Patriotism’s beautiful melody. Citizen voices in unison pushing their country to perfect. We have always been at our worst when the “US” in US of A is sacrificed to silence by the idea of America rather than the aspiration. America was an action. Her beating heart founded by dreamers who though themselves imperfect ingeniously set a nation on her way towards perennially pursuing perfecting.
Productive patriotism requires tireless asking of what and why.
Peaceful and principled protest represents the part of our national character that pushes the boundaries and allows us to move forward stronger. Peace cannot be made with injustice.
All the greatest movements that ever moved the needle for progress were carried out by the few and the brave while the majority cloaked in the comfort of their privilege watched from afar. They sliced, diced and tore into pieces the places and means of protest because they could not lay a finger of doubt on the reasons igniting it.
Colin Kaepernick and all who kneel during the national anthem do not do so without a heavy heart. It is not a vain and frivolous act. They speak, and kneel, because harsh realities require conversations with conscience and country. Money and fame do not preclude their lives from being vulnerable to cruel chance at the whims of others. They know the same holds undoubtedly true of the millions of American lives without the height of their power.
May we become a people that favors a love of country that is too real for gripping grievances to silence. There is too much protest about protest. Women would not be voting had women been silent and polite about their grievances. Black Americans would be drinking from different fountains had they not been brave when change demanded it. The anthem and flag that we pledge allegiance to would not have existed had our founders not protested and defied the powers that be.
Though we feel like a nation standing on bottomless ground, hope has never sung a sweeter song.
There are stories in our scars. History has shown that we often find ourselves at flash point moments, and we are in one now. We have failed. We have most tragically often failed each other. Yet even in our moments of erring, we ought to hold faith in our consistent ability to make it right no matter how painful or late in understanding.
We are still the nation that Martin Luther King Jr spoke his dream aloud to and the very place in which only 45 years later Barack Obama lived it into existence. America was an action that should continue to inspire our actions on the quest towards perfecting.