Person #1, in full display among others, rejects the anthem that signifies freedom. It is done in peace with intent to have impact.
Person #2, in anonymity, rejects the one act our entire population has to secure our nation’s democracy. The lack of participation resonates for years.
The act of Person #1 will be chastised, ridiculed and called unpatriotic.
The act of Person #2 will live unrecognized.
Person #1 will understand the consequences of their actions before, during, and after their stand is taken.
Person #2, by refusing to participate, either does not understand or does not care how their lack of involvement influences future events in their nation.
The actions of Person #1 will cause him or her to lose current earning power and future financial opportunities.
The non-action of Person #2 may cause him or her to lose current earning power, future financial opportunities, the ability to choose where their taxes are spent, and how decisions will impact education, environment, medical care, and freedoms for all people in society.
Both person #1, the athlete that protest during the Star Spangled Banner and person #2, the citizen who does not vote, may be called unpatriotic. But, at the moment of truth, each person has a decision to make. One will choose to make a stand and one will not. Both are willing to accept the consequences of their decisions for themselves and their families.
Only one, though, will have the power to make things better. There will be those who opine that it is wrong, unpatriotic, senseless, disrespectful. But choosing to use the 1st amendment does not have a caveat of when, where and how. It is what our military fought for and continues fighting for. Using First Amendment rights is showing an act of respect, whether or not the place and time used is in disrespect.
It is disrespect to not vote, not stand for something or someone, not choose to voice their opinions and influence the direction of where they live and the country they love. The lack to act is both born of inconvenience and honest in its betrayal. It is that betrayal that lies in the weeds in a sanctum of anonymity.
Society should pause and choose how to individually respond to the actions of person #1 however our country should be more concerned in the non-actions of person #2.