Ed Hall lays out the logical, historically valid argument. He's not the only one who shrugs and states the obvious, including one of the Internet's better-known actual veterans, whose full statement is there but whose pullout quote is this:
With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might.
But that's not respect.
It's only the illusion of respect. ... Is that what you want?
If that's what matters to you, the illusion of respect, then you're not talking about freedom or liberty. You're not talking about the United States of America. Instead you're talking about every dictatorship from the Nazis to North Korea where people are lined up and made to salute with the muzzle of a gun pressed to the back of their necks.
That, that illusion of respect, is not why I wore a uniform.
That's not why I held up my right hand and swore the oath and put my life on the line for my country.
But, then, this isn't civics class, after all. It's a culture war.
So, on the right, we have the superpatriots who insist that, since Kaepernick has an extraordinarily good salary, he has no standing to criticize the government. These are the same people who insist that we govern according to the wishes of the Founding Fathers, most of whom had also profited substantially under the system they sought to correct.
Obviously, income is not what separates Washington, Madison, Monroe and Jefferson from Colin Kaepernick, and plenty of his critics are quite clear in their feelings on that difference, as they were with Gabby Douglas.
Nothing new in that, of course:
Workers have long been kept in place by alternating "We cannot yield to an illegal work stoppage" with "See? Everyone's working! There's no problem to address!"
This hypocrisy could be readily exposed and shoved aside, but, instead, come nonsensical "arguments" from those who defend Kaepernick's right to choose to sit or stand during the national anthem based, not on history or the Constitution, but apparently on their having been pushed around by jocks in middle school, and whose lingering resentment has caused this ridiculous, illogical, counterfactual meme to go viral.
For those who don't follow football, the "things you can do" list is a litany of crimes for which various players have been suspended, banned from the league and/or stripped of endorsements, and for which many of them continue to be booed and heckled if and when they do get out on the field.
And if you ask -- as I have several times -- how that does not mean losing fans, the reply is that, since people still go to the games, there was no loss of popularity.
Nor does their accusation that the big, bad NFL opposes righteous protest hold water. Here is the NFL's official statement on the issue: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."
Kaepernick's coach, and his team, have issued similar statements supporting his right to protest.
So their argument is that you can get away with things the League and your team will punish you for, but you can't get away with things that they explicitly, formally give you permission to do.
I can't find an embed code for this video, but follow this link for a short, dynamic discussion by a scholar, a famous old rebel and a conservative Christian.
Then, if you still can't stop thinking about some eighth grade bully, it's not them. It's you.
Let's keep our perspective: Most people dwell between the fringes, and most people seem to agree that Kaepernick has the right to sit the song out, whether or not they agree with his reasoning.
Your Right To Be Just Like Us
I've lost the various threads of corruption in South African politics and most of their cartoons go over my head, but a journalist friend, Donna Bryson, has written a book on the conflicts of education in that multi-cultural society that is both fascinating and dismaying, and ties into this issue.
There are apartheid-era traditions within the once white-only schools that make our quarrelling over the Confederate flag seem petty, but the grooming issue over which 13-year-old Zulaikha Patel has taken her stand is the sort of permeating social thing that changing names of buildings and taking down statues doesn't address.
The Maverick article mentions conversations in Afrikaans, which would be a puzzler to me if Bryson's book hadn't explained it: There are so many native cultures in South Africa that one cannot expect to speak every language, and black kids regularly choose to learn English, not only the nation's official language but the language which will help them find work in the larger world.
Afrikaans, however, is so widely spoken among white South Africans that it is common for them to switch from English to Afrikaans.
This might be only moderately rude in social conversation, but, in classroom discussion, it's as exclusionary as if black students and lecturers suddenly switched from English to Xhosa and expected white classmates to keep up.
The demand that black students' hair conform to white fashion sends a similar message: We allow you here, but you have to be like us.
As Nathi's cartoon suggests, that is colonialism: We train you to be us; we do not acknowledge any value in being you.
And, as Dav suggests in his panel, the time when little girls sat quietly and waited for justice has passed.
Now here's your moment of zen