The magnificent roar of military fighter jets drew my eyes skyward recently. Thank you, brave veterans, and all citizens at home defending America’s constitutional ideals.
Recent confusion over patriotism worries me. Some believe homage to a symbol of our country (a flag, an anthem) is more patriotic than the bravery needed to stand up for free speech, equality and justice. To publicly defend others’ constitutional rights is real patriotism. Although I may choose to stand for the flag, I acknowledge the person kneeling is a patriot also. His expression of opposition to real injustice is more courageous than my effortless stance for a symbol of justice. Furthermore, there is no wrong place to stand up for justice.
All deserve respect when affirming constitutional ideals. Criticizing genuflecting as an exercise of free speech disrespects our Constitution. Insisting everybody express their patriotism in one way is not freedom and is not American.
Kneeling is neither wrong nor disrespectful. It pays homage to the true ideals of our Constitution, versus symbols of those ideals. These brave actions, which accept personal risk of scorn to promote justice, are truly patriotic. The men flying those military jets enlisted to protect and defend this freedom.
Barbara Thiele, New Meadows