Now that football season is in full swing my attention has been grabbed by a High School classmate of mine who wrote this piece on what it is to be American and how we might stand with each other even when we are at odds:
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free”.– The American President
A lot of rhetoric has been put out into the world demonizing Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during our national anthem. Some have even said that he should leave if he cannot stand during our anthem because that somehow makes him not a worthy citizen. And it’s grown now to athletes all over the country being vilified.
And, to those people and groups, while I don’t agree, expressing your opinion is your right.
Whether we agree with him or not is irrelevant. Whether we agree with how he chooses to protest is also irrelevant…and that is the inherent beauty of this incredible free nation.
We can peacefully protest, against the flag even, and still be American.
We can be both unquestionably patriotic and at odds with some piece of our nation’s present course.
And, dear Lord, we should.
We should have conversations about the parts of our nation purchase plavix online that are broken. We should strive always to be progressing. And we should be humbled by our countrymen and women who are brave enough to stand (or sit) to express their convictions.
We should be real and understand that our country only progresses when we choose to force issues. When we choose to demand more than the status quo. When we sit down in protest when the expectation is that we stand.
I applaud Colin for using his incredible blessings and access to the national stage to speak out on an issue he feels is critical to our nation’s development.
I stand up for him in his effort to make America more humane, more equal.
I salute him for taking a page out of our history books and protesting. And I would venture a guess that Rosa Parks would give him a nod of approval as well.
I applaud him for knowingly risking the negative public sentiment to push forward a movement and a cause that he believes in.
And, I do this knowing full well that every single time the Star-Spangled Banner plays I will stop, plant my feet solidly on the ground, put my hand over my heart, and feel an unparalleled love well in my heart.
While you sit, Sir, I will stand.
But, Colin Kaepernick, I hear you. I see you. I celebrate you. And I support you.
When the time comes that I choose to sit while you stand – you’ll still be my countryman.
Thank you for being unabashedly American. And thank you for calling for this country to be braver, better, and more free.
May you have more to think on than just the outcome of the game this season or your favorite players stats.
Peace and Grace,
Samantha Houser, Zion UCC Pastor at Waukon & Program Support/Adjunct for Youth Ministry for Iowa Conference