That Right To Speak Freely

In case you haven’t heard there is a a National Football League player who has, and will continue, to refuse to stand for the national anthem at football games.

As an American, he has that right granted to him by the Constitution of the United States of America.  No, he does not have to stand up and pay respects to his country.  I understand from what I have read that he has his reasons and his concerns.  I appreciate that he believes in what he is promoting and that he is knowingly putting his career in jeopardy (my opinion).

I don’t agree with him.  That’s my right.

But I don’t want to ‘bash’ him as much as I want to understand him.

I find it interesting that he feels this country, and I take umbrage at him enveloping all Americans in that statement,  “oppresses black people and people of color”.   He, himself a man of ‘color’ according to the biographies I can find about him, does not seem to have lived an oppressed life.  I am only taking what I see at face value, I don’t know him, but he does not appear to have lived an oppressed life.

I believe he has every right to voice his opinion and take action in any way he sees fit.

But I believe I have the right to want to understand this action because he made it a public action.   And I freely admit that I don’t fully understand it.  I know I cannot relate to his perception of life, nor can he relate to mine.  Enter:  conversation.

I searched out some of his statements today and again, can’t hate the man for taking a stance.  Though I question some of his motive.

What I don’t understand is showing disrespect, or lack of respect, to a country that not only allows him to speak up but encourages him to speak up.  A country who gives him that right to speak freely.  Act freely.  And be protected in doing so.   I have to admit, I was greatly impressed with reading about some of the people who support him and the manner and verbage they used in supporting him.  Many of them veterans.  I can’t say I am impressed with the constant racism bashing going on, from all sides.  But those who speak honestly about how they feel, and express calmly why they respect or support his actions, even if they disagree.

My feelings are not important to what he is doing.  But I can’t help but wonder.  And my thoughts continue to go round and round in a circle.   He said he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” and yet the country he is not going to stand up to show pride in gives him opportunity, a living, and a stage to express his agenda.

I am impressed with the Americans willing to discuss.  And they do exist despite what the press presents to the world.

I am impressed with the Americans who do not agree and do so with respect.

I am impressed with the Americans who agree and do so with respect.

I am impressed with those who enter into discussion about this regardless of what they agree or disagree with.

 I don’t agree with his action.   But if his action was to get people talking, it worked.  So, when does he show respect to the country that is talking about what he wanted them to talk about?