I have been somewhat silent politically for many months now. I am sure that what I have to say may raise a few hackles, but that cannot be helped.
Freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed to us by the first amendment to the United States Constitution. It states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the National Anthem, regardless of whether you agree or condemn, is about one citizen exercising his first amendment rights. It is against the law to prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment rights. Likewise, whether you agree or condemn, those white supremacists were doing exactly the same thing, right up until the peaceable assembly was no longer peaceable.
I have my feelings about both of these scenarios. I love my country, I love my flag, and I love the National Anthem (both listening to it, and performing it), so it rankles a bit when someone does something I would not do. But if Colin Kaepernick wants to take a knee during the National Anthem in a silent, non-violent protest, he has my full support. On the other hand, the marchers in Charlottesville came armed with torches and weapons and screamed racist and bigoted words meant to incite violence. Indeed, one of their number saw fit to use his car to mow down people standing in protest to the marchers, killing one, injuring many. Regardless of how fervently I disagree with the horrible, racist ideas they espouse, I support their right to their opinions and their assembly, but the founding fathers never intended any person or group to exercise their rights in the hope of deliberately removing those same rights from others, either physically or verbally.
Citizenship is not easy. Freedom in this country comes with rights and responsibilities. We should be asking ourselves three questions before we engage in any activity: Is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it harmful? The minute one of those lines is crossed, you are abusing your freedoms, and abuse of those rights comes with consequences, some legal and some just the price you pay for standing by your beliefs.
Everything Colin Kaepernick has done has been legal, ethical, and harmed no one. Unfortunately, he and his like-minded players will be paying the price for standing by their beliefs, because we live in a world of intolerant and judgmental beings. It’s not something I would do, but I admire the courage of conviction he has shown in doing it and persevering in it. People are upset because they see only a man of color “disrespecting” his country.
No. He is an American citizen, legally, ethically, and non-violently exercising his first amendment rights in exactly the way our founding fathers intended. If anything he is showing ultimate respect for the wisdom of our constitution.
The marchers in Charlottesville started out legally, but incited violence. They will have to pay the price both legally and for standing up for their beliefs. What they have done, what they believe, and what they espouse Makes. My. Blood. Boil. My father and uncles fought, and two uncles died, to bring an end to Nazi tyranny, genocide, and murder. We lost more men in the civil war than in all other wars combined to end slavery and preserve the union. But if the white supremacists want to march and protest, it is their right. This is the freedom every deceased veteran fought to gain and preserve. But they have no right to cause injury to others by their words or actions.
Attempting to deny anyone else of the rights they themselves are exercising is contrary to everything our constitution stands for and was written to protect.
It is good to keep in mind, that all men and women are created equal. Regardless of race, religion, gender, or life style, we are all human beings of common ancestry. And although the white supremacists would disagree, science has now proven that our civilization started with 100% people of color. Caucasians have only existed for several thousand years…obviously some kind of aberrant gene somewhere along the line, a random genetic mistake. It was NOT God’s plan for a superior race.