Don’t be quiet—be smart

 Kaepernick sitting down during the national anthem. | PC: nbcnews.com

Kaepernick sitting down during the national anthem. | PC: nbcnews.com

Emotion is the death of reason

With football season starting, you’d have to have been living under a rock not to hear about Colin Kaepernick and his protest against what he sees as the oppression of people of color by the United States, among other things.

Now I must admit, as a Packers fan, I may be a bit predisposed to negativity when thinking about Colin Kaepernick. I also must admit that I may be a bit predisposed to negativity when thinking about someone who disrespects something I hold in the highest esteem, such as the American flag.

But isn’t that the point of America? Just like religion, just because we think something is holy, special or set apart doesn’t make it so for everyone. Individuality and the right to disagree are paramount to the American experience.

Now, I may comment on Kaepernick’s laughable claims of oppression or the irony that he disrespects the country that has given him the opportunity to make millions of dollars per year for doing virtually nothing, but his right to do so must remain absolute, otherwise he’s right.

As previously stated, I dislike Colin Kaepernick. And some of the things he’s said I find to be baseless and nonsensical arguments. But I have to admit that he’s right about other things.

Police brutality, even in a single case, is an issue. But over the last few years we’ve seen multiple cases, such as Walter Scott, Eric Garner and Philando Castille, that demonstrate a need for change.

Is it oppression? No. Is it a problem that needs to be fixed? Absolutely.

We’re witnessing a presidential campaign between an inflammatory egomaniac and a reckless compulsive liar. Kaepernick is right. People have faced consequences for much less than what Clinton did, and if anyone else not named Hillary Clinton had done what Hillary Clinton did, they would be in jail for a very long time.

To my surprise, I found I actually believe in much of what Kaepernick is saying. And if that’s the case, then I feel compelled to tell him, “Colin, you’re doing it wrong.”

If his goal is uniting Americans and bringing to the forefront of society these issues he sees as important, the best method of doing so is not taking part in something that upsets the majority of Americans.

Sure, it gets people talking about it, but there’s a marked difference between talking about something and resolving it.

The first time I saw his protest, my stomach churned. I imagine many Americans had my same reaction, not just because they love their country, but because for many people, the flag represents the thousands upon thousands of men and women who paid the ultimate price for their freedom.

His actions have, so far, proven to do nothing other than make people everywhere angry, some for what he did, and others for the reaction of those who became angry for what he did.

I know he’s made many statements expressing his support for our military, but it’s important to remember it doesn’t matter how you mean it, it matters how people take it. His method simply isn’t effective. Rather, it’s destructive because of its divisiveness.

Also, ditch the socks. If he wants to paint most police officers as good, decent people and only highlight those who abuse their power, it’s probably not best to wear socks that picture pigs dressed in police uniforms. It just doesn’t look good.

 

Certainly, Colin’s method of protest is far superior to those utilized in recent months, namely the rioting and murder of police officers. But still, if he’s sincere in his goal of effecting change, he should find a more compelling way to protest.

In short, I understand and support why he’s doing it; just not how he’s doing it.

In interviews, he’s said plenty of good things about America. He supports our armed forces. He recognizes the fact he lives in a country that affords him the opportunity to speak ill of it. He denies the accusation that he’s “anti-American.”

So if he wants people to take him seriously and believe in his sincerity, ditch the socks, associate the flag with all the good things you’ve said you see in America and use as a vehicle for change something that brings us together as Americans, not something that tears us apart.

Don’t be quiet—be smart.


Jonathan Deemer is a sophomore studying biomedical science.