side bar
logo
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Columns

Kaepernick’s protest a display of patriotism


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a role model and, most importantly, an American hero.

Kaepernick is not a “n-word,” isn’t “un-American,” not a “traitor” or any of the descriptors people have placed on him after he exercised his First Amendment right to not stand for the national anthem.

It’s a procedure that is not a law of this great country. It’s not a rule of the NFL. What Kaepernick did was one of the most American things you could possibly do.

This is a country that was founded under protest. Paul Revere, Ben Franklin and Samuel Adams would have been proud of what the 49ers quarterback has done.

It’s funny how the dissenters always forget the country’s rich history. The Boston Tea Party or the American Revolution were events of protest.

The irony in the name of one of U.S. history’s most-celebrated documents, the Declaration of Independence, has really been lost on many this week. It was literally written to free colonies from an oppressed ruler and a system that unfairly treated the people in the west of the Atlantic.

Sounds familiar.

Kaepernick’s treatment has been really disappointing to see — especially the excuses many keep using to justify their criticism. The military is not a buffer you can use every time you want to feel patriotic.

It’s downright egregious and disgusting how this country uses the military for political and social gain. These men and women sacrificed their lives to afford us the protection of our most sacred laws, one of which includes the right to protest.

Everyone’s uproar for Kaepernick’s apparent disrespect and lack of understanding makes no sense. Most of these people couldn’t care less about the thousands of veterans struggling with joblessness and homelessness across the country.

Believing in American exceptionalism is not the only way to express your patriotism. There’s also using your voice and actions to speak out against injustice.

Slavery doesn’t end if someone doesn’t speak up and proclaim emancipation.  Women can’t vote if someone doesn’t assemble conventions and demand what is right. Discrimination, although still prevalent, wouldn’t have been addressed if a particular minister and activist didn’t have a dream.

These were all unpopular protests in the eyes of many, but they still ended up making this country better.

Many critics have mentioned the amount of money Kaepernick has made in his career, his adoption by a white family and his lack of hardship to discredit his protest. These things have absolutely nothing to do with the cause he is fighting for.

In fact, he’s doing exactly what he should be doing, using his platform and money to speak on issues that need awareness. The rich and powerful do it all the time when they donate millions of dollars to their political party. Actions speak louder than words.

When Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran, blew up a building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, people weren’t questioning his patriotism. He killed 168 people and injured more than 600 writers,

When Dylann Roof killed nine innocent people in a predominantly black church in Charleston, he was not killed by law enforcement. He was escorted with the full protection of the police, a bulletproof vest and was reportedly allowed to eat Burger King because he was hungry.

And yet we complain about Kaepernick’s nonviolent, silent protest of a flag he feels doesn’t represent the America he wants to see.

This is a country with a proud history of wanting to be three or four steps ahead without ever looking back. But whenever people and citizens try to do that, many still want to look back to the “good ole days,” or, in today’s vernacular, they want to “Make America Great Again.”

They want it back to a time when the country seemed a lot less brown.

The U.S. is at its best when a dissenting voice has its place at the table. This country doesn’t improve when you try to muzzle the echoes of the oppressed and the silent. We need those opinions so we can be better and stronger together.

Thank you, Colin, for helping many realize what it truly means to be an American.

Opinion columnist Odus Evbagharu is a political science junior and can be reached at [email protected]

Tags: ,


Back to Top ↑