As the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem drags on, I want to write another post looking at this issue from another perspective. Although many people, including myself, are getting tired of this constantly being in the news as it never seeming to die off and go away, I think that this is an important thought to be heard. If you weren’t able to tell, my last post on this controversy was 100% sarcasm. Everything I said in that post is exactly the opposite of how I really feel. But I can assure you that this one is truly my own perspective and not a sarcastic take.
It’s been very apparent that the Anthem protests have upset many conservatives, including myself. Some conservatives have even said that NFL players who kneel for the Anthem are unamerican. I would have to disagree with that. This might confuse you because I have been very clear about where I stand on this controversy, which in short is that I think Kaepernick and any other players who kneel are garbage people and are very disrespectful to the service men and women who keep our country safe and that it’s all just a publicity stunt and a way to bring attention to themselves.
But as garbage people as I think they are and regardless of how much I disagree with what they’re doing, the truth be told, I think that exercising your right to protest is one of the most American things you can do as long as you’re not harming anyone. This is especially so since many other countries don’t have the freedoms that we have here in America. It doesn’t matter if you’re protesting a truly just cause or something stupid like NFL players are doing or people who protest President Trump, protesting as long as no violence is caused is a very American thing. Countries such as North Korea have laws that prevent their citizens from having hardly any rights or freedoms at all. Last year in Saudi Arabia, 14 people were executed for protesting in favor of democracy instead of accepting the current government form.
America is the greatest country in the history of the world for two reasons. The first reason is the Judeo-Christian values we were founded on. The idea that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and that government ought to be put into place to secure these God-given rights (Declaration of Independence). These values are the basis for the rights and freedoms we have in America which are listed in the Bill of Rights. Some of these rights include the right to bear arms, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of religion, and the right to free speech, which also includes the right to protest as long as you’re not harming anyone. These are some of the values and freedoms that our country was founded on and the founders believed in protecting them at all costs.
I don’t understand how anyone could say that exercising the rights given to you by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is “un-American.” While I think there’s an argument to be made that you’re unpatriotic, you’re certainly not un-American. The difference between patriotism and Americanism is subjectivity versus objectivity. Americanism is objective in that it is what makes America, America. Things like the English language, our system of government, how our society operates, institutions, etc. Those are the things that make America what is it. Patriotism, on the other hand, is subjective in that is it more of a love and devotion to your country and “a sense of alliance with other citizens who share the same values.” When I think of patriotism, I think of the American flag waving in the wind, fireworks going off, people shooting their guns and drinking American-made beer. However, others might view patriotism as something more different than I do.
A truly fascinating poll was done by Gallup.com which showed what percentage of Americans are “extremely proud” to be an American. The latest results from early July of this year show a record-low only 47% of Americans are proud to be American. This has been part of a steady decline since around 2013 when it was at 57% and has dropped 4 points since last year. Among that 47 %, and this is what I think is the most interesting part, 74% of Republicans are proud to be an American, and only 32% of Democrats are proud. Another interesting part of this is that in 2016, we see a change in percentage from both parties. While Republicans have been relatively steady in their “proudness” and when 2016 hits, that number starts going up, which is likely due to President Trump’s election, Democrats, on the other hand, see a steady decrease between 2013 and 2017 and then in the latest poll, their number drops dramatically since last year. What I’m interpreting from this poll is that regardless of who the president is, Republicans are generally much more proud of their country while Democrats are only more proud when a fellow Democrat is in office. Pride in your country should not depend on who is in office. You should have pride because of the freedoms we have, not because the person you like is the president or not.
Now, how does all of this, NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the data from the poll, and Judeo-Christian values tie in together? As a closing statement, all of these things are interconnected because one thing leads to another: Judeo-Christian values led to our Constitution and Bill of Rights, which in turn gave us all the freedoms we have, which in turn gives NFL players and anyone else to protest whatever they want. Many people don’t recognize that each of these things fuels the other and many would even deny it. If you don’t recognize this relationship, I would encourage you to think it through and really think about what you just read. If you deny this relationship, I would encourage you to rethink your stance. If you’re like me and accept this relationship, talk to others who disagree with you. The only way we can help bridge the gap of the political divide in our country is to have these valuable conversations.