During Wednesday’s Presidential Town Hall on CNN, President Obama weighed in on the national anthem protest San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players by stating, “honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation.” And “We fight sometimes so that people can do things that we disagree with.”
Obama said, “I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation. And, I think that, for me, for my family, for those who work in the White House, we recognize what it means to us, but also what it means to the men and women who are fighting on our behalf. But I’m also always trying to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion, and to make different decisions about how to they want to express their concerns. And the test of our fidelity to our Constitution, to freedom of speech, to our Bill of Rights, is not when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. We fight sometimes so that people can do things that we disagree with. But that’s what freedom means in this country. And so, my hope would be that, as this debate surfaces, we’re always reminding ourselves that, in a democracy like ours, there are going to be a lot of folks that we just don’t agree with. But, as long as they’re doing it within the law, then we can voice our opinion objecting to it, but it’s also their right.”
Obama further stated, “I want Mr. Kaepernick, and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”
He concluded that he hopes anyone expressing any opinion does so under the protection of US troops, and their sacrifice must be appreciated.
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