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Who is More to Blame for the Anthem Divide – Trump or Kaepernick?

At the recent endorsement rally for Alabama Senate Candidate, Luther Strange, Donald Trump provoked much of the mainstream media with what they regarded as callous statements about the NFL and players sitting for the National Anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects the flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—off the field right now. He’s fired’,” Trump said. Some media reports deemed Trump’s statements to be not of a presidential mold and unnecessary as it relates to the wider scope of the President’s responsibilities, but others found it to be honorable, patriotic, and upstanding.

In response to the never ceasing arguments from both the left and the right on the issue of NFL players kneeling and sitting for the national anthem, one begs to wonder, objectively, who is more culpable for having caused more divide within the United States—Donald Trump, or said social activist & NFL player, Colin Kaepernick? Do either of them really have the right answers, or have they merely divided the country and its belief systems even more?

It is no secret that the outrage from the political right began with Kaepernick sitting, then kneeling for the national anthem, after he was told by an ex-servicemen that kneeling was ‘more respectful’ and laudable in his eyes. Kaep was also met with backlash when he wore socks with cops depicted as ‘pigs’ to practice. While Kaepernick has been adamant about the idea that he has not intended to disrespect the flag, America, military veterans or servicemen, but instead shed light on social injustices taking place within the country, he inadvertently has ruffled quite a few feathers—to the point where our President felt the need to speak out against and condemn his and others’ actions of sitting and kneeling for the anthem.

The argument then includes talking points like, ‘Well, I’ve seen people buy beer, scream obscenities, or not pay attention to or respect the national anthem at all’, only to have them met with ‘that’s not the point…the point is you pay respect to and stand for the flag, paying respects to all Americans that risk their lives for other Americans’ freedom and liberty.’ Then rounding-about back to the point that Kaep didn’t mean to disrespect the flag, country, or servicemen. A lot of the arguments really are ‘round-about’ in the sense that each side is reluctant to accept what the other deems as fact.

Some have iterated that political discussion and activism should not be and really is not allowed in the workplace—especially when you make millions of dollars. Many citizens have stood by the argument that, if they had pulled a stunt like Kaepernick did in their own workplaces, that they’d be severely reprimanded or likely fired (as Kaep has essentially experienced in not being signed by any team for the 2017 NFL season). The question is, why can’t political discussion exist in the workplace? Because of instances like these that cause great divide? There should be hope that discussions about pertinent issues affecting all Americans can take place despite the sensitive natures of various issues.

If there were more of a desire to understand and cooperate congenially with one another, there really would not be any reason or rationale to tune one another out. I understand politics is a sensitive subject to many, but let’s all try and be more practical, working towards a solution for all rather than just one side. Keep everyone and their perspective in mind.

It appears as though the truth lies somewhere between the notion that both Kaepernick and Trump have missed opportunities for meeting in the middle and engaging in real discussion conducive to changing not only their own views, but the sides in which people find themselves on. As much as we would like to bask in our own self-righteousness and blame the other for abrasive behavior or having caused divide, the truth is neither has taken steps to unite the country in common beliefs, principles, and values. They’re both culpable. We need more people who unite rather than divide, regardless of political leaning.

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