Vail Daily letter: The right of peaceful protest
September 19, 2016
I am confused about public opinion I am seeing about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem before games, including similar dissatisfaction with other like protests. Certainly there are enraged sections of our population who feel that refusing to stand for the national anthem in a typical manner before games is a sign of disrespect.
I am a white liberal American who sees this differently. As a white American I cannot imagine, nor empathize with the black American community living in the Land of the Free. I cannot relate to being discriminated against in seeking a job, a lunch counter, a bathroom or a place to live. I cannot imagine living in fear for my life for centuries because I am black. I wholeheartedly believe, this kneeling, and other like peaceful statements are not intended to be disrespectful of our national anthem, our flag, our service people, both alive, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, nor for any other non-patriotic reason, nor disrespectful reason.
One reason our country is great is because we all have the right to protest peacefully. Ask the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. what this means if you choose to misinterpret these athletes' message for those who wish to portray these peaceful protests as un-American actions.
White people cannot imagine existing as a race through almost 400 years of racial prejudice and discrimination. Try to imagine this: Black Americans love their country, and would prefer to be equal Americans in every respect. Is that really too much to ask for in the land of the free? Black America is trying to send a peaceful message. Do not twist, nor confuse a clear message with unpatriotic interpretations. Who better to send this message than our heroes on America's athletic fields?
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