Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Freedom's just another word for...

In America, we get bent out of shape when people destroy things in protests. We also get bent out of shape when people protest silently. Which one is it, America? Would we rather Colin Kaepernick set things on fire in protest, scream and give the middle finger during the national anthem, or sit down silently in protest? Or would we rather no one ever say anything that paints us in a bad light?

Personally, my vote is for sit down silently in protest. There's no honor in staying silent about things that matter. With silent, peaceful protest, there's no destruction of property (an illegal and asshole move even during protest) and no disrespect (legal during protest but off-putting), there's just taking a stand and he is getting fucking roasted for it because the Internet is a hotbed of hate and we absolutely love to label people as anti-American.

Unfortunately for the rabid Internet dwellers, peaceful protest against your government or its entities and what you think they represent is very, very American.
When members of America's armed forces defend those first amendment rights we hold so dear, they do so for ALL of us. Not just those of us with the most popular opinions. Are you guys familiar with blogger and veteran Jim Wright? He is an awesome writer, so you should check his blog out here, but also check out his thoughts on Kaepernick here.

Look, I hate the Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK and everything both of those shitbag hatefucker groups stand for, but I absolutely support their right to speak freely and to peaceably assemble, even though their speech and assembly are in utter opposition to every fiber of my being. I may not like what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
Of course this issue is not technically about anyone infringing on Kaepernick's freedom of speech because the lynch mob coming after him is not the government, but his fellow citizens. We don't want our government to infringe upon our freedoms but we will gladly dance all over each other's. That's not really how it's supposed to work. 

What I feel for America is an innate love that comes from deep in my bones. I truly believe the quote that goes something like there is nothing that is wrong with America that can't be fixed by what is right with America. Even when something shameful happens here - and there have been many shameful things that have happened here - I still have an intense love of this country.

And I love that other people feel so strongly about what happens here that they take to the streets or in this case, the bench, to let their feelings be known. In the past few years, it has become the very pseudo intellectual/faux patriotic/snide smug superior person thing to do to hate on protesters. We have opinions on how they protest and where they choose to protest. If we're with them, we support them. If we're not, we bitch about them wasting time and resources.

We'd all do well to remember that we would be sipping tea, celebrating Boxing Day, and singing God Save the Queen if some guys sat on their asses instead of protesting back in the 1700s. This country was birthed out of the vagina of a protest and it's one of the only way changes have occurred throughout the years. Protesting is as American as apple pie.

It takes guts to take a stand against something that is largely accepted by your fellow citizens. This man sat down because America is not that great to him right now, and we hate him for it. But many of us love Donald Trump who has stood at podiums across this 
land saying that America is not that great to him right now, but he'll make it great again. Are we okay with that because he stands during the National Anthem?

The thing about love of country is that we all show it differently. I don't put my hand over my heart during the anthem, something quite a few have come under fire for in recent years, but I would wrestle you to the ground if you accused me of not loving and respecting my country. Pointing out problems we face as a nation, whether you do it at a podium, on a football field, on the street, in writing, in a crowd, or by yourself does not make you un-American.

You know where you have to grit your teeth and act like you love and respect your anthem even if you don't feel like it represents your ideals for your government and your country? Nazi Germany. Nothing perks up your civic pride like being watched during the anthem with rifles pointed in your general direction. In America, you don't have to pretend. Well, technically you don't have to but the Internet wants you to. It seems like a lot of us want everyone to fall in line, and we want to scream and call out and label and cart off those that don't. Sort of like a technology age version of the Secret Police.

Why would I want someone to stand with me during my anthem if they didn't feel like it represented them? I don't want to stand next to pretenders who look the part but have hate in their heart for this land or the roads we're travelling down. I definitely want everyone to love my country like I do, but I know that we do not all come from the same circumstances and that it might be harder for others to salute this flag and sing this anthem. Group Think does not become you, America. That's not what this country is about. It's the anithesis of what we're about.

I think it is extremely disrespectful to talk or be on your phone during the national anthem. I've seen both more times than I can count and I'm betting many people bitching about Kaepernick have done one of those two things. In my eyes, you might as well be sitting down. Good thing you're not famous, right?

I respect Kaepernick's right to sit during the anthem for what it does not represent to him at this time as much as I respect my own right to stand and be moved to tears by what it represents to me. His protest does not threaten me. It doesn't threaten you either. It doesn't make him un-American. It makes him someone who thinks differently than you do and expresses himself differently than you do. And in America, those things are not a crime.

Not yet, anyway.


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25 comments:

  1. Amen. I was at a Neil Diamond cover band concert on Friday night. It ended with the America song. I am forever grateful our ancestors came to America ! The hate has to stop. United States needs to unite, the rest of the world, too. We can lead the way! Bring on the Golden Age! Love you to infinity and beyond. You are gifted and spread good. Love. Your. Momma.

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  2. You're spot on, Steph. If they First Amendment works for any of us, it has to work for all of us. We don't have to like what he says or thinks, but we must respect his right to peacefully articulate it.

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  3. I am an avid support of the Constitution. That being said, I don't like what Kaepernick is doing on a public platform. We do have our freedoms though.
    I will say that when I have students who don't stand up during the Pledge (not out of protest, but because they're too busy writing, or crawling on the floor, or trying to sharpen pencils or something), I make us all say the Pledge again. If we (I) don't teach them that there are rules to things like this, no one will. There's a serious issue with these kinds of circumstances. No one teaches it to kids anymore and it's kind of infuriating.
    I saw a teacher walking down the hall the other day during the Pledge. No. That's not what kids need to see. You're supposed to STOP for the Pledge. We don't have enough good examples being set.

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    1. I fully agree with Kristin on this one. Usually I agree with Steph but on this particular issue, Kristin said what I would have. I'm not going to roast Kaepernick at the stake for it, but I also don't agree with it. But therein lies the beauty of America, we don't all have to think the same.

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  4. Very well said. This quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall aptly sums up my thoughts, "I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Personally, I wouldn't ever sit during the national anthem...but that's me. I also have an American Flag hanging from my porch. No is forcing me to do it or not do it and that's what is amazing about America. Land of the FREE.

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  5. Agree 100%! I think the keyword is respect. I absolutely have zero problem with any of the groups out there to protest on something (regardless if I agree with what they stand for), as long as they do it in a peaceful, respectable manner. Once they start doing crazy stuff that endangers others and themselves, that's when I have an issue with it. It's all about respect really. Always love your posts on these topics, as you bring a really good perspective.

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  6. I legit do not even have a response to this because I agree with absolutely every fucking word (my favorite: I may not like what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. YES. SO MUCH YES).

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  7. people will spew all kinds of awful shit but if they're standing in one spot, not hurting anything, anyone or anyone's property, then let them spew their shit. people seem to forget that they have a a choice to either listen (and get mad at what is being said) or walk away so they don't have to listen; either way, everyone has a right to speak freely.

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  8. Very much agree with your opinion! I have seen so many things lately that make me so sad. We're supposed to be free. But, it seems like we're only as free as is approved by the 'internet police' and our neighbors.

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  9. Phew... well said!!! I must share!

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  10. Our country is based on freedoms... for sure.
    Doesnt play well with a world full of people that get offended so easily nowadays.

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  11. No comment I write will do this justice. Poignant, smart and well said.

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  12. People have gotten quite ridiculous these days. I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with a little peaceably assemble to stand in what you believe for. But at the end of the day respect is the most important thing and what I feel is lacking more often than not. I can respect that other people believe or see things differently than I do, and as long as we aren't hurting each other then what does it matter? Well said.

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  13. Well said.
    I haven't thought much about this story- mainly because I heard about what he did and thought, "Ok, I understand where he's coming from"- but when I think about it I'm actually really sad for Kaepernick. I guarantee his decision to sit wasn't taken lightly. It probably killed him to do that. I'm sure he is so passionate about the US and what this country offers or is supposed to offer. And I'm sure that he'd like to stand, but he just can't in good conscious- which is 100% permissible in this country.

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  14. I was born in Korea and adopted by my parents when I was six months old. And every day I am so incredibly grateful for not only an amazing and supportive family, but also for the fact that I get to live in the greatest country in the world. It is not perfect, far from it. But it also amazing. I believe in tolerance and respect and FREEDOM. It's okay if you don't agree with Colin Kaepernick and voice your opinion, but you have to respect that others may not agree with your opinion and voice their own. That's what makes America awesome (I was going to say great, but couldn't for obvious reasons). Some days it scares me when I see so much hate exposed because that is not the America I know and love. But I remain hopeful because there are also so many people without hate in their heart, are tolerant and accepting and also believe in the very best parts of America.

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  15. I can always count on you to say exactly how I feel and to say it so eloquently!

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  16. I really appreciate that high profile athletes are standing up for themselves and issues they believe in. Folks didn't like when Lebron wore an "I can't breathe" shirt in warmup to call attention to the Black Lives Matter movement either. I respect the hell out of Colin and Lebron. I don't know what it's like living in this country and be judged and treated differently because of the color of my skin, and I'm happy for them to take a stand (or seat, as the case may be) and protest however they see fit.

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  17. yes, this. it's infuriating to see how many people are infuriated by his (peaceful) action and how hypocritical everyone is. i saw a clip of that blonde dingbat who does that stupid "final thoughts" segment (Tomi Lahren) and almost threw my computer out the window.

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  18. This was a good reminder for me . . . I thought it was disrespectful for him to sit but he does, indeed, have that right, whether I like it or not.

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  19. my favourite thing about posts like this from you is that you always make me see things in a way that i didn't before. not because i disagreed, but because i don't think my mind goes there most of the time. so thank you for that.
    however... Boxing Day is the SHIT. it's like black friday only better. haha jk.

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  20. I agree with everything you said, and for the sake of not creating an echo chamber, I'll just leave my comment at that. Great, great post.
    (Especially because of this line: "This country was birthed out of the vagina of a protest" — perfect.)

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    1. YES! I'm with Alyssa. That line was everything.

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  21. I agree. Democracy and the freedoms we are afforded are not easy. It means listening to someone spew some of the most vile things one could ever hear, things that rock you to your core, but defending their right to say it none-the-less.

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  22. So much yes. My news feed is full of so much negative crap about him now and I am over it. Of course, those people also have the freedom to say that, just like he has the freedom to sit during the anthem (but why am I FB friends with all these small-minded people from my small town that I haven't spoken to in years or ever?). But the people who think he should be punished or fired...yeah, that's pretty unconstitutional, guys.

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  23. Ah so much yes. Protesting is basically the MOST American thing you can do.

    I'm not mad at CK...but I also don't think he is a) a martyr, or b) actually affecting change. It feels like a shallow move to me. And not even close to the most important thing going on in our country right now.

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