Veteran Shows How NFLer's Protest of US Anthem Is Patriotic in One Glorious Essay

Veterans get our respect because they're the ones who have sacrificed for our country. Their opinions get a little more sway, in general, which is why it's so important that a veteran posted an essay explaining why he's defending the football player who won't stand during the NFL's national anthems, and why we should support him, too: because it's the patriotic thing to do.

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In case you don't power-watch ESPN, Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers and has been for years. This year, starting during pre-season games, he's refusing to stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against communities of color.

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Kaepernick explained his reasons like this, according to an NFL statement: 

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.

Here's Kaepernick explaining his decision at a press conference.

It was a risk he had to understand would draw intense backlash. He's been criticized as being a terrorist sympathizer, and much worse.

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Kaepernick's critics caught the attention of Jim Wright, a veteran of the navy who launched maybe the most thoughtful and powerful defense of Kaepernick to date. He had heard from so many of his friends and family asking him what he thought about the quarterback's protest, he decided to make himself crystal clear: Colin Kaepernick is exactly what he fought for. He is, Wright said, what liberty in action looks like.

In the epic Facebook post, Wright explains: "... Yes, that's right, a football player didn't stand for the National Anthem."

He continues:

As you know, this means Kaepernick is scum, a horrible human being, a likely member of ISIS, a Muslim terrorist, a black thug, a communist, a socialist (and not the cool share your weed Bernie Sanders kind of socialist but the Red Brigade kind of Socialist who sleeps under a poster of Chairman Mao), a radical, a Black Panther, and he probably has Fidel Castro's phone number in his contact favorites.

Yeah. Okay.

I answered the message and went on to the next one.

Then he explained how the democracy he defended is supposed to work:

With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might.

But that's not respect.

It's only the illusion of respect. ...

That, that illusion of respect, is not why I wore a uniform.

That's not why I held up my right hand and swore the oath and put my life on the line for my country.

That, that illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran.

Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn't feel.

That's called slavery and I have no respect for that at all.

If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him.

If America wants the world's respect, it must be worthy of respect.

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Here's the whole post. Take the time to read it for yourself.

He goes on to make the case that to love America and to respect the power it has in the world means you have to respect the right to protest and to recognize that America can and should want to be better.

Or, as Wright put it: 

A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.

You don't like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.

It's really just that simple.

It comes down to respect.

Do we really want to live in a country that demands you participate in some compulsory patriotism? Hello? Can we think of any historical examples of that kind of thing gone very, very wrong? Nazis? Communists? Helllooooo?

And Kaepernick is protesting for you, too, whether you know it or not. Because an injustice against any American is an injustice against us all.

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Protest gave us civil rights, women's right to vote, unions, and, oh yeah, a country to begin with. Remember? Our whole country is just one huge protest zone against the English monarchy.

Try to remember that the next time you get mad about Colin Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, Code Pink, or any other protest movement. If you really want to express an extreme loyalty to America, join them in pushing the government to be better, for all of us.

Don't just take my word for it. Take it from Jim Wright, a veteran whose opinion gets a little more sway.

 

Image via KTVU-TV/YouTube

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