I write in response to John Davis (letter, July 17).

Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe are standing on solid, patriotic, American footing. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to make someone participate in patriotic activities. The court said forcing anyone to salute the flag and pledge allegiance invades the “sphere of intellect and spirit” that the First Amendment protects.

In the Declaration of Conscience speech made by Maine U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, she stated the basic principles of “Americanism” were: the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, and the right of independent thought.

Others have supported dissent:

Thomas Jefferson: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

 Benjamin Franklin: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

Abraham Lincoln: “If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American people.”

John F. Kennedy: “Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive.”

U.S. Sen. Carl Schurz: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

The right to dissent is as American as apple pie and the Declaration of Independence.

Crystal Ward, Lewiston