• Don’t kneel on me: Protests and patriotism and a dose of STFU

    Posted by on September 27, 2017

    If you’re coming to a comedy blog for how we got here, you’re probably not doing as bad as some sites I guess.  A player named Colin Kaepernick sat, then knelt for the National Anthem last year to raise awareness/protest the shootings/violence by cops against the black community.  It began to spread slowly, the media got rock hard over it because they got ratings and then Trump decided to pour mouth gas on the fire and now everyone is either a secret racist or hates America.  Make sense?  Probably not.

    I’ll keep it to some bullet points (mostly) to keep this from being a seven page thesis.

    Trump can’t make the NFL players stand up.  If you think he can, you’re either a Trumpophile that thinks he can do anything or someone that hovers over leftist conspiracy blog sites.

    If you have never watched an entire NFL game, please don’t make yourself look stupid talking about how cool football is now.  Trust me, the NFL doesn’t benefit by scrapping all their blue collar die-hard lifers to get the green tea sipping hippie demographic that watched the Super Bowl once ironically.

    If you think freedom of speech applies everywhere in all situations, start screaming at your job tomorrow about abortion one way or another and see what your boss or HR thinks about your freedom of speech.  Also, read the Bill of Rights.  It’s not very long.  Oh, and be sure to consider that the NFL doesn’t allow players to wear different shoes or longer towels than the standards.  I’ve been in an NFL locker room.  They have rules and even, no kidding, pictures of what they have to wear.  Rules about how they have to act.  They prevent players from wearing non-sanctioned messages; even against domestic violence or helmet stickers after the five cops were shot last year in Dallas.

    If you think protests are dumb, don’t think your NFL boycott is going to matter.  Protest the protest!  Actually, neither is doing much right now except pissing off the other side.  At this point, they’re in too deep and this protest last week was more about Trump’s comments than police controversy.

    If you suddenly care about how to treat the flag, but support burning it, you’re an ass.  A hypocritical ass, at that.  Don’t act like you’re offended by a guy wearing a flag shirt when you like burning the actual flag.

    The Steelers staying in the locker room is probably the smartest thing they could have done – avoid pissing off patriotic fans, don’t have some standing and others kneeling…and they still got killed for it.  Also, of course Alejandro Villanueva should have stood, he’s a former Army Ranger.  He also shouldn’t have had to apologize for it.  If you support kneeling, you should support standing.  It deflated me to hear him have to backtrack after being the only one standing, no matter why he did.

    ESPN personalities can take their opinions and shove them – Jemele Hill basically calling out Dez Bryant a few weeks ago is a serious overreach for someone in her position, whatever you think about Dez or her.  It’s his choice what he wants or feels like he has to do.  (Look it up, I’m not linking to it.)

    Trump didn’t help anything.  He riled up a base…and lit this whole thing ablaze, especially after getting down in the mud on the Warriors visiting the White House.  If you think athletes should shut up about politics, you should think Trump has more important shit to worry about other than Tweeting about sports.

    Here’s one that really pissed me off.  I saw a couple pals on Facebook said when vets kneel, it will blow up the whole narrative that kneeling offends vets.  Guess what?  Some vets support the right to kneel during the anthem and others are offended.  Vets, like every other group of individuals are different.  I know a lot of vets that are offended, angry and hurt by the kneeling.  Should we tell them they are wrong?  One vet condemning the action or supporting should be weighed out, but clearly both sides in the veteran world are valid and don’t then invalidate each other.  No one person speaks for everyone period.

    The issue of police violence towards the black community is very serious.  Once again, I’m tired of all police and all black people being lumped in to one uniform group.  I also think each case has its own facts.  The Philando Castile shooting was way different than Michael Brown.  I have no idea why there wasn’t a conviction in some of the cases; in others I have no idea how there was enough to even charge, but I largely feel I can’t comment on a trial and someone’s death by reading an article here or there.  Also, I have heard a lot of people say, “There’s far more violence against black people from other black people than from cops.”  This is a fact, as it is of any group for that matter, but there is a higher standard, a sacred trust given to authority to be better, so it does matter when things happen.  Thomas Jefferson said it was better for nine guilty men to go free than one innocent man to be convicted.  Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter to the victims who are dead.  We need to have higher standards – no one supports shootings and killings from any group outside of rank psychopaths.

    I think sometimes we get caught up in how to get there.  I hear anger and frustration from all sides, but not really any solutions. Most are probably a little right and a little (or a lot) wrong and some have hidden agendas, whether racism or exploiting death for personal power or monetary gain.  I don’t have the answers, but blanket blaming an entire group isn’t solving anything, it’s making it worse.  My two year old daughter has a song she likes where the kids are walking in a jungle and they yell, STOP!  LISTEN!  Maybe we should take their advice and I think this country would be a lot farther along on this and a lot of other issues.

    I support anyone’s right to be heard, no matter how damn stupid or annoying they are.  I think there is a tremendous amount of passion on this also.  I just don’t support the manner in which it is being done.  Yes, lives are more important than a flag, but it’s not that basic and deep down I think most know that.  I went to Washington, D.C. with my parents nine years ago.  My dad said he wanted to view the Vietnam War memorial on his own.  He found the names he was looking for and I can tell you, I didn’t look long.  What I saw from him shook me to the core and it wasn’t just him and it wasn’t just at that war memorial.  You can make your snarky posts about patriotism.  You can question this war and that one, I agree most war is senseless and we have sent a lot of fine men to their graves for political causes.  This moment in our culture, the playing of National Anthem, even if it’s been pumped up by the Department of Defense as a recruiting tool, means something to a lot of people.  (You should also be riled up by the fact the NFL doesn’t actually give any money for breast cancer also – both are largely for optics.)  I have seen two family members pass away from cancer related to Agent Orange and it was devastating.  I have heard and seen the legacy of war on a man, in friends and family.  I don’t attack an athlete for the cause or the protest; I just hate the moment it’s done in.  And if you don’t see it that way, that’s your opinion, but I have one too.  I would rather see actual action over symbolism – now a congresswoman is kneeling?  Do your damn job and quit pandering.

    I have only one more thing on this and I realize some reading will disagree with me vehemently on several points, but I refuse to compromise on one.  If you choose to use this moment not to bolster the cause you strongly believe in and use it to mock our veterans and to a lesser degree the pride that some of us feel, quite frankly, you can go and fuck yourself sideways.

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