In a better world

Dahlia Lithwick shared this on FB.  Love it.

Empathy. Listening. Changing one’s mind. Humility. Personal Relationships. Rinse Repeat.

Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…..and no one noticed.
Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a level of vitriol unseen against an athlete. Even the future President of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail. Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military, but he felt it hard to stand for a flag that didn’t treat people of color fairly.
Then on on Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times. In it he expressed how Colin’s sitting affected him.
Then a strange thing happened. Colin was able to do what most Americans to date have not…
He listened.
In his letter Mr. Boyer writes:
“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.”
Mr. Boyer goes on to write “There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.”
Empathy and understanding was shown by Mr. Boyer………and Mr. Kaepernick reciprocated.
Colin invited Nate to San Diego where the two had a 90 minute discussion and Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit.
But why kneel? In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is smartly folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen member by a fellow service member while KNEELING.
The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his reverence for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices he saw.
Empathy, not zealotry under the guise of patriotism, is the only way meaningful discussion can be had. Mr. Kaepernick listened to all of you that say he disrespects the military and extended an olive branch to find peace.

Thanks @Claire Kaplan.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to In a better world

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    I wondered how kneeling was chosen as the form of protest. Now I know.
    However, people interpret acts and words from their own point of view. If they want to be offended they will be.
    In grade school I learned that free speech wasn’t as free as I had thought, Others are always trying to pressure others. You are only protected from the government, federal and state, punishing you for what you say, not your fellow citizens. And, of course, there are exceptions for that protection too.
    Freedom of speech remains a noble goal.

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