What does it mean when people in this country stand up to “Pledge Allegiance” to the country? What does it mean when they come to their feet with hand over heart while listening to the National Anthem?
Former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an idea of what those actions mean. RawStory reports that Abdul-Jabbar wrote an editorial for the Washington Post in which he explained his beliefs.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar was writing about the incredibly nasty, angry reaction to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The young football player made a statement last week during a preseason game.
He chose to remain seated during the playing of the National Anthem. He wanted to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to point out the institutional racism that still exists in this country.
The conservative world went crazy.
I guess you could say that Kaepernick achieved his goal, because we are talking about what it means to pledge our loyalty to a country. We’re discussing whether or not we are obligated to stand during that one particular song.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put it this way:
“Patriotism isn’t just getting teary-eyed on the Fourth of July or choked up at war memorials. It’s supporting what the Fourth of July celebrates and what those war memorials commemorate: the U.S. Constitution’s insistence that all people should have the same rights and opportunities and that it is the obligation of the government to make that happen. When the government fails in those obligations, it is the responsibility of patriots to speak up and remind them of their duty.”
“One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government’s record in upholding the Constitution.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not question the patriotism of those who use peaceful protest to make a statement about this country. He does, however, question the patriotism of those who believe in a blind pledge of loyalty to any country. Even this one.
Featured image via YouTube screengrab.