The following is my opinion only and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
Former Army Green Beret and college football player Nate Boyer, wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick. In it, he calls for unity across the United States. You can read the letter on ESPN’s website, for yourself. It has taken me some time to formulate an opinion on this one. As you know, I’m not a fan of Donald Trump as I don’t think he’s helping America, or humanity either. Hate has always existed in some form, throughout the centuries. That isn’t anything new. But there seems to be a lot more of it right now. I’ve said this before – perhaps it’s not that there is more hate, but there are more people being vocal about it. Perhaps we are seeing the by-products of hate, rather than it being more prevalent.
Boyer’s letter starts off by saying everyone – including Donald Trump – wonders what is happening in America. Boyer, a former Army Green Beret says that he was initially hurt by Colin Kaepernick’s sitting during the national anthem last year. He goes on to say that he’s much more hurt by the protests now. Not necessarily Kaepernick himself, but, as he describes it – “by us”. There are a few things that I don’t agree with in Boyer’s letter, but I am going to focus on this idea of hate. Boyer suggests that “we” hate each other. And, for him, that’s far more painful than any protest, demonstration, rally or tweet. And that I can agree with.
What I don’t agree with is when Boyer talks about picking a side. He is saying that we are being forced to draw a line in the sand, but that we shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be an us versus them mentality, but unfortunately Boyer, that’s how it is. You don’t have to agree with Colin Kaepernick in terms of the way in which he’s protesting. The protest itself is controversial. But so is what he is protesting, isn’t it? Kaepernick is suggesting that there is something wrong with America, from a social justice perspective, and the only way he can protest publically is by taking a knee.
The issue people have with this is that he appears to be disrespecting America. He is disrespecting the flag. But that message belittles the whole reason that he is protesting. It suggests that the issue of social injustice doesn’t matter. Originally, I don’t think this wasn’t an issue about the American flag. It was a protest against police brutality. It became a political issue more recently, and I would suggest that it has to do with the current President.
Boyer sat down with a group of five Combat Arms and Special Operations Veterans. They discussed their feelings on the flag, the anthem and the NFL players who are kneeling when it was played. There were a lot of different opinions, but he said that they all agreed on one thing – that Trump and Kaepernick should work together to unite the country. I agree with this in principle, but I don’t think this is achievable. If it was achievable, then perhaps that would be a viable option. Trump can barely get into a room with his so-called “friends”. I don’t think it’s possible for the two fo them to come together and make any real progress. I’m hopeful that it’s a possibility though. I live with that hope in my heart. And maybe Boyer suggesting it will bring it to fruition.
Boyer also speaks in his letter about the fact that we love to hate things these days, and a lot of people will hate his letter. I agree with that statement. I didn’t hate his letter though. I am just not sure that I agree with his analysis of the situation or the solution that he’s putting forward. Hate is present now more than ever. Is it possible for people to put down their proverbial weapons and join hands right now? Is Boyer’s utopia of no more lines in the sand possible? I’m not sure. I don’t know that there is neutral ground in this war.
Social justice is about equality. With one side already thinking that the other is inferior, how can we achieve that equality? I also don’t think that what Kaepernick is doing is actually an act of hate. Is it? He’s not saying that he hates the flag, or America, he is simply saying that he doesn’t agree with the way that certain American’s are treated. His protest is directed at the justice system. He’s protesting in a way that’s extremely peaceful also. It’s causing a lot of chatter on social media. But that means people are talking about it. They are trying to educate themselves on the topic and understand what the issue is. I don’t see anything wrong with that, myself. If both sides could come together, I would support that as well. I will point my thoughts in that direction, but I’m not sure it’s possible right now.