By Taking a Stand to Sit Down During the National Anthem, Colin Kaepernick is Exercising His First Amendment Rights and Should Be Respected Even if Many of Us Disagree with Him
by Lee Enochs
I have thought long and hard about what I am about to write here. I have tossed and turned at night and wrestled greatly with Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem. Now, after thinking about this issue for a few days, I have come to the belief that while I greatly disagree with him, he should be able to exercise his First Amendment right to freedom of speech even if it is not popular or right in the estimations of many Americans.
The First Amendment is clear about this;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
Don’t get me wrong. I greatly dislike and disapprove of Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the National Anthem. I believe, while imperfect, America is the greatest nation on Earth and that while there are many issues in this country that need to be rectified, not standing for the National Anthem disrespects the memory and service of our sons and daughter’s who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.
Yet, like the great Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., I believe freedom of speech should be preserved even for those of whom we disagree with most.
I believe Colin Kaepernick, while wrong in his estimation of our country, was right to exercise his constitutional right to freedom of speech.
I believe Kaepernick and every other American should be able to voice their opinion on any issue without fear of reprisal.
If I do not allow Kaepernick the right to freedom of speech, why should I claim the same right for myself?
Tomorrow something may come up in America that I may feel obligated to speak out against. I want to afford Colin Kaepernick the name right as I would claim for myself.
The right to freedom of speech includes allowing those to speak and express their opinion even if it is demonstrably false.