I disagree with both of those people’s methods of protest. I believe more practical methods of protest are more effective. Such as the methods used by Martin Luther King. I salute the flag that represents the freedoms I hold dear even though many Americans no longer value those freedoms. However, as an American I respect them. Here are three reasons why.
The National Football League (NFL) players are getting heat all over the country for kneeling during the national anthem. Donald Trump declared that they should be fired. Mike Pence walked out on a NFL game in protest.
This isn’t a new concept. As a child, I remember reading a book in which a teacher refused to pay allegiance to the flag. Although she stood for the values the flag represented, she didn’t think that America embodied those beliefs yet. Until they did, she would continue to stand respectfully refusing to pay allegiance. That story was burned into my mind and reminded me there is a deep and sacred meaning in pay allegiance to a flag or a country.
Colin Kapernick has similar reason for taking the knee. Eric Reid explains why he choose that form of protest in his article “Why Colin Kapernick decided to take the knee” He notes that Kapernick went from sitting to kneeling because he felt it more respectful.
I go against the grain of mainstream Christianity. I celebrate the Biblical Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Pro-life is more than just about the life of a fetus. We have to consider the mother as well. I also believe that it involves refusing to take human life. For me that means not owning or shooting a gun. I also believe in pro-choice. People should be encouraged to make the right decisions, but they should be given the freedom to make them. If I trample on freedoms of others and encourage my country’s leadership to do so, my freedoms also will be trampled upon.
I want to foster an atmosphere of where everyone is encouraged to speak up and heard. The most unlikely person can have the solutions to the problems we face in our communities. Yes, I want to encourage those conversations to be civil and respectful, but I am going to hear them and listen even if they aren’t. We are humans and we don’t always communicate what we are trying to say perfectly and that’s okay. My job is to listen not to shut you up.
If I cultivate a safe space of conversation, I learn. I learn to see things from other people’s point of view. I learn to be empathetic. I learn to keep their concerns in mind when I create solutions. I learn that not everyone speaks the same language as I do. They may speak the same tongue, but the stories and the concepts that reach them are very different.
What is your attitude toward the kneeling NFL players?