Is this a great country or not?

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I know I’ve heard it somewhere but I’m not sure where or who said it. I am talking about the quote, “Is this a great country or not?”

That is a question, but it is usually used as a statement. When we hear it, most of the time the person who says it has a smile on his face and something good has happened when something bad could have happened. They take their good fortune as an affirmation that there is no place like America.

I agree and we are seeing many instances of the generosity in this great country even though some very blessed people don’t think so.

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One of the most obvious examples of a person being wonderfully blessed by America, yet not seeming to realize it, is the San Francisco Forty-Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As you probably know, Kaepernick has refused to stand for our national anthem as it is played before the games.

It has been almost universally acknowledged that the quarterback is only exercising his right of free speech. I have seen no one who says that he is breaking any law. One does not have to stand for the playing of our national anthem.

At the same time, I do not believe that Kaepernick is going to get a whole lot of support for his actions. The main reason most people are not going to support him in this defiance is that most Americans are patriotic. I understand that some feel our country has failed to live up to its promises, but most Americans take great pride in standing up, with hand over heart, and singing The Star Spangled Banner.

How often did we see tears flow from the eyes of those Olympians who stood at the center of the awards platforms and received their gold medals? Most Americans felt a part of the ceremony because we identified with our national anthem.

Kaepernick’s bone of contention seems to be that the country is not perfect. To be more specific, he feels that the police in this country are oppressive to people of color. This subject is not new. I’m of Medicare age now and it’s been around all my life.

I’ve written that I understand when there are over one million law enforcement officers in the United States, there has to be some recognition that perfection when doing the job of policing is impossible. There are going to be instances where mistakes are made.

But when considering the millions of actions they perform every day and the split seconds that they have, at times, to perform those tasks, the mistakes are, though regretful, minimal. I think the vast majority of law enforcement officers seek to do their jobs to the best of their ability and without prejudice.

Kaepernick has chosen to highlight the mistakes and deny the good works. It would be like his employer, when negotiating his salary, saying, “Colin, let’s not look at the touchdown throws, but, instead, let’s talk about the interceptions.”

I doubt he would like to figure his pay based upon the mistakes he makes on the field when he has a split second to decide to whom to throw!

And speaking of salary. Colin Kaepernick has a guaranteed salary this year of $11.9 million. You read that right. This man who has decided to remain seated while the national anthem is being played is going to make almost $12 million dollars whether he plays or not!

To which, if he had a lick of sense, he would say, “Is this a great country or not?”