So, in case you missed it, during the National Anthem playing of last weekend’s preseason football game, 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during it, as is tradition to do so in our country, and is now catching so much shit for it, it’s right up there with when the Dixie Chicks (God forbid) criticized President Bush in the post 9/11 era. He later explained in an interview that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (‘Colin Kaepernick Explains Why He Sat During National Anthem’ NFL.com)
And I fully agree with him. He may have lived a good life, but everyone has a breaking point where you can’t just blindly stand up and support a country that treats it’s own citizens like this. Sure, he’s where he his because of the freedoms this country offers, but that freedom always has an asterisk by it, there’s the fine print that a lot of people don’t care to look at. Land of the Free (as long as you’re white, a male, have money already, or if you fall into another category, have something that white people can use, athletic talent, or creative talent, or just invent something that they can use, and then you know what, you’re okay in our book, come on in.)
I say this as a veteran of the Navy, I served my country, but never have I ever served it blindly. Loving it because it’s great. I love the country still, but I don’t like it a lot of the time, and the more I read and see things, the more I don’t even like it. But I’m not going to leave and move elsewhere because just cause this country is like family. You have to love it, doesn’t mean you have to like it or agree with it 100% of the time.
I really thought we were past this jingoistic age of you have to love our country, no matter what. Apparently not. This country has done and is doing some really terrible things to other human beings, other citizens in this land of the free with an asterisk. And yeah, it’s easier to just turn a blind eye and just move on with our lives while ignoring the pain of others, but we shouldn’t, and I won’t, not anymore. I don’t have much to really offer, but my opinion and my voice, and these words that I’m typing right now, but I’m done living with my eyes shut. I’m standing with Kaep here. Or I guess, sitting would be the appropriate word here. We need to do better, and better, smarter people with more influence than I need to change how things are, remove that asterisk and the parentheses, and just make this the place that it needs to be, Land of the Free, for everyone. And yes, I mean everyone.