I would take a knee for Colin Kaepernick to show support for his cause, but I fear I wouldn’t be able to get back up. Despite the fact that I’m a white woman, I bet he would give me a hand up if I did.
I think it’s important to note that he is not breaking the law when he drops to his knee. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that we cannot force citizens to participate in these so-called patriotic rituals. These include both the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.
Some would argue that it’s one of our American traditions. And that’s true. But consider, if you will, that tradition isn’t always a good thing. Slavery comes to mind. Not educating girls and women. Male/female pay inequity. I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the picture
Those whose religion teaches that one’s allegiance should be only to God do not pledge to the flag nor do they put their right hand over their heart during the National Anthem. Pay close attention the next time you watch a game on TV. You may spot people on the field or in the crowd who are not participating. They are within their rights not to.
Part of being free is not being forced to show loyalty. Not to the flag, the President, the anthem, the country. I remember the flag burners during the Vietnam war. I was horrified when I saw them on the nightly news burning Old Glory. I wondered, “What are they thinking?” That’s when I took a long hard look at what freedom means in the United States.
One of our most important rights is our freedom to express ourselves. It is so important that it’s included in the First Amendment. That’s what the flag burners were doing: they were protesting what they considered an unnecessary and unjust war. That’s what Kaepernick is doing; calling attention to police brutality. That’s what protesters all over this country are doing; giving energy and importance to issues that matter to them. It’s their right. It’s our right.
I don’t believe that we have a duty to honor these cultural traditions. I personally respect and observe them because I choose to. But I don’t expect someone else to do as I do when their conscience tells them otherwise.
I’m not sure whether voting is a duty. Some call it a privilege. I consider it my duty. When the polls are open I’m going to go vote. Well, generally I early vote.
This November, North Carolina and several other states have midterm elections. This is an important election. Please vote.