The freedom of expression and free speech are just two of the cornerstones on which America builds it society.
Often we will hear commentators on the television telling the world one of the reasons America is ‘the greatest country in the world’ is because of their ‘freedoms’.
It would seem from the events of the past few days surrounding Colin Kaepernick that the truth is those same ‘commentators’ really mean that those cornerstones are great ‘so long as they align with me and my narrative.”
For those living under a rock Colin Kaepernick is the quarter back for the San Francisco 49ers and in the weekend he used his right of free expression and ‘speech’ to make a point during the national anthem. He did not stand up.
“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.”
Colin Kaepernick has used his freedom of expression, and freedom of speech to highlight an issue in American society where black citizens are being killed disproportionately by police officers and more often than not, those police officers are not held accountable.
Since then America has lost it’s mind because apparently this one form of free expression and speech is a step to far for many.
Donald Trump had some advice for the young professional athlete
“I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try. It won’t happen.”
But what people seems to be missing is that if America holds onto these ‘freedoms’ as an essential part of who they are as a country, then Kaepernick is in the perfect country to make this protest, and in some other countries, who don’t have those ‘freedoms’ he couldn’t do it.
I find the American devotion to the flag to be incredibly odd. To me the US seems cult like in it’s infatuation with the importance of the flag and approach the flag in a fervor that resembles a religious experience.
It probably stems from the fact, that there is actually statutes dictating how people should address the flag.
“During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”
Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code
I look at countries like North Korea, countries where there are no ‘freedoms’, countries where a tyrannical dictator makes the rules that everyone must follow on pain of death and that is where I would expect to see legislation like the Code above, not in the land of the free.
It would seem to me you can either have a society that has rules and statutes that you must follow and if you deviate there are significant negative consequences, or you have a society where people are free to express themselves. I don’t think you can have both.
It seems that many in America want to place a North Korean ideology on Colin Kaepernick of control and expectation of a way he must act, whilst still trying to claim that the society is built and functions on some great rules for life like the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Well, which is it America?
What I guess I am saying is that because of the ‘freedoms’ that Americans hold onto as such an important part of what makes them ‘American’, then the protest against the Star Spangled Banner and the American Flag is the most American thing that Colin Kaepernick could possibly do