Friday, September 16, 2016

Trampling Other's Sacred Symbols

It was during Reagan’s America that I joined the military. It was a good time to be in the military I think. A lot of things have changed since then. I make no bones about serving and was happy to do so. The military gave me a lot, and I gave a lot to the military. I feel I’m a pretty patriotic guy. I stand for the National Anthem and I salute or put my hand over my heart for the flag. I like others to do the same but realize some do not. That’s their right. That’s why I served so that they have the freedom to not show reverence for this country if they so choose. What I don’t appreciate is not respecting those that choose to show reverence for our country. If you are a NFL Quarterback and you went to college I think you’ve been given a few things. You had to work very hard to get to that point I think and I applaud that. I take issue with the fact that there are few countries you could do that in. There are even fewer countries you could protest in. Not showing a respect for my country does rub me the wrong way, even though I understand anyone’s right to do so. Black people and people of color can get a raw deal in this country. But I can tell you what, if you were to visit some African, Asian, and South American countries you will see what oppression really looks like! I’m sorry that this world is not as it should be. I’m sorry black people are still oppressed in this country. But black people and people of color have great privilege in this country too. We have a black President. There are black people in every in every job you can think of in this country. There are many opportunities for people of every color in this country. Some do not think so. Colin Kaepernick signed a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $12,328,766 signing bonus, $61,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19,000,000. Those numbers are staggering! Now I’m not knocking Colin. He may be a very generous guy who gives his time and money to charity, I don’t know. But I’m not sure oppression is something Colin is real familiar with, but I may be wrong. Here is his statement:
"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", referencing a series of events that led to the “Black Lives Matter” movement and adding that he would continue to protest until he feels like "[the American flag] represents what it’s supposed to represent”.
No offense Colin, but I’m not sure you know what that flag is “supposed to represent.” I gues we could change that to what HE thinks it should represent. This, to me, makes little sense. I guess Colin is going to be sitting the rest of his life. I hope that’s not ALL he’s doing. Because if that’s the extent of his “protest”, I’m not sure his cause will get very far. The same goes for any other Yahoo that sits rather than stands. I’m sure my “Yahoo” reference has tipped my hand that I’m not too impressed with a guy who is brought up well, gets a good education and then uses his talent to make LOTS of money, and THEN protests. Hey Colin, your Superbowl ring is showing! You could probably feed a small country on what that ring would bring in on e-bay. But I digress. Having money and being worth a lot is not a bad thing. It also does not mean you can’t protest or have an opinion. Sometimes it’s not the protest but the way they protest. Burning the flag is quite an ironic thing to me. What that flag represents is why you CAN burn the flag! Protesting is OK but actually doing something to make a difference in this country is what is impressive. I don’t care if I agree with what you want to do, if you’re doing it in a civilized, respectful of others type of protest, you might even persuade others to join you. Doing something that offends may get you recognized and grab headlines, but it’s not very smart. I don’t like when others fail to show respect to the symbols that represent this great country. I took an oath to defend this country and others have died to protect it. Don’t show your disrespect of the symbols others fought and died for. It makes it look like you don’t appreciate what they died for, even though that may not be true. Making real change in this country will only happen when you win hearts and minds. Those who were against the Viet Nam war won the hearts and minds of Americans. It wasn’t the sit-ins and marches that did it. It was changing the way people feel, which changed the way they voted and what they supported. That’s how real change happens. So Colin, go ahead and sit all you want. Until you start some real debate and help others to change the way they think, only then will you see change. If you think the American flag doesn’t represent what you think it should, not standing for the National Anthem is not going to change that. That flag still represents what it always has represented. No amount of oppression will change what Old Glory stands for. You just show your ignorance by thinking that if Black Lives Matters gets all the things they want, that then will the flag represent truth, freedom, and liberty. There will always be something wrong with this country and every other country. There is no utopia or perfect country and there never will be. Because imperfect humans are involved.
But this country is still the great experiment. This country has lit the world on fire for two centuries and it is because some gave what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” to its idea that privileged quarterbacks who make $114,000,000 in 6 years get to whine about what they find wrong with a nation that allows them that $114,000,000 privilege! Protesting is one thing but putting down a symbol that represents something that people long for and risk everything for is plain stupid. How do problems and things that need to be changed in this country have any bearing on the flag, and the anthem? If the 49ers lose a game does that mean the logo no longer means anything to their fans? No! These symbols represent freedom or they don’t. The symbols don’t change. I, for one, think that sitting during the National Anthem only reflects on your manners more than anything else! I know that other athletes support this action, and even some vets. It doesn’t make much sense to me. But I also think that these symbols mean something different to those who have served in the military. I’m not saying that those who have never served are not patriotic but your understanding of freedom changes when they put a gun in your hand and say “defend this against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It also means something different to watch your friends give all for those symbols and what they represent. I don’t like war. I especially do not like war for no reason. But really, when you get down to it, have any of the wars we’ve been in been for a good reason save the revolutionary war? There may be some who thought the revolutionary war was not for a good cause.
Until you put all on the line don’t tell me it’s not worth it. Luckily, privileged quarterbacks don’t set policy in this country. Be careful what you support. Don’t get taken in by the “protest” hype. Work for change where change is needed. Protest if you must but if you want to get anywhere but the front of the Sports section, give an argument that is logical and passionate.
And please, leave my sacred symbols alone if you want to change my mind.

Semper Paratus
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