Colin Kaepernick is making a peaceful effort to bring attention to problems facing oppressed people by sitting during the national anthem. Kaepernick’s methods are getting a rise. But what matters more than Kaepernick’s methods is our responses. Our responses show whether we care more about nationalism or about the lives people in this nation.

In his book Democracy for the Few, Michael Parenti reminds that “A nation’s greatness can be measured by the democratic nature of its institutions, by its ability to create a society free of poverty, racism, sexism, exploitation, imperialism, and environmental devastation. There is no better way to love one’s country, and strive for the fulfillment of its greatness, than to entertain critical ideas that enable us to pursue social justice at home and abroad.”

Silencing protests won’t fix problems in social justice, so the criticisms need to be examined. One of the problems raised by Keapernick is killings by police. The ideas of those calling for an end to police violence are being shared and discussed through organizations such as Campaign Zero. The ideas at the Campaign Zero website are “updated continuously in response to the ideas and insights of activists, organizers and concerned citizens nationwide.”

As Humanists we recognize the common humanity of all people and “urge the use of reason and compassion to produce the kind of world we want – a world in which peace, prosperity, freedom, and happiness are widely shared.” Our response should be a way for “men and women of goodwill to further the building of a peaceful and prosperous world.”

Featured image via Brook Ward / Flickr 

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