I responded to a Facebook post with the above meme attached with the following words:
They are both (heroes) in their own way. Both stood up to live the courage of their convictions.
Whether you agree with their (individual) stances or not does not diminish one and elevate the other.
One man’s hero is another man’s villain.
I’m not sure what kind of response I will receive in kind to my reply to the post, but the realistic logic of my response is irrefutable.
Our problem today is that we all too often feel the need to conform to collectivist thinking, which is usually dichotomous. As the late Earl Nightingale once opined, “in our society, the opposite of courage is not cowardice, but conformity”. We Americans feel we need to conform to one side of a debate or the other. No room for actual thought, just emotionally pick a side.
I don’t have to agree with or support Kaepernick or Coffee. Their stances are the result of their choices and their individual calling, not mine. I admire both men for doing what they thought was right for their own reasons.
To suggest that one man’s individual sacrifice for a cause is greater or more morally righteous than another man’s sacrifice is not a matter of fact, but rather a matter of opinion.
Kaepernick sacrificed the remainder of his NFL career to protest what he and many others consider a worthy cause.
Coffee sacrificed the remainder of his NFL career for patriotism by serving his country in the United States Army, also a worthy cause.
As a retired Army Soldier, one would think I would be inclined to support Coffee over Kaepernick. However, I recognize what both men represent and I respect them both for their choices.
These two men decided they didn’t want to conform to what the majority of society would expect them to do.
I mean, who throws away a multimillion dollar career to make a political statement or to join the military? Doesn’t that go against conventional Western wisdom?
We tend to forget that just like might does not make right, making millions is not a path to happiness or fulfillment for everyone.
Sometimes, a person’s sense of purpose is more important than making millions of dollars playing a game.
Entertaining the masses has its place and its rewards are well-known. However, following one’s true calling far outweighs the pecuniary rewards.
While one might prefer Coffee’s choice over Kaepernick’s and vice versa, one cannot deny that both have their share of followers who think they are heroes as well as their share of detractors who view them as either fools or villains.
That is the wonderful gift our nation’s founders left us…
The power to elevate or vilify whomever we choose with impunity.
-The Rational Ram