DIALOGUE AND DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT AND RACE
Most recently the news has been about how disrespectful it was for Colin Kaepernick’s choice to not stand during the National Anthem prior to the kickoff of a football game. In response to his action, he was called everything from unpatriotic to epithets by those who were offended or insulted by his act of protest. I’m not sure how many people actually saw the game or witnessed him refusing to stand, to which he clearly articulated why he decided to do so but the outrage was expressed nonetheless. Just as Colin decided to exercise his right to protest, many others equally exercised their right to oppose his act of protest.
Not that I am speaking for all with the same experience but I having “served” in the military and also as a Deputy Sheriff do not find offense with his act of protest. I do not expect some undying sign or symbol of gratitude for my time of employment in either field, because that’s all it was a job that I received payment and benefits in return for my labor. I feel no need to attempt to glorify or aggrandize either. What has seemed to have been missed is an opportunity to discuss coming together in a true attempt that people have a right to exist on the planet they were born in. More focus has been placed on arguments regarding either how disrespectful it was for him to not honor those who fought and died for his right to protest or arguments for his right to protest.
Despite missing an opportunity to discuss solutions, I wonder how many of those who feel the need to defend the honor of veterans actually honor the vets they speak of. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness Fact Sheet, in January 2014, communities across America identified 49,933 homeless veterans. Is it simply enough to chastise one person for disrespected with examples such as homelessness that show that all veterans in need aren’t made whole. How many of those offended take the time to visit veterans homes and hospitals to spend time with those who made the sacrifice spoken of. How many of those offended have walked by a vet shaking a cup asking for spare change, rolled up their windows and stared stone faced ahead as that beggar, who could be a veteran, stands at a traffic intersection asking for a handout. Some chose to not only purchase a Kaepernick jersey, but burn the jersey as a sign of disgust, would those same people scoff at the idea of giving the money it cost to purchase a jersey to a veteran sleeping or begging on a street corner? I’m not beyond reproach on this issue but at the same time I know its more convenient to stand up for the anthem as a sign of respect or wave the U.S. flag proudly on Veterans day, than it is to truly make a sacrifice to honor the men and women who make and made that precious sacrifice that many have decided to defend at this moment.
Instead of evolving as the higher thinking people we make claim to be, another opportunity appears to have been wasted. I think Kaepernick spoke of the injustices and oppression he sought to bring light to, the same way the framers of the United States spoke of the injustices and oppressive actions of their government. Not only did they list their grievances, they went to war with their former government to obtain what they felt as their right to exist. Most if not all of these framers not only had access to education that the majority of colonists were not privy to but they also had economic means that the majority of colonists did not have. Sounds very familiar to the pompous action of an ungrateful millionaire refusing to stand in respect of a government that afforded him the opportunity at such wealth. Now why are the actions of the framers of the U.S. applauded but how dare anyone else seek such freedom from injustice and oppression.
The pledge of allegiance, that we learned in school ends with “and justice for all.” Are these just words that we learned to repeat or have we exhausted every possibility to put the meaning of those words into effect. What exactly is this appropriate way to protest grievances? I’m pretty sure those offended don’t wish to be told the appropriate way to show honor, reverence and respect anymore than those seeking equality wish to be told how to protest. When it comes to equality, freedom and justice for all what exactly is the fear of obtaining that? We try and teach our children that we can achieve what we put our minds to how about lets demonstrate achieving what we put our collective minds to.