Colin Kaepernick is one man. He’s one man who is entitled to his own opinions and his ability to express them as he wishes.
What this man received for his outlook on our nation was shouting. Often when an issue is presented there is lots of shouting. Not conversation or thought, but shouting.
The issues Kaepernick brings up are topics that need to be discussed, and rather than shouting and shaming the man for what he did, it is better to discuss his reasoning and try to fix the disjointed nation which he represents.
It seems, as a country, we’ve grown apart and try to invoke our own will upon every situation. Also, it seems as though we’ve stopped listening to each other. Rather than booing Kaepernick for what he did, it would be more logical to listen to him, make sense of what he’s trying to say, and respect that, whether it’s right or wrong.
Our flag is intensely meaningful to our country, so to disrespect it is ignorant. However, Kaepernick’s choice is deemed acceptable under this grand flag, so his message is what should be discussed. In one article by a fellow opinion writer William Flannery, titled “Cooperation requires help from both sides,” Flannery argues that police and the community should work together to create a safe environment for all. This is Kaepernick’s message.
Today, there is a constant clash of cultures in our society, and it is one man’s word against another. You can’t open your mouth without a political interjection. Instead of taking action on what is presented by the voice of all the people, we now veer towards reacting.
In a spontaneous reaction to something that has occurred, the media turns it into a spectacle of outrage for the purpose of entertainment. So when Kaepernick sat during the national anthem, of course the reaction would be to make a ruckus and boo his disrespect.
When we stand for our national anthem, it is out of respect for those that fought, and died, and for those who continue to fight. And amidst the turmoil and anger, we must listen to one another, and work together to fix the issues that exist. We must listen to ideas, and expand them, spread them across oceans around the world. As Ronald Reagan put it, “America is a shining city upon a hill, a beacon for the entire world to see.”
In our free country, we are given the opportunity to express ourselves and our opinions as we choose, but now, by causes of media and problems left unsolved, we find ourselves taking other’s ideas and finding everything wrong with them, creating a problem out of them, and expressing hate instead of love.
So, with all things considered, the problems Kaepernick brings up are that of discrimination, racism, and violence. These issues go back to the epoch of slavery and racial segregation. Today, we’ve lessened oppression, but how did we do it?
Well, we improved because some individuals were bold and went into the world to make a change, and people listened, and they followed. When the voices of the people came together to demonstrate change, change happened. When, instead of making a problem a bigger problem, we were courageous and beckoned change, change happened.
Our problems aren’t going to fix themselves, and Kaepernick stood for what he believes and beckons change, in his own way. It is his right to protest in this way, and what we need to do is not discuss whether he is right or wrong, but rather we must listen.
It’s not all about Colin Kaepernick, and it’s not about a single issue. It’s about being bold in the world and creating change within communities, nations, and around the world.
Illustration Credit: Maya Avelar / The Foothill Dragon Press