This whole notion of patriotism by submission is incredibly disturbing to me. We are living in a time where people are quick to focus on symbolism instead of depth. So many people are furious at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he is choosing to not stand for the National Anthem as a protest against police brutality and the oppression of people of color. People are accusing him of being anti-American or anti-veteran. As if, singing the National Anthem is a prerequisite for being American or supporting veterans. Other folk say if he doesn't like this country he should leave it and find another one. What sense does that make? Since when did loving something or someone and calling for it to be better and trying to make it better - a bad thing.
These people who equate patriotism with blind submission are not only disturbing but scary. They may be cut from the same people who sat by silently when the Japanese were interned or when America turned Jewish immigrants away (who were later killed in concentration camps) or folks who sat by for years silently accepting Jim Crow laws. In today's times, people claim to be pro-veteran because they salute a flag or sing a song, but they do nothing to make life better for homeless veterans, do nothing to speak out against military sexual assault or hold our elected officials accountable before they decide to place our men and women in the military in theater in harm's way. There are 525,600 minutes in our year, how many of those minutes are you spent in service to your country, to your fellow Americans. How many of those minutes do you spend demonstrating your patriotism? If the only time you are showing your love for a country is the three minutes once a week during the playing of the National Anthem at a sports event - then you have no room to question the patriotism of Colin Kaepernick or anyone else.