Stand for the national anthem

Part of me wants to be upset with Colin Kaepernick for not standing for the playing of the National Anthem, and part of me wants to ignore him and not care.

Here’s a little background on Kaepernick. His mother was a 19-year old single white woman, Heidi Russo, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father, an African-American, was out of the picture before Kaepernick was born, so his mother decided to offer her baby for adoption. He was adopted by a white couple, the Kaepernicks, and was raised with two siblings, an older brother and sister.

Kaepernick ignited a fire storm of responses when he decided to not stand for the playing of the National Anthem at two of his San Francisco 49ers preseason games. He has since said he will continue to not stand.

To me, patriotism means regardless of how we feel about the present administration, regardless of how much we dislike some of the programs and laws that have a direct impact on us or our business, regardless of whether we support this war or that invasion, we should have pride in our country and appreciate the fact that we have the opportunity to live here. We show our appreciation for this country we call home, and to those that founded this country, and those who have fought to keep it free, by standing in attention and saluting the flag when we say “The Pledge of Allegiance,” or when we hear The Star Spangled Banner.

Saluting the flag can take on several forms. Everyone should remove their hat. Military members and veterans will often give a military salute with their right hand above their right brow. Non-military folk are supposed to place their right hand over their heart; signifying love and allegiance to our country. At the very least, we should stand quietly in attention until the anthem is finished.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told the media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick was referring to the recent stories of black men being shot by police officers. In court, some of the officers have been cleared of any crime, and others have been punished for wrongfully shooting the victims.

Kaepernick’s display of disrespect for our country has been justified by others who support his right to take a stance (or a sit) for what he believes. I suppose, in a way that’s true. Whether we agree with his perception or not, he has the right to protest, and that is protected by The Constitution of the country he is protesting against.

I wonder though, does everything have to be a protest? Can’t these athletes who are jumping on this band wagon show support for the victims of the families who lost their loved one, by just going and being with them? Can’t they show their support for the law enforcement officers by donating to a fund for cops that have been killed in the line of duty? They certainly have the monetary means of starting a college fund for the children of the slain black men, or the police officers. Why does the protest always have to draw attention to the egotistical athlete?

Is Kaepernick really doing this to draw attention to what he calls an injustice in our country, or is he doing it to draw attention to himself – as a martyr, a warrior of equal rights, a protector of the little people – or as a mediocre quarterback on a lousy team looking to get traded?

According to a new book by Wayne Allyn Root, entitled Angry White Male, I have every right to be mad, too. In fact, why don’t we all meet at Bartlett Square in downtown Tulsa this week to protest?

I’m not sure when would be a good time. I have a couple of meetings this week with potential clients. I need to make some insurance sales this week. Also, I’m in the middle of fund raising for my next mission trip, and need to get some more bookings in churches. I have several phone calls to make. I have to cover a football game, and do the P.A. announcing at a couple other games.

How about this, instead of protesting, I’m just going to keep doing what this country has given me the opportunity to do. I’m going to keep working my butt off while hoping and praying it will help others and make me successful along the way. I’m also going to continue to stand at attention, with my hat off and with my hand over my heart, every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner played.

What do I care what Colin Kaepernick thinks?