Colin Kaepernick Has A Point In National Anthem Stance, But He Should Never Surrender The Flag

Colin Kaepernick Has A Point In National Anthem Stance, But He Should Never Surrender The Flag

What So Proudly We Hail

Colin Kaepernick in perspective.

Colin Kaepernick has every right to sit out the national anthem for whatever reason he wants to. Ticket holders, fans, citizens and the media have every right to think he’s an asshole for doing so. This is exactly what the flag is intended to represent, in my opinion: his, mine, and your freedom to express ourselves and voice our feelings freely and publicly without prosecution.

I don’t ever want to live in an Orwellian nation-state that compels someone to stand or pay respect. And you don’t either.

I find it tragic and erroneous that this is what Kaepernick finds the flag represents. By claiming the flag represents ideals contrary to your beliefs you’re actively surrendering the notion that America can represent you.

I don’t like that unarmed people of color are continually gunned down by authorities with little to no legal ramifications. I don’t like that law enforcement is continually put in these high pressure tense situations. I don’t like that people charged with our safety, our education or our defense feel continually unappreciated. But I don’t believe any side, regardless of perception, owns the flag. As broken and disoriented as our system is – and the “choices” we’ve been “given” in 73 days proves it – America still has the framework provided to fix any ills that ail her. She’s been doing it for 240 years now.

Surrendering The Flag Is No Way To Achieve A More Perfect Union

What our fore bearers fought and died for is your right to make things better.

I am going to set aside my suspicions that this is an attention-seeking antic by a failing backup quarterback who’s going to see less than 100 snaps in what’s left of a once promising career and believe that he’s sincere. To which I would say:

I’m sorry that this what you think America represents and I don’t dispute the problems that exist, they are REAL problems and, no pun intended, the issues aren’t black and white. However, what our fore bearers fought and died for, on foreign shores and the vast Pacific and right here in places like Gettysburg, Seneca Falls, Montgomery, Kent State, the Stonewall Inn and a few short blocks away from that at 1&2 World Trade Center was your right to make it better. The flag that Francis Scott Key wrote of was the same flag that flew at Iwo Jima. It was the same flag planted on the moon.

She was carried across the Edmund Pettus bridge, as brave peaceful patriots demanding their inalienable rights walked into a hornets nest of billy clubs, German Shepherds and fire hoses. She was found battered and shredded in smoldering ruins of metal, flesh and bone in Lower Manhattan and was hoisted proudly from the ashes.

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You have let the world know how you feel. Sitting on your ass for 90 seconds each week isn’t going to do a damned thing to change a sliver of any issue you want to change. You are not Rosa Parks, you’re a backup quarterback. And you’ve made tens of millions of dollars in the NFL. If you haven’t noticed, money equals influence. If you really want to enact change, there are countless organizations across the country looking for funding to ensure every single citizen has a voice in the land. A donation to them would do far more good than this stunt ever will. Using what’s left of your celebrity to draw attention in a more amicable way would as well.

Many people feel as you do – lost and underrepresented. Unlike you, they lack the ability to put their money where their mouths are.

Above all else, please reconsider the way you interpret the flag. That flag belongs to the person senselessly murdered in the streets as it does to the person firing the shot. That flag belongs to all of us. Wounded warrior and anti-war demonstrator. Democrat and Republican. Hardened atheist and Televangelist. Prisoner and correction officer. The pickup truck where it shares space with a Dixie flag and the Subaru where it’s placed next to a rainbow one.

ALL of Us.

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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)