Monday, August 29, 2016

Colin Kaepernik and the National Anthem

Considering what I've seen people doing during the playing of the National Anthem, I can't get that geeked up about what Colin Kaepernick did, or didn't do. It's his right to not stand. No one's going to put him in jail for it. It's also the right of us to dog him and get our panties in a wad over it.

Personally, I think this country has a helluva lot more important things to worry about than who does what during the playing of the National Anthem. Have you seen who's running for President? A egomaniacal con artist and a jaded cynical grandmother nobody trusts.  And don't give me the 'He's disrespecting the flag and the troops and the veterans,' etc. Been There, Done That, 6 years Navy, 25 year active blue cap member of the American Legion. And I have the DD214 to prove it.

You really want to show respect to the flag, the troops and veterans?  Stop getting bent out of shape about rinky-dink stuff like not standing for the Anthem, and over the top patriotic theater that happens at sporting events and advocate for fixing the VA. Or not going over and sticking our noses in every other country's business. Or listening to our generals and admirals and not spending billions of dollars on equipment they say they don't need, just because some politician has to suck up to a defense contractor back home.

I don't know whether Kaepernick is actually making a stand, or whether it's a play to get out of San Francisco. Only he knows the reasons for not standing.

But if he's acting on true, well thought out, convictions, then I respect that. That is something he will have to deal with. I don't have to agree with it.  But my position was stated three paragraphs up.

It's strange, the dichotomy that prominent athletes find themselves in. On the one hand, athletes, especially black athletes, are called upon to use their platform to address the ills of this country, especially as they pertain to black folk or people of color. But when they do so, they are derided and told to stick to their sport.  It takes courage to use that platform to speak out, especially in a world of tweets, retweets, likes, and the immediacy that a misplaced word or an ill-conceived tweet can circle the globe and flame emotions.

But I think it is important for athletes and prominent people to use their elevated platform to say what they feel about what's going on in the world. People are more likely to listen to what their favorite athlete or celebrity has to say than some windbag politician.  Except for the Kardashians. No one should listen to what the Kardashians have to say.

But it's also important that that athlete is saying what he/she is saying in order to effect change, not to just burnish their brand. And not just talk. How's the saying go? 'Money talks, Bulls**t walks.'
If an athlete or celebrity is truly desirous of using their popularity to change the world, they must make sure that actions follow words.

And not just throw the money around in front of the cameras. If Colin Kaepernick truly wants to make his actions stand (see what I did there), then he has to follow through more than just not standing up for the National Anthem. He has a bunch of money and can form a foundation or an organization that can help in his own small way change his corner of the country. If he's already doing it, than I stand corrected.

And don't get me started about my feelings about the Star-Spangled Banner as our National Anthem. Frankly, I think it sucks. Give me America, The Beautiful any day.

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