Kneeling is not a threatening form of body language.
In fact, kneeling is often seen as a form of submission or reverence. For me, it shows a sense of being overwhelmed by the weight of something. When I kneel at church or elsewhere, it's because something is overwhelming me, or I'm putting myself in a position to receive something. It is the recognition of something that is heavy; but something that I must open my arms to. Kneeling is the recognition that you cannot stand for something unless you first acknowledge the weight.
You can disagree with Colin Kaepernick's tactics, but calling him "un-American" is not warranted. For Kaepernick and many other Black Americans, there is a weight tied to being "American". And for other minorities, the same is also true; there is a weight to being "American". It may manifest in different ways, but it's there.
We cannot expect a more whole United States until we realize that the actions of those like Kaepernick, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other forms of protest and expression, are American.
America is only great if we allow it to speak. This means more than the comfortable dialogue and rhetoric we've heard since our founding as a patriarchal, white nation. Now that the conversation is shifting, and we are hearing varied perspectives - and seeing the full breadth of America in people who look nothing like us and believe none of the same things as us - we must recognize that this, too, is American.
His actions - according to his own statements - are nothing against the military or those fighting for our country. He has met with servicepeople and discussed his purpose in it. And though you may disagree with his form of expression, please do not drown out his voice by calling it "un-American". He is shouting his pain and passion for the USA he knows and wants to see grow and progress. And this is American. He is verbally expressing his gratitude for servicepeople and the armed forces that protect his right to speak and protest; this is American. Just as the BLM protestors expressed gratitude to the police that protected their right to protest in the street.
Protest is not "un-American". Silence is. Inaction is. Blindness to pain is.
The Army's Special Forces motto is: De opresso liber. "To liberate the oppressed."
The US Navy: Non sibi sed patriae. "Not for self, but for country." Or, in the case of the protests in the last few months/years/decades, or for any minority in the United States that has fought to be recognized on their own street or city in the United States: "not for self, but for community."
"Liberty and justice for all"/"we the people"/"life liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Let's stop pretending like we all have these freedoms in the same accessibility, and let's stop drowning out the voices who bring that societal truth to the forefront of our consciousness.
De opresso liber. To liberate the oppressed.
This is what we fight for.
This is American.