Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Protesting The National Anthem

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, recently set off a national firestorm when he publicly protested during the playing of the National Anthem before an NFL game. He then did the same again by kneeling during the anthemthis time during the team's season opener on Monday Night Football and just one day after the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

Kaepernick says it is a protest is against the treatment of  "black people and people of color" in the U.S. and that when he feels that the flag represents what it's supposed to represent in this country, then he will again stand during the song. Obviously controversy has arisen within the NFL and around the entire nation with some taking his side and others finding his actions out of place and deplorable.

The NFL quarterback, and those who support him, declare that his public protest is within his constitutional rights. And like it or not, that is the reality of the matter. But I find it interesting that the very first thing used to defend his freedom to protest the anthem is the same document that gives him the right to follow his present course of actions. It is this document that enables him to freely live out the American dream on the massive scale he today enjoys. I wonder how his public and political words and actions would be met had he been offering them up in Iran, Iraq or North Korea?

Is America perfect when it comes to racial equality and total harmony of all who reside within her borders? Of course not. But America has come a long way and was at least founded on a vision and  principles that pretty much were. First there was the Declaration of Independence. The beginning of this great document set the tone for what would hopefully follow. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It began stating that "all were created equal" and therefore were deserving of fair and equal treatment and opportunity. That was the goal and foundation even if those things were badly lacking at the time and an obvious work in progress for many years to come.

Then came the Constitutionanother historical masterpiece and one devised to protect a way of life that has been the envy of the entire world since its inception. The preamble reads, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." This companion document contains the Bill of Rights. These are the first 10 amendments therein and  protect "we the people" in nearly every imaginable area of life and from almost every area of domestic tyranny.

Again, is America perfect? No. But she is certainly far ahead of whoever is in second place. Even the constitution recognizes that when it opens with, "in Order to form a more perfect Union." That’s a "more perfect union" meaning that flaws would exist and needed to be addressed. The authors recognized that national perfection would never be a total reality because most of them knew we live in a fallen and sinful world. But the intention was at least there and the vehicles put in place to pursue that lofty goal over time.

Colin Kaepernick has the right to protest what he feels is an to be an injustice. And again, it would be wrong to say that no such thing exists todayin many differing areas of life. For example, increasing and unchecked persecution of Christians and Christianity would be firmly in the mix. So perhaps he might consider balancing out some of his criticism with what American has afforded so many along with him in his young life.

Maybe Mr. Kaepernick could try taking his special skills to a more fair-minded and just place elsewhere in the world and try to make the insane amounts of money playing a game here? Maybe he should consider buying his own small nation with the vast sums of money that a life in an imperfect culture has provided him? Or maybe he should just simply trade places with 99% of the world’s people who would give anything, including risking their lives to get into a nation where things are not quite "perfect" enough for his liking? And maybe he would rather reside somewhere with absolutely no rights at all or the ability to vote to enable the changes in the society he feels need to be made?

Or maybe, just maybe, this highly blessed man could pause and thank God for being able to live, thrive and even speak his mind in the most perfect, while imperfect, nation on the face of the earth? Just saying!

Bill Breckenridge

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