Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Feb 26, 2017

Let’s not forget community

By Jim Turner | Feb 16, 2017

To the editor:

The roots of individualism and community are deep in our character, our culture and our heritage as Americans. We believe in individual rights.

It goes back to the American Revolution and most notably our Bill Of Rights – a Bill Of Rights that offered the greatest protection of, and support for, individual rights the world had ever known.

We have freedom of speech, religion, thought, expression and privacy all guaranteed in our constitution. No one can take these rights from us and due process in our judicial system is a powerful defense if they try.

Through amendments to our constitution, African Americans, women, the handicapped and countless other minority groups have been extended the rights of equality as American citizens that so many others have enjoyed over the course of our history.

And even the most recent immigrants to our nation have many of those rights even before they become American citizens.

America respects the individual-protects their individual rights-and will even do so when a certain individual may be the underdog, virtually alone in some form of dissent or opposition to majority will.

But America is about a strong and abiding sense of community, too. Only through large groups of Americans working together has our country become what it is today.

It is often the right thing to subordinate our individual concerns, beliefs, and interests to the community’s interests. It shows a selfless desire to respect the community we belong to.

For instance, Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit while the national anthem is played is a right he holds as an American citizen. We all respect that. But he is also wearing a team uniform, belonging to a league and representing his city. He is not at a football game and on TV for the purpose of expressing his individual political and social beliefs.

He must take into account the communities he represents before he decides to set himself apart from them.

If he decides to sit to show that he believes Black Lives Matter, does that mean that everyone who is standing does not? Are the veterans and men in uniform at the game considered in his actions?

Does his choice of time and place to show his protest reflect a respect for the commitment he has made to his team and his employer? Belonging to a team is necessarily a commitment to shared values.

I like Colin Kaepernick and I agree wholeheartedly with his stand to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter. They do matter.

And there is room for improvement in many other issues we all face as Americans today.

But please, in an era when individualism seems to trump community at every turn, let’s all try to be less self-centered, less involved with our social media exposure and more involved with the people around us.

American history is full of people who strived to create and preserve a better nation for all Americans. But they also put the good of the community first. Let us all try to do the same.

 

– Jim Turner, Fairfield

 

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