
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