mething to the effect of, "Our military didn't fight and die so you can disrespect the flag."
Yes, they did.
Because in this country, we are
guaranteed the freedom of our speech, the freedom to dissent, and the
freedom to seek redress of grievances. And the freedom of speech, in
particular, is a guarantee to speech that is NOT popular, NOT the norm,
and NOT what the majority of people think. Because you don't have to
protect popular speech, normal speech, or the speech of the majority.
That speech is protected by its bulk.
I've read others saying, "there oughta be a law..." It
would be unconstitutional. And, before the case was decided by the
Supreme Court, it would be a law that demanded to be violated. Just like
the Jim Crow laws in the south that led to the Civil Rights movement.
The prime defense in the Nuremberg Trials at the end of World War II,
when the surviving Nazi bigwigs were put on trial for their war crimes,
was, "I was just following orders." It didn't work. It never works. We
are each responsible for ourselves. You abide by an immoral law, you are
an immoral person. Such a law would never stand.
I admire Colin Kaepernick. He took a
stand, or a seat as it were, based on his clearly articulated grievances
with our country. I think he is right in his named grievances. Clearly,
there are major issues for people of color in the United States of
America. I also admire that he, apparently, made the decision to take
the heat that will be heaped upon him now. There is no more draconian
institution in America than the National Football League. Since
Kaepernick has been a marginal player, at best, since the year he led
the 49ers to the Super Bowl, he will likely be fined, may be suspended,
and I doubt anyone in the league would criticize the 49ers if they
released him. But, remembering the parallels again, John Lewis was
beaten half to death, Martin Luther King was murdered, Schwerner,
Chaney, and Goodman were murdered, James Meredith was shot, Medgar Evers
was murdered, and on and on and on, for standing up for what they
believed. America may guaranteed the freedom of speech, but there is no
guarantee that you won't be killed for it, either literally of
figuratively, by the most un-American of Americans.
But no matter how loudly the popular
speech today may condemn Colin Kaepernick for sitting, this country was
built precisely on the principle that he, indeed, could do it. And I'm grateful to him, and every
other American, who has taken this country at its words. Those in the
Constitution. Not the words of Fox "News" or Rush Limbaugh or Donald
Trump. But the words, largely written by James Madison, perfected by the
Constitutional Convention, ratified by the original states, and
accepted by every state that has joined the Union since. They are the
only words that matter. And Colin Kaepernick was genuinely American and
patriotic in trusting and relying on them.
Whether you like it or not. Especially if you don't like it.