I, like everyone else, have an opinion on sports and the flag and kneeling. I consider myself a patriot and I LOVE my country and the freedoms she affords. She is not perfect by any means, nor is her past without blemish, but that does not negate what she stands for and the opportunities that she presents today. Perfection is not a pre-requisite for greatness. In fact, past offenses are not disqualifications, but opportunities to get better when we look at them in proper light.
 
I love our republic and I love our Constitution. Many who know me know that I am an avid 2nd Amendment person, but I am equally a 1st Amendment proponent as well. Today, many are attacking that 1st Amendment because we don’t like what is being said. The beauty of our Constitution is that it provides for ALL. A lot of what is said today I do not like or agree with, but I respect that we have the freedom to express ourselves and our thoughts and feelings, even when everyone does not agree.
 
The socio-political climate right now that wants to shut down free speech that we do not like is not only counter-productive, but incredibly dangerous. When one loses their voice, everyone loses their voice! Free speech in a free country allows for “speech” that we don’t like or agree with.  That is the absolute beauty of our system – everyone gets a voice whether they are part of the popular notion or a voice of dissent. This is why America is great and needs to be defended against those that would try to shut the voice of anyone – liberal, conservative, progressive, black, white, female, male. Everyone gets a voice. Who listens is up to them, but we cannot – we must not – shut the mouth and silence the voice of anyone and their opinion, thought and rhetoric.
 
Personally, I honor our military, police and first responders of all varieties. Are they perfect? No. Are their orders always right? Of course not. Are there “bad apples” in the bunch? Sure there are. But, as the saying goes, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We don’t demonize an entire group because of the evil of a few. Can we, should we, and do we voice our frustration and yes even anger over the evil deeds of those who do them and the injustice that ensues? Absolutely! That is what will produce change and make us better. We the People are the voice. But, in the midst of those atrocities and injustice we must NEVER demonize an entire group and try to silence them. This friends, is the beginning of the end of our republic and our freedom.
 
Freedom is tough. Freedom actually takes work because when we are all free, that freedom expresses itself in ways that we may find uncomfortable or even dislike. But that is the price of freedom: Free and powerful people learning to live together even in the midst of disagreement and working toward a better end.
 
So, sports, the flag and kneeling…
 
I personally will always stand and give respect and honor to those who have fought and even given their lives and livelihood for my freedoms, including my freedom of speech. But, even though I dislike athletes kneeling for the National Anthem, and to be perfectly honest, it frustrates me that sports (and hollywood and everything else seemingly) has become so politicized, I must respect the right of an individual to “voice” their opinion, even when I think its the wrong place, time or even “fight”. Because that’s what America is and that is precisely why she is great.
 
So, kneel if you must, I recognize that is your privilege and I honor that, but in the words of my friend Matt, for me, “I will always stand for a flag that protects my right to take a knee!”
 
Peace

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