To kneel or not to kneel? 5 ways 'Patriotism' looks different than you might think.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/kap24n-2-web.jpg!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/kap24n-2-web.jpg

When did the kneeling begin?

The then quarterback for the San Francisco 49'ers, Colin Kaepernick, began his protest last year during the 2016 preseason. 

Kaepernick first sat on the bench during the National Anthem before the kickoff of the game. Then, after a conversation with a teammate who had served in the military, he decided to kneel in his protest so not to disrespect the armed services.  

What was Kaepernick protesting?

Kaepernick was showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement that had started back in July of 2013. He said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said, to "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."

And then we have President Trump's response.

A league wide protest occurred during the NFL games on Sunday September 24, 2017. Team owners joined their teams on both sides of the field locking arms with the players while they either stood or knelt or raised fists in the air. 

In an act of unity players honored the National Anthem in the way that they sought fit for the occasion. 


President Trump's response on September 24, 2017.

President Trump's tweet in anticipation of Sunday October 1, 2017.

Again, on Sunday October 1, 2017, NFL players took a stance towards change.

Many teams stood, while some knelt, and some heard boos. 

The Seattle Seahawks even created a proactive fund called: The Players Equality & Justice for All Action Fund.

Then we have Oakland Raider's RB Marshawn Lynch's T-shirt.


President Trump is the most polarizing president that America has ever had.
— Dan Parks

Aesop, the Greek story teller famous for his 'fables', first said, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."

If that is true, then at time when it seems that we are so divided, what can unite us? 

Division can bring unity through awareness of others and their beliefs, dreams, and ultimately protests. 

In America, the ultimate right is the given by the Bill of Rights in very 1st Amendment: The Freedom of Speech. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

A CNN article noted that, "The White House has repeatedly attempted to rebrand the protest as a protest of the American flag instead of against police brutality and racism in the U.S."

To 'correct' one's ideals with your own intentions in such manner as that is not American and is counterproductive in a society that has to move forward. 

To kneel or not to kneel? The American conclusion is that it is up to you to choose.
— Dan Parks

Here are 5 ways 'Patriotism' looks different than you might think:


1. Being a taxpaying citizen.

By working and giving a share of your earnings to the government to pay for things like education, infrastructure, and our country's defense you are a 'Patriot'.

2. Standing up for what you believe in.

The stance taken by the NFL teams and it's players is 'Patriotic' because they are exercising their right to take a stand. 

But, so can the average citizen, when he or she takes a stance against drug laws, gun laws, or the GMO labeling of food.

3. Listening to other's point of view.

Historically, America has had a culture of differing views, and the ulitimate 'Patriotic' act is listening to a view that differs from the one that you hold.

4. Allowing immigration into the country.

The plaque on the Statue of Liberty reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

If anything could be described as 'Patriotic' it would be the idea of immigrating to America. 

If you look down the hereditary line of each and every citizen of the U.S. most came to the country from somewhere else: Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, etc.

5. The demand to be free.

Freedom looks different to all us.

The right wants liberty in their taxes and gun laws. The left demands freedom socially in Women's health issues and drug laws. 

In an agreement, no American citizen wants to be under the thumb of a government, a person, or legislation. 

To stand or kneel? Is it a question saved for the NFL or for each individual American?

Make your choice, use your voice, and decide each and every day to be ‘Patriotic’ your way.
— Dan Parks