Professional Football player Colin Kaepernick recently chose not to stand for the playing of the national anthem and some on the internet almost lost their minds. Quickly people came out strongly, both in support and against him. Many focused on his personal qualities or how Kaepernick's career had taken a bad turn. Like much of the reactions these days, it focuses proving a point and shutting down conversation. Most are more interested in winning an argument then engaging in useful discourse.
I'd like to suggest that your personal opinions aren't the most important issue. Instead it's your willingness to add to a shared conversation. Don't agree? That's fine but more voices make for a better discussion. You agree? Great, but don't crowd out those that don't. So long as they are respectful and thoughtful, diverse viewpoints will always lead to more meaningful understanding.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Evelyn Beatrice Hall
Hall was summarizing the sediment of French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. Such feelings on liberty were not uncommon among our Founding Fathers. When did we become so quick to choose sides? Why are we so afraid of disagreeing?
Perhaps we have somehow forgotten how to properly do it. Luckily I've included a primer to help:
Hopefully, the next time you're on Facebook or Twitter and run into something you don't agree with - you'll be more likely to keep from getting into a pointless "flame war" and be willing to step back and see the bigger picture. Would you be willing to defend another's expression even if you were personally against it?
PS: He's what I said about Richard Sherman and philosopher Immanuel Kant.
PPS: If you're going to protest, do it in style like Johnny Cash: