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Room for Debate

Roomfor Debate

Anewspaper always publishes articles dedicated to different kinds ofreaders. As an established newspaper, theNew York Timespublish a series of articles aimed at entertaining, informing, andeducating the public. At times, the newspaper’s editorial providesroom for debate. Under the series, individuals aregiven the opportunity to participate in discussions of various issuesof concern. This paper presents an insightful and critical analysisof a series known as Americansand their Flag.After presenting a summary of the article and responses, the papergoes ahead to critique the ideas of each debater.

Americasand their Flagis an article which presents a story on the perceptions of theAmerican flag by the American citizens. The author exclaims that itis a national symbol that is valued by all the citizens. The Americanflag flies high during different occasions such as sports events.This is why whenever American athletes want to engage in anyinternational sporting event they have to sing the national anthem.However, this has been received differently by various people.Whereas many Americans show respect for the flag, a few individualshave not been doing so. The paper cites an example of ColinKaepernick who refused to stand when singing the national anthem.Colin, who is a member of San Francisco 49ers vows to continuedefying the national flag because of his protest for the oppressionof African-Americans and the people of color within the USA(Elikwu 2).However, as the author exclaims, Collin’s behavior has elicited amix of reactions from his team members and the general public.

Inhis response to the incident, Prof. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, in herarticle theEmotional Attachment of National Symbols,says that American flag, just like the other national symbols likethe Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, conveys the meaning ofthe country’s ideals, myths, and history. The American University’seducation and sociology associate professor observe that the nationalsymbols are important because of various reasons. It was justifiablefor Collin to feel offended at the country’s ideals. Collinbelieved that he should not stand because the flag has not beenrespected. Nevertheless, Cynthia concludes her argument by sayingthat the national flag deserves respect(Marvin and David 112).

InColin Kaepernick’s Actions Show that Symbols Pledge Allegianceto Principles, Rashid Robinson supports Colin’s actions. Hesays that it was a sign of patriotism because he was fighting for agood cause. For a long time, many Americans have held the view thatAmerican symbols should just be respected for the sake of it.However, Rashid criticizes this view by exclaiming that real patriotsshould stand with the values depicted by these symbols. This isbecause the flag symbolizes justice and equality. It is for thecommon good of all Americans regardless of their color and socialstatus (Ortner 1344).

InI Fought to Defend Colin Kaepernick’s Actions, Brian AdamJones, a former US Marine, boldly expresses his support for Colin’sactions. Having served in the Marine Corps, Brian knows what it meansto defend one’s country. The author says the national flag issacred and symbolic because it represents values like freedom ofexpression. A true patriot should be free to initiate a debate on thevalues symbolized by the flag (O`Leary 49).

InDon’t Mess with the Stars and Stripes, Mark Leepson arguesagainst Colin’s action. Mark who is a reputable historian andjournalist says that American flag, just like other national symbols,is a sacred symbol that deserves undisputable respect. For a verylong time, the national anthem has been sung during sporting eventsand in schools, Senate, and the House of Representatives. This has tocontinue because it unifies the nation, provides a sense of identity,and pride to Americans. No patriotic American should disrespect theflag whatsoever. Anyone willing to express the freedom of expressionor fighting for any good course should not behave like Colin becauseit can be risky to do so (Kemmelmeier and David 862).

ProfessorCynthia is con because she does not approve the action taken byCollin to ignore the flag. Standing when the national anthem is beingplayed is a respectful conduct. Standing in response to the flag alsoshows that the citizen is loyal to the country. Rashid Robinson ispro because he approves the action taken by Collin. The player issupporting the course of racial tolerance in the United States.Collin also illustrates that the flag should be respected byprotecting the rights and freedoms of all people in America. BrianAdam Jones is pro because he supports Collin. The former marine showsthat the national flag represents freedom of expression. It is,therefore, important for the society to allow people like Collin tocommunicate their social, economic, or political dissatisfaction.Mark Leepson is con because he does not approve the conduct ofCollin. The historian considers the flag as sacred. All Americansshould be alert when the flag is being raised. Even though thesociety has racial challenges, the flag reminds people that Americais one nation.

HolisticCritical Thinking Scoring Rubric (HCTSR) is a good measure forranking the critical thinking abilities of the editorials. Brian AdamJones is number one based on critical thinking. He supports theactions of Colin because it demonstrates freedom of expression. TheAmerican constitution allows all Americans to demonstrate theirviews. Jones also explains that any citizen should have theopportunity to initiate discussions about the values symbolized bythe American flag for example, respect for all people. RashidRobinson is number two. He demonstrates that Colin’s action showspatriotism by addressing challenges of racial relations. Americanshould protect the values of the flag for example, unity and freedomof all Americans. Prof. Cynthia Miller-Idriss is number three. Sheexplains that the American flag shows appropriate ideals forinstance, embracing the diversity of the society. She further statesthat the flag should be respected because it enhances American prideand nationhood. Mark Leepson is number four based on criticalthinking. He explains that the national flag should be respectedbecause it unites the diverse communities of the United States. Healso explains that the flag is a source of pride for Americans and,therefore, should be respected during important events likecompetitive sports.

Inconclusion, I would like to express my support for Colin. I supportthe arguments of Cynthia, Rashid, and Brian. These scholars are rightfor defending Colin because his action was a sign of patriotism.Prof. Cynthia is right because the flag provides a sense of identity,evokes emotions, and connect Americans as a large family. Rashid isalso right for saying that a real patriot should uphold the spirit ofequality, instead of just standing for the flag even if its idealsare trampled. This is why he says that Colin is a hero and a patriotwhose example should be emulated by other Americans. Brian is alsojustified for exclaiming that any serious American who views the flagas a symbol of freedom should not demonstrate that by simply standingwhen singing the national anthem. Instead, they should be like Colinwho stood against racism in the country. It is for this reason thatBrian supports Colin. There is no way a patriot can respect the flagblindly without being concerned about the way its values areimplemented. Although the USA is a democratic nation, it has failedto eradicate vices and illegal practices like racism (Goldstein 73).This is why the nation needs bold men like Colin who can defy thenorms for the sake of creating a just, equal, and free society.


Elikwu,David. &quotColin Kaepernick, The First Amendment And PoliticalChange In America.&quot TheMarket Mogul(2016).

Goldstein,Robert Justin. Saving&quotOld Glory&quot: The history of the American flag desecration controversy.New York: Westview Press, 1995. Print.

Kemmelmeier,Markus, and David G. Winter. &quotSowing patriotism, but reapingnationalism? Consequences of exposure to the American flag.&quotPoliticalPsychology29.6 (2008): 859- 879.

Marvin,Carolyn, and David, W. Ingle. Bloodsacrifice and the nation: Totem rituals and the American flag.New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Print.

O`Leary,Cecilia. Todie for: The paradox of American patriotism.Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999. Print.

Ortner,Sherry B. &quotOn key symbols.&quot Americananthropologist75.5 (2011): 1338-1346.