Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is a man of many talents. He’s been a wrestler, a public speaker, and a politician. He also served his country as a Navy SEAL in his younger years.
Ventura is also a man of many opinions. This past week, he added his voice to the many veterans showing support for football player Colin Kaepernick, who has drawn much attention for his silent protests of kneeling during the national anthem during NFL games.
And because he is Jesse Ventura, he did it in his typical larger-than-life manner.
For Ventura, whether he agrees with Kaepernick’s form or subject of protest isn’t the point.
“That’s why I served my country, so that you have the freedom to protest. If we don’t like protesting, what’s next? I don’t have to agree with him, but I still respect his right to do it and everyone should respect that.”
Ventura has a reputation of marching to the beat of his own drum. He ran and won the governorship as Independent, after all.
He explained his support of Kaepernick with a little anecdote from his tenure as Governor of Minnesota:
“Who’s he harming? When I was governor of Minnesota, the Dems and Repubs tried to nail me. You know what they did? They passed a law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance for all public school children. I immediately vetoed it. You know why? Because governments should not mandate patriotism. Governments earn patriotism. You earn that.”
He ended his statement by saluting Kaepernick’s courage:
“I salute Colin Kaepernick for having courage, a man of his convictions, and he’s also putting a million dollars on the line putting his money where his stance is. Good for him.”
Great point by Ventura. We don’t have the right to demand patriotism from others if they don’t feel it has been earned.
That is, of course, the beauty of the freedom of speech.
Watch Jesse Ventura salute Kaepernick’s use of his freedoms in this video:
Feature image via Youtube screengrab