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Opinion

Opinion: Excuse me, who and what defines patriotism?

31. 49ers (5-11)
Hard to tell which is worse: Starting Blaine Gabbert at quarterback or having the backup create a national stir by refusing to stand during the national anthem.
(Tony Avelar / Associated Press)

To the editor: It’s easy to go with the flow of the masses and to display one’s patriotism publicly.

It takes courage and conscientiousness, however, to go against the grain of such nationalistic exhibitions.

( “The furor over Kaepernick,” Editorial, Sept. 1)

If there is such a thing as an American ideal, surely it includes the right of people to pick and choose if and how they express their love of and loyalty to the country.

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Kudos to The Times and to Colin Kaepernick for recognizing this elementary precept.

Ben Miles, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Here in San Diego, the boo-birds are out en masse, ready to attack Kaepernick when he declines to stand for the national anthem.

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Perhaps those boo-birds would sing a different tune if they took the time to observe their fellow fans’ behavior as the national anthem is played at Qualcomm Stadium.

Conduct is spelled out in Title 36 of the U.S. Code: During a rendition of the national anthem, persons present “should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart,” and “men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their” hat and hold it over the heart. Few in the stadium conform to these clear rules.

Most fans’ misconduct during the national anthem is the product of ignorance, indifference or indolence. When Kaepernick refuses to stand, however, he’s standing on principle, and that’s admirable.

Watson Branch, La Jolla

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To the editor: Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Donald Trump criticized Kaepernick for his disrespect for the flag and the country. Your editorial said, “Oh, for goodness’ sake . . . citizens are free to express their opinions.” I’m looking forward to an editorial that might say, “Oh, for goodness sake. We forgot. Trump and Hannity are entitled to that right also.”

James E. Bie, Palm Desert

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To the editor: Has it occurred to the uber-liberal Times editorial board that while Kaepernick has a perfect right to protest conditions in this country by refusing to stand for the national anthem, the rest of us have the perfect right to strongly criticize his actions and statements, boo him at games, refuse to buy his jersey, even burn his jersey in protest of his protest, and call him a spoiled ingrate without raising the hackles of the board?

Wilburn Smith III, Laguna Niguel

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