College Democrat

The First Amendment of the Constitution grants the rights to free expression and speech. This gives one the ability to peacefully assemble, protest and speak critically of the government. This means that the right to not stand for the national anthem is protected under the First Amendment.

This debate sparks from former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel for the national anthem before his games. He cited police brutality, oppression of people of color and the presidential candidates at the time as reasoning to why he decided to kneel. Many people attacked him for this as they believed he was disrespecting the military. Kaepernick responded by saying those who are dying overseas are dying in vain, as the U.S. is not holding up its end of the bargain.  

The idea that one is disrespecting the troops by not standing for the national anthem is false. A national anthem, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “a solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity." “The Star Spangled Banner” is a poem, written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed our flag still standing following a British bombardment of Fort McHenry. It is about our history and struggle for freedom, not the troops.

What Kaepernick was trying to do was bring attention to important issues, which he did. I don't believe there is much that's more patriotic than wanting to improve one's country, whether you join the military or start a social justice movement.  

This country is not perfect. We do have a police brutality problem in this country that needs attention, as well as many other issues. The best part about this country is that we have the right to protest and speak out against things like this that need to be fixed.  

If you believe one should have to stand for the national anthem, then you have that right. But know that stance does not represent the value of freedom in this country.


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