The True Meaning of Courage

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Courage is often used to define the trait of character, which a person is willing to face difficulties, danger, pain and death threat. Careers that are commonly recognized as heroic, or courageous, are policemen, firefighters and lifeguards. War is depicted as victories and we often salute our troops for the courage and bravery they fought for, but the true meaning of courage is often overlooked. Being brave and killing other people does not constitute courage.
The value of courage lies not in the act itself, but in the motivations and values behind it. Being Courageous means to stand up for what you believe to create positive changes in our society, despite the possible backlash it may pose. Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers, decided to sit during the national anthem to call emphasize police brutality and racial injustice: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”(Flaherty). Colin Kaepernick was heavily judged for being courageous, he was thrown out of his career, and received negative backlash. Kaepernick has been accused of being unpatriotic, senseless, narcissist, and a loathsome human being who has zero respect for the military. Even President Trump found Kaepernick as a traitor, asking his supporters in a political rally, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now’?”(Flaherty).

Kaepernick’s motivation to create change and awareness in today’s society by kneeling during the national anthem highlights his courage, even though it costed him his job.Similarly, Courageous students across America are receiving the same treatment as Kaepernick, for also kneeling during the Anthem. Cheerleaders from the University of Southern Illinois, “received a barrage of threatening comments on social media after they took a knee in protest of police brutality” (Esch). To sit instead of standing for the nation’s anthem is found to be offensive to many people but, in reality, suppressing the cheerleaders freedom of speech by using death threats, is the real offense. These cheerleaders felt that they were being treated as less than in their school and in our society. Receiving death threats and sexual assault threats to being called the N-word many times is threatening, but despite that, they are motivated the create change in the world and that is courageous. Another example of being courage, is when the Seattle Storm, A professional basketball team for the WNBA, decided to stand with planned parenthood despite the political backlash they received. They exhibited their courage by promote positive changes for women despite receiving criticism from anti-abortion protestors who would showed up at the game “with the pictures of abortion victims to educate people that this is what abortion does to a baby”(Carbone). Even Though the team faced protests and political persecution, they are being courageous by doing necessary to gain awareness for women’s health rights for a positive change.

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In the other hand, Many Trump supporters view him as a fighter who speaks his mind without constraint, mocking political correctness, challenging the Washington establishment, threatening North Korea, and pulling no punches even against allies. But this is the opposite of courage, because he is not trying to create positive change in the world, but rather to create fear. Trump is an expert of using fear as a form of political propaganda. He molds the views of the public to see america as a dystopia by emphasizing dangers in his speeches and tweets. In the New York Times article, “No President Has Spread Fear Like Donald Trump” Alex Altman, noted that trump scares the American public of Mexican immigrants by calling on to the stage during his speeches “the bereaved parents of children who were killed by people in the U.S. illegally”(Altman).

Using negative propaganda is not the same as being courageous even if it leads to backlash, because it doesn’t have a positive motivation for change. All through history, courageous people such as Martin luther king Jr, and Rosa Parks stood up for what they believed in even though many people found their acts as offensive. This is no different in today’s society, where simply kneeling during the national anthem or supporting an organization, is seen as offensive and causes negative reactions. But to those athletes and people who stand for what they believe is necessary to cause positive change in the world are in fact, courageous.

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