On Memorial Day we take a moment to memorialize those patriots who fought and died for our freedom. But I’m wondering if we’ve lost our way when it comes to remembering what it means to be free, what it means to be patriotic. 

I’m no football fan…probably because I was that skinny little kid who was last to be picked in gym class. Regardless, I am filled with admiration and respect for these courageous players who are taking the knee to call attention to brutality against men of color. At the very heart of our constitution is freedom of speech and free expression, which means the freedom to protest when one sees injustice. In a forum that gets mass attention, these brave players are exercising their First Amendment rights to do something good, to help their fellow man, to make America better. How is that not patriotic? And should they not be free to do so? Is that not what the First Amendment says freedom is?

The National Anthem is being played, sure, but it a song. It is NOT our freedom. It is NOT our democracy. While this is happening, people in the stands are buying beer and digging through their backpacks. {Note: The Anthem is a racist song. We should have replaced it a long time ago.} Besides, the players are KNEELING for Pete’s sake. When did that ever become a sign of disrespect? Kneeling has always been a form of reverence. The irony here is staggering. 

Those who are trying to divide us are attacking these protesters even to the point of suggesting they leave the country, to say nothing of being tossed out of the game. Now they are being fined if they exercise their right to protest in this way. Talk about unpatriotic. To me, true patriotism is doing one’s part to add to the collective that is trying to make the country better. Those who oppose these brave players are trying to tear the country down. 

So in the few words I have left in this post, I just want to say, thanks to these men who are making their place in history. You’re moving us in a better direction as a country. How freaking patriotic is that? Thanks Kaepernick. You rock!