Several letters lately have complained of Colin Kaepernick’s nixing of the use of Betsy Ross’s flag on Nike sneakers. I agree with them – that flag represents our country establishing itself against King George’s tyranny and it would be good to see it anywhere, including sneakers.
But I’m not writing to defend sneakers or Betsy Ross or even Kaepernick himself. What bothers me about those letters is the idea that people who complain about America should leave it (“beat feet out of town,” “go to another country,” they said).
“Freedom of speech” doesn’t mean “You can say what you want as long as you agree with me;” if we got rid of all the complainers, not only would we never improve as a country, America as we envision it would cease to exist. Freedom of speech isn’t a nice thing to have; it is what America is.
It’s strange that we look down on countries where protesters and journalists are arrested, jailed and tortured, countries where there is no freedom of speech and yet we want to put a cork on Kaepernick.
That makes no sense at all.