Alright, friends and family, I’m over this. I’ve remained really quiet and patient about the strange dumpster fire that has become the politics of the United States for some time, namely to avoid any stressful discourse with those who tow a much different political line than I do. But I’ve had it. I’m really, really over all this, so I’m posting my perspective here so you can choose to follow or unfollow as you wish. Please do so with extreme prejudice.
A little background here. I’m a Navy veteran. My dad is an Air Force veteran. My grandparents and great-grandparents are are a mix of Navy, Army, and Coast Guard veterans. In fact, I’m darn near “Lieutenant Dan” status. My family has been in America for so long, we’ve fought in pretty much every war, going back to the American Revolution. Yep, I have ancestors buried in Confederate cemeteries throughout the South. I’d tell you where, but lots of folks have already kicked over those headstones. Vandals. It wasn’t political, I don’t think. I consider myself a Southerner, and I was once proud of the “stars and bars”. “Heritage not Hate”. I absolutely subscribed to that. But that was long before groups of very narrow minded idiots decided to use it for propaganda purposes, and never understood one damn thing about what Southern heritage meant.
So, now on to this whole NFL-players-kneeling deal.
If you think for one damn second that I, as 17 year old wet-behind-the-ears kid, signed my name on the enlistment papers, suited up, and gave Uncle Sam a blank check with my life on it, just so some rich sports guys, few if any who served a day in the military, could just kneel while the National Anthem was played…
Well, you’d be right.
See, this country was built on political dissent and discourse. Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It was falsely attributed to Voltaire, because she was a woman writing in the time before women could vote. Writing in a time when blacks couldn’t sit at the same lunch counter as whites. Writing in a time before we locked Japanese in internment camps. I absolutely agree with her, in every imaginable way. It is a principle for which America did, and should stand. We are a nation of those who stand up for what we believe in.
Kneeling to illustrate that one group of people feels injustice, in this day and age, in no way is deleterious of the courage and sacrifice of our veterans. Yes, those athletes are wealthy, but who better to stand up and fight for a group of have-nots? They have a massive platform, and I suggest we listen to them, debate with them, converse with them, and ultimately, seek to understand them.
America, to me, is the shining hope of freedom, equality, justice, truth, and peace. I’ll throw science in there too, because we have made some amazing things. Look at the visionaries we have seen throughout the years who have contributed to our scientific prowess. Men like Tesla, Musk, Einstein; In case you noticed, I named immigrant visionaries on purpose. That vision is what I believe in, what I fought for, and what I like to think my forefathers fought for. If some men, who represent a great and diverse cultural cross-section of America, playing on a sports field, kneeling before an anthem, somehow offends your thin-skinned sensibilities, maybe YOU are the one in the wrong country, not them.
The flag is sacred, to me, yes. It’s important as a symbol of the freedoms that America purports to uphold. But seems like most of you have forgotten, so for those that are unfamiliar with Title 4 of the USC (and we military guys love our regs), remember this: “The flag should not be used as “wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery”, or “for covering a speaker’s desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general (exception for coffins). The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed, or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it or attached to it.” (Frankly, this means you, Blue Lives Matter folks).
And in case you’re wondering about the legal precedent about kneeling or saluting flags and anthems? I suggest you read the 1943 Supreme Court decision (interestingly brought on religious bases) regarding whether or not any American citizen is required to pledge or stand for an anthem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Virginia_State_Board_of_Education_v._Barnette
We are in extraordinary times, folks. Disasters befall our friends and family like never before. A nuclear-armed country is emerging that would love nothing more than to eradicate American values from the face of the earth. Famine and death spread not only through countries we’ve long forgotten, but in countries that are close to our hearts, countries that are a part of America; I mourn for Puerto Rico, a country very close to my Seabee heart. I worry for friends that have pre-existing conditions that might lose healthcare. Or friends that have kids that might be yanked out of America and deported to countries they may never have known.
Ok, ok, yes, I covered a lot of issues when I only meant to talk about NFL players kneeling. But we have a Commander in Chief right now who is more concerned with uninviting people from the White House than he is with world issues. Southerners, he has DUPED you. This is a classic New York shyster whose only claim to fame is real estate, pageants, and game shows. Yeah, I get it, you hated Hillary, fine, me too, but honestly, you can stop supporting this asshole anytime you like. Admit your mistake. Can we all agree that he called a war hero “not a war hero because I don’t like people who get captured” while serving in boarding school that “basically felt like I was in the military” and getting five, FIVE, deferrments from Vietman because of a bone spur (while playing varsity tennis). It’s ok, he’s a moron, and it’s ok if you voted for him. He doesn’t love the military, he uses them, and he will send your children to die so his stocks nudge up, or so he panders to his base.
So talk, folks. Stop towing the line and formulate your own opinions, hopefully considering opinions that are not your own. I never grew up in a black neighborhood. I never had to worry about a meal. Sure, I was bullied, like most kids, but I never worried about anyone pulling a gun on me in middle school. Have you? Maybe reach across that aisle.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
– Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee