In the world we are in today the ability to peacefully protest is one of the most important tools you can have. It is the main tool that any person that resides in our country should be able to use at any point without any push back. While I see this as a necessary skill for every person to have there are people that feel people should just take what they are given, no matter the circumstances.
In the recent years a professional football player by the name of Colin Kaepernick decided to voice his personal opinion on the reoccurring events of police brutality toward unarmed black men in our country. He didn’t do this by saying anything per say, but he set an example for many others to follow. In the beginning of his silent protest he decided to sit during the national anthem because he felt this song was not representing what America was supposed to be about. Such as our first amendment right to freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness. His actions were not recognized until a veteran by the name of Nate Boyer wrote Kaepernick asking him to find a different way to show his displeasure towards the government’s lack of action. After receiving this letter Kaepernick decided to set up a meeting with Mr. Boyer to discuss both of their feelings and how he can do right by both the military and the black people that are being wrongfully treated. They came up the idea of kneeling instead of sitting. They decided on this because in the military when a soldier dies his platoon takes a knee in front of the fallen soldiers family and presents them with a flag. This kneeling is shown as a sign of respect and support. (Yoder para 5)
Though Boyer was very excited and happy with Kaepernick’s decision to join his teammates and take a knee there are many who find his antics rude, disrespectful, and distasteful. Many of these people would say that the reason we stand for the anthem is to respect those who have given their lives and continue to give their lives to protect not only our freedoms, but he freedoms of other countries as well. They also have the opinion that this practice has no pull with the people, and does not affect the government decisions or the actions of police officers. If this is true then then they feel that there is no point of “dividing the people”. (procon para 3)
After hearing about how disrespectful kneeling during the anthem was I became curious about all of the things that could be considered disrespectful towards the flag and the things that it represents. I came across an article by Doha Madani which plainly illustrates all of the things that, in a traditional sense, are considered disrespectful to the flag. She says that wearing the flag on clothing or in sports uniforms, carrying it flat(such as at football games), using it for advertising, and putting it on disposable products like forks and napkins.(Madani para 4) All of these acts are done a one almost a daily basis and has never been pointed out as rude or indecent.
After having the opportunity to read through both arguments it was very clear to me that Kaepernick should be heralded as a 21st century civil rights leader. He had the courage to stand alone in the face of cruelty, ignorance, and pure racism because he felt that his people were getting the short end of the stick. It is people like Kaepernick that are remembered not for their ability on the field, but also their ability to put fame and fortune on the line for what they believe is the greater good.
Madani, Doha.”Here are Some ways to Disrespect the Flag.” The Huffington Post, 24
ProCon.”Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem: Top 3 Pros and Cons.” ProCon, 27
https://www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005323. Accessed 4 Nov. 2017
Yonder, James.” Nate Boyer Convinces Kaepernick to Kneel.” Chat Sports, 27 Sep