Re­spect oth­ers’ opin­ions even if you dis­agree

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - OPINIONS -

ED­I­TOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

There is no ques­tion when it comes to broc­coli: You ei­ther love it or you hate it. No mat­ter what side of the de­bate you are on, you have friends and maybe even rel­a­tives that are on the op­po­site side of your opin­ion of broc­coli. But do you let your dif­fer­ences di­vide you? Would you hate them for it? Would you delete them from your so­cial me­dia con­tact lists? Would you let it ruin your friend­ship? Of course not. You might not like broc­coli at all, but you ac­cept the fact that your neigh­bor likes it or vice versa. And if you wanted to take a knee to make a point about how much you like or dis­like it, have at it. I re­spect your opin­ion.

So why is it any dif­fer­ent when it comes to kneel­ing for the na­tional an­them? Some sup­port kneel­ing and oth­ers don’t. It’s just a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion. You don’t have to like it at all, or you might sup­port it 100% — both are your right. I won’t kneel for the na­tional an­them be­cause I served for more than 30 years in the mil­i­tary, my fa­ther served for 28 years be­fore me and one of my daugh­ters now is serv­ing. That’s why I al­ways stand, but it also is why I al­ways will de­fend the right of oth­ers to kneel for the na­tional an­them. That is the essence of my mil­i­tary ser­vice, to pro­tect in­di­vid­ual rights and free­doms. For me to con­demn any­one for ex­press­ing their per­sonal right to kneel would be hyp­o­crit­i­cal. It’s a “yes” or “no” propo­si­tion.

You ei­ther sup­port in­di­vid­ual rights or you do not. You can­not pick and choose which ones you wish to sup­port. If you wish to kneel for the na­tional an­them, I served for your right to do so.

SHER­IFF KARL LEONARD. CH­ESTER­FIELD COUNTY.

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