(Orlando Sentinel) Jeremy Levitt, in his Friday guest column, criticizes anyone who does not praise Colin Kaepernick’s conduct (“If he had given black-power salute, would Kaepernick’s foes be happier?”).
The premise of Levitt’s commentary is that if you disagree with Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem, you are denying him his First Amendment right of freedom of expression.
There are two fallacies in Levitt’s comments: First, disagreeing with Kaepernick’s conduct in no way abridges his First Amendment right of freedom of expression; and, second, characterizing the subsequent treatment of Kaepernick as being “like a rebellious slave in need of plantation-style discipline” is a reduction to absurdity at its worst.
Levitt wants us to believe his description of Kaepernick’s motives are facts rather than his opinions. For example, his description of Kaepernick as “highly intelligent” and “a patriotic anti-inequality, anti-racist and anti-injustice human-rights activist” are his assumptions.
In my opinion, Levitt simply fails to understand that a societal reaction to an affront to patriotism is a natural and expected response that does not depreciate the issue.
Levitt trivializes the issue by demeaning any patriotic response regarding standing for the national anthem by saying that it is “a sociocultural norm like racism.” The exercise of First Amendment rights and patriotism are not mutually exclusive.
As a nation, we revere our flag. It is the symbol of our country, which evokes passion in all Americans who love this country and what it stands for.