We can do better.
The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
If we all had a strong commitment to live up to these words, would George Floyd and many others be alive today? If silent systemic racism was not widespread and frequently acted out in ways that destroy those rights for many people, would the mass demonstrations have been necessary? When citizens, who were willing to strongly defend those rights but not have a voice as those rights were being destroyed, be one reason that the American Revolution happened?
“Houston, we have a problem!” The problem is much bigger than the acts of individual people that expose the problem. It is a cultural attitude imbedded in our society. A part of our problem stems from us when we only focus on those rights as they apply to ourselves, individually. However, we become the America that our flag stands for by also ensuring those rights for all people.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee to help us realize our failures to guarantee the rights for all people often caused by racism. He tried to make us more aware that we are all disrespecting what our flag stands for by not doing enough to eliminate racism and make certain all people are treated equally and with respect and have their unalienable rights protected, especially the right for life.
We need to actively build a stronger national moral conscience and make our voices heard in order to live up to our mutual rights.