Monday, September 12, 2016

Colin Kaepernick has the First Amendment on his side

It all started with Colin Kaepernick (I had to google his name's spelling and my spell check has underlined it!) but it has spread. Athletes and others are finding ways to make political statements during the playing of The National Anthem.

I've never once put my hand over my heart for the National Anthem though I'm sure I did in grade school when saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It just never occurred to me that a hand over the heart was necessary. But, of course, I stand. I stand out of respect for a country and a flag that has, more often than not, delivered on it's promises to me.

I've never missed a meal except on purpose. I've always felt safe, wherever I was. I've always had everything I've needed and some things I didn't need but 'wanted'. I've never been spoken harshly to by a police officer (well, there was that peace protest or two...but that was part of the reason we were protesting, to be spoken harshly to and, if really lucky, to be arrested!) I walk through 'my' American Life like a kid through a field of 4 leaf clovers. I can, from time to time, resent the super-rich Americans...but who doesn't!

I've blogged again and again about how 'blessed' I am in many more ways than I could ever deserve. Just the facts, Ma'am.

But the First Amendment's promise of 'free speech' and free expression means that if I have not lived the life the Constitution and Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence has promised me, I can speak out about that--literally or symbolically.

And believe you me, I know I'm one of the 'chosen' in all this. I know minorities--racial, cultural, religious minorities--aren't always treated like me and this country hasn't delivered on the American Dream for them.

So, Colin Kaepernick and all the other minority folks who are finding a way to make a statement about the Star Spangled Banner not waving for their people (though for the professional athletes involved, the American Dream is theirs...but not for all their people, not by a long shot.

My pondering is 'should I join them' since 'their people' are 'my people' too--Americans. We are, in all our diversity and perhaps, just perhaps because of our diversity, ONE. Maybe, just maybe, those of us who have been 'blessed' need to identify with and support and 'be One' with those the Dream has left behind and forgot.

Maybe, just maybe, until all of us are truly equal, none of us are 'blessed'.

I'm going to ponder that. You're welcome to ponder it as well.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Colin Kaepernick and his supporters, are pointing a way forward for us ALL.

I'll ponder that greatly and deeply.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.