Archive for September, 2016

My two cents on Colin Kaepernick

Posted: September 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

It was Voltaire who said “I don’t agree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it”, right? Actually, it wasn’t, but that’s not important here. (It was Evelyn Beatrice Hall in a biography on Voltaire, writing about his ideas on free speech.) The idea, that free speech is important and should be defended is the issue.

Anyway, whoever said it, that’s the way I feel about Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback, at least for now, for the San Franciso 49’er’s.

I don’t agree with the method of his protest, refusing to stand for the national anthem, but I do agree that he is within his rights, specifically the right to free speech guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, in the US Constitution.

I’ve never been a fan of Kaepernick, and I’m am definitely not a fan of someone showing disrespect for the anthem, the flag, or the military of the USA. But, one of the rights that that flag represents is the right to protest something that you feel is unjust.

Anyone who denies that certain groups are treated differently in certain situations (in this case, Mr. Kaepernick is saying that minorities are treated differently by the police) is either ignorant or not being truthful.

When I was in the Army, we had a mandatory class on race relations. I prided myself on not being prejudiced, bigoted, and especially not being racist. In fact, I hate even using the term “race.” When I fill out a form and it has a blank for “race” I put “human.” The first thing the class instructor said was “We are all prejudiced.” Then he went on to explain and I realized that he was right. He used the example of walking down a dark city street at night and meeting a couple of young men. You would have different feelings as you approached each other if it were a couple of black teens in hoodies vs a couple of white teens in sport coats. If you don’t admit that, you are being untruthful to yourself. These differences in your expectations are from your prejudices. We do all have them.

And then there is the police element of Kaepernick’s protest. He talks about “rogue” cops mistreating minority suspects. Well, I believe that most, I will even say the vast majority of police are good, honest cops trying to do a difficult job, but the “rogue” cops do exist. I have met a few of them myself. If you deny their existence, again, you are being untruthful.

I don’t have the answers, but I do know that the first step to solving any of these types of problems is to admit they exist and begin a conversation. Again, I disagree with the method of Mr. Kaepernick’s choice of protest, but he has us talking about it, doesn’t he?

Vaya con Dios

Michael B. Leffew

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