Most people have heard that Nike has made Colin Kaepernick their spokesperson. Of course, this restarts the controversy over his protest. Many claim that he is disrespecting veterans and the flag.
I am going to state some opinions as a veteran. I am the last of a line of veterans that has run unbroken every generation in this country since the 1600’s. Each may have entered service for different reasons but all stood for the PEOPLE of this country.
First of all, the flag represents the PEOPLE of this country. That includes ALL the people of this country. The flag itself is merely a piece of cloth. Like many veterans, I respect the people of this country more than a piece of cloth. You can burn that cloth and it has no effect on human beings. Burn, shoot, assault and incarcerate human beings and what has happened to that flag? What does that flag now represent?
Do you know who has compulsory respect for a flag? North Korea. You want compulsory respect for the flag? Fine, move there.
This country was created on protest. On standing up for human rights. How can we object to protest? The very first Amendment in the Bill of Rights is freedom of speech, which includes silent freedom of expression. If you object to protest regarding human abuse, you object to what this country is supposed to stand for. YOU disrespect what veterans have fought and died for. His protest embodies what this country and our rights are all about.
You claim he disrespects veterans? His protest has nothing to do with veterans. YOU put that in there, he did not. How many veterans have been gunned down or abused by police? He represents them along with civilians. You do not.
Before 2009, there were no huge “patriotic” displays at football games. That was when the DoD began paying the NFL $millions per year to put on those displays. Know who pays for those displays? YOU do. Even if (like me) you do not watch football at all. The purpose of those displays is to boost failing enlistment quotas. To get young people to sign up for military service so they will go to other countries and kill innocent civilians in countries that were never any threat to us. That way we can keep spending MORE money every year paid to corporate weapons contractors.
Here are things I find disrespectful to veterans:
Increasing numbers of wounded vets, yet CONgress is once again discussing decreasing funding for the VA, which already has inadequate funding.
Vets waiting months for critical medical care. Many die waiting for appointments. Some have died in VA waiting rooms.
Hundreds of veterans with PTSD commit suicide each year. Others resort to illicit drug use because psychological counseling is hard to obtain and the waiting list can be months long.
Thousands of veterans have been forced to repay enlistment/reenlistment bonuses after they were discharged. Many times these veterans are disabled in some way, yet the military claims they did not meet the service time requirement for the bonus. This has driven some veterans into bankruptcy and foreclosure, in some cases forcing them into homelessness. If they already have problems with PTSD or depression related to their service, guess what that does to them?
The military is not expected to get a cost of living pay raise this year. Even as corporations and the richest Americans are given massive tax breaks.
So, you claim to support veterans? Tell me, when was the last time you opened your door to a disabled veteran? Let a vet with PTSD cry on your shoulder? Listened to what the experiences and thoughts were that drove them into that condition? When was the last time you visited the VA Nursing Home nearest you?
You know the best way to respect our veterans? By ending some of the conflicts we are in. Instead of spending money on bombs and killing more civilians, bring our vets home. Close some or all of our foreign bases. Reduce the need for so many veterans. Then spend the money saved on increasing care for wounded vets. Increase pay for the ones still in service. Increase retirement pay and benefits.
The real truth of the protest by Kaepernick is that those who object are mostly racists trying to hide behind a flag, as they have done for a long, long time. If it were a white man protesting for something regarding white people or had nothing to do with race, the same detractors would support the protest. So they can stop claiming otherwise.
It takes bravery to stand OR KNEEL for something when it places you at risk, when there is a price to pay. When you have received death threats for your actions, as Kaepernick has. It takes cowardice to close your eyes and blindly or intentionally support injustice.
Now tell me. Who is the REAL American here?