Thursday, September 6, 2018
As a woman with a certain set of skills that traditionally are not considered womanly, I understand being treated badly because someone believes I shouldn't be able to use a certain power tool, or know where a part is under the hood of an automobile. Being thought of as less educated, less able, or less anything pales in comparison to being thought of as a criminal simply based on the color of my skin. This is why Colin Kaepernick and others kneel. If this bothers you I have a few questions for you:
Do you kneel to pray? Have you always stood during the National Anthem, with hand on heart, facing the flag, not talking to your neighbor or doing any number of other things? How about when it is on television and you are in the comfort of your own home? Do you stand? Or do you sit on your couch with your nacho chips and beer? Have you always cared SO MUCH about our flag? Do you have one properly displayed on your property? Do you know how to properly display it? And most importantly, when did the flag of the United States of America become a representation of veterans?
Do not misinterpret that last question, I love many veterans. I have many close to me, related to me, and many I call dear friends but the flag does not represent them - it represents our country. ALL OF US! Me, you, the crying baby just born, Colin Kaepernick, my mother-in-law who only became a citizen because she wanted a passport to go on a cruise, the immigrants that came off the boat to Ellis Island in 1892 who became citizens because they wanted a better life, the slaves that were brought here in the early 1600's who were granted citizenship (finally) in 1868, and every person "born or naturalized in the United States" according to the 14th Amendment of our Constitution. The flag represents all of our country, not a select group.
Veterans who scream, "I fought for that flag and kneeling disrespects me." Frankly, no. You are wrong. It does not disrespect you or this country. This country, which again I remind you - is represented by the flag, is what you fought for. And let's be real for a moment, not all that served did out of "love for their country". There are many reasons why people have served over the history of our country. Some served simply because they were told they had to (and some lied and cheated to get out of it). The fact of the matter is, this country, is made up of many different people, of many different backgrounds, and many different colors and that flag represents every single one of us.
The Constitution of the United States of America affords each of us the right to protest. In fact, it is the very first amendment:
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This is a foundation of what our country was built on. You do not have to agree with it, you do not have to like it. You do have to know that this is what is written.
Let me end with this clarification: Veterans fight for our country which is represented by our flag (and National Anthem)- which represents all the citizens of the United States of America who are given the right by the first amendment of our Constitution to protest peaceably something that needs to be fixed. And the way in which minorities and people of color are treated in this country needs to be fixed, posthaste.