There's been plenty of hate and vitriol directed at San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his choice to peacefully protest inequality and police violence by sitting out the national anthem during a preseason game — but this military veteran is defending Kaepernick, and his thoughtful Facebook post is going totally viral.
Jim Wright, a U.S. Navy veteran who lives in Florida, shared a Facebook post on Sunday telling his followers exactly what he thinks of Kaepernick's method of protest:
AS A VETERAN, what do I think about Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit during the National Anthem?
As a veteran?
Very well, as a veteran then, this is what I believe:
The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
"Respect cannot be demanded at the muzzle of a gun or by beating it into somebody or by shaming them into it. Can not. You might get what you think is respect, but it's not," Wright wrote. "If Kaepernick doesn't feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can't MAKE him respect it."
Wright explained that a nation that forces its citizens to be "little clockwork patriots all pretending satisfaction and respect" is "not why I wore a uniform." Kaepernick shouldn't be "forced to show respect he doesn't feel," Wright wrote. Instead, he stated, "If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him."
Wright is pretty directly referring to the people who have responded to Kaepernick's protest with racist slurs and hatred — and telling them to do better.
To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That's freedom. That's liberty. ... You don't like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect. It's really just that simple.
Read Wright's whole post below: