Don’t take freedom for granted

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People may be proud of being American, but Americans sure do take their freedom for granted.

Here we are, 240 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution, and people are still flocking to live in this beautiful country. Times change and countries evolve, but one thing still remains: people are proud to be American. 

There has been a controversy all over the news recently dealing with San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem before kick-off happened in a pre-season match up. By doing so, he wanted to send a message about the mistreatment of minorities in America and how he felt he couldn’t support a country that didn’t offer the freedoms it preached it had.

As I have scanned social media in the time following the event, there has been an uprising of people disgusted over the actions of this professional athlete. People have been burning his jerseys and criticizing his character.

Yet, there is a video out there of an American Olympic athlete participating in the pole vault competition. Upon starting his attempt to clear the bar, the National Anthem began playing and he stopped immediately in the middle of his run to stand at attention for the song he so dearly loved. In fact, we learn he is a member the U.S. military and has been taught to behave in such a manner. 

US soldiers, like the Olympic athlete, serve and protect our country to make sure people like Kaepernick are given the right to make choices like he did. I may not necessarily agree with his approach to the issue, but I can’t argue with his want to stand up for something he believes in. 

America is not just a collection of individualists, but a makeup of people, like Kaepernick and the Olympic athlete, who are striving for the better good of all those around them. This country seeks to bless the lives of those who have experienced destruction, poverty, illness and death. It allows for tomorrow to be the best day of someone’s life because they don’t know what kind of blessings may come their way.

For someone like Shadman Bashir, a native citizen of Pakistan and an adjunct professor in the social and behavioral sciences department, gaining citizenship would mean a lot to him.

He said people in this country take their basic freedoms for granted. 

“I want to [apply for citizenship] because when I become a citizen, my rights will increase,” Bashir said. “I can vote [and] do so many things which I can’t do when I’m a foreign resident.” 

Bashir said he wants to apply for citizenship next year after he has lived out his time on his green card.

Have we ever gone to such great lengths to show how much we value the freedoms and rights we have? I know I haven’t.

Even though we take our freedoms for granted, we appreciate the things around us that reminders of what America is all about.

Roman Burke, a senior criminal justice major from South Jordan, said America is epitomized by “beer, guns, and bald Eagles.”

We live in an amazing country. A country that gives us more rights than most of us know. We should not take our freedoms for granted because if we do, one day we may lose that very freedom. 

In the words of Ron Burgundy, “Don’t just have a great night, have an American night.”