My parents came to the United States from Taiwan in the 70s to pursue better opportunities in life. But in the 80s, when the so-called “Five Asian Tigers” experienced an economic boom led by their export-driven economies – which then spurred political liberalization due to a growing middle class – my parents moved back.
I remember returning to Taiwan as a child, and my mother taking me to the movie theaters. Taiwan technically remained a martial law country until 1986. Until then, at the movie theaters, they would play the Taiwan national anthem before the movie – very martial, F-16 jet fighters screaming across the screen – and, the audience *had to stand.
I remember having to be told by my mom to stand and – not fidget. There might be police watching, she said. It’s unfathomable to me to imagine that in the United States, you would go to an AMC Theater to watch Frozen, and prior to the screening, the theater would play the Stars Spangled Banner, and the entire audience would be *required to stand at attention, with the notion that the police “might be watching.”
I celebrate that Colin Kaepernick has the choice to sit.
I celebrate that Colin Kaepernick can choose to sit during the national anthem, to protest injustices he sees (degrees to which we may disagree on, yes), because he believes that our society has fallen short of America’s best ideals.
In one act (or non-act), Colin Kaepernick draws attention to both how we as a nation might have failed ourselves, while demonstrating in other regards, where we as a Nation are indeed the land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.