There isn't a day I go on Facebook lately where people aren't arguing over the perverse race problems currently plaguing our country. The Colin Kaepernick controversy has been an especially hot topic with both a new NFL season and the spike in racial tensions across the United States in recent years. But there's somewhat of a harsh reality countless people are failing to recognize, so it's time for a little wake up call.
Whether you like it or not, Kaepernick actually has a right to offend people via the First Amendment. And let me tell you something, it's not the entire country of the United States he is standing up against like you might think. He doesn't hate us all. He's simply exercising his right to express his opinion against what he perceives to be an oppressing force. I mean, why would you want to stand in solidarity with a system that oppresses certain people's rights?
Take, for instance, the recent death of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa. An unarmed black man was killed without even committing a crime simply because officers believed he, "looked like a bad guy." In reality, he was looking for assistance after his car had broken down in the middle of the road, but Officer Betty Shelby supposedly determined that even with his hands up, he was still an imminent threat to public safety.
This man had no firearms in the vehicle. He had not committed a crime. No drugs or any sort of illegal paraphernalia were found on the scene, yet he still is shot and killed. If roles were reversed and a group of black cops began oppressing white, how would you respond to your rights being infringed upon?
This is the epitome of Kaepernick's protest. Not only that, but men and women died to protect freedom of speech and a citizen's right to protest against atrocities, not to blindly follow a nationalistic system clearly oppressing a portion of the population. The hashtag #VeterensforKaepernick defends these ideals rather than support the nationalistic perspective infecting the country as of late, including rantings from "journalists" such as Tomi Lahren of The Blaze.
Many of these service members don't see Kaepernick's form of protest as a sign of disrespect. Instead, they see it as a symbol for the very liberty they fight for day-in and day-out. If anything, they are appreciative that their service could allow someone to speak up for something they believe in rather than submitting to any form oppression. Oppression is the very thing many see themselves fighting against.
It should be eye-opening to any commentator, amateur or professional, seeing the veterans and current service members standing with the so-called "enemy." They recognize that racial problems should not be ignored. But more importantly, they respect his form of protest and his courage to stand up (or in this case, kneel) against a massive issue facing this country.
So long as he doesn't promote violence against police, Kaepernick is protected by the first amendment right to Freedom of Speech to protest which ever way he chooses. In reality, the Internet trolls themselves tend to violate their own first amendment rights by inciting hate and violence against Kaepernick for his "lack of respect." Calling Kaepernick or anyone of color standing up for their rights any kind of racial slur won't change anyone's opinion or gain respect. It just makes you look like a jackass.
A song means less to many veterans and current service members than the rights of the people they find themselves serving and protecting on a daily basis. They don't go out there to protect a melody, they're out fighting for the rights they believe we deserve to have and maintain, no matter the circumstance. If you want to respect them, you should respect all walks of life in this country.