Whenever I see characters on TV or in movies submerged under water, I instinctively hold my breath for the majority of the scene (which may explain why i blacked out when trying to watch SpongeBob). I won’t realize I’m doing it until i get light headed – that’s how natural it is for my body to fight to live.
Life matters. If you are in a burning building, how quickly do you exit? During severe weather, are you walking the dog or seeking shelter? If a car skids off the road in front of you, do you stop to help or at least mumble ‘I hope they’re ok?’
Our initial instinct is to preserve and defend life – our own and of others. It can show in parents staring at the baby monitor even though everything is fine, the fact that life preservers dot the sides of boats and pools, and our own fight or flight response.
Check it – sports do not matter. They don’t. We call them ‘games’ and the verb associated with them is ‘play.’ Sports are an escape – a valuable one, a place where we can learn about and express ourselves through our own competition or being a fan.
Sports bring together a nation – the biggest churches on Sundays are NFL stadiums, where gladiators and the shield are worshiped (or booed). But the games themselves do not matter at all not one bit. Everyone goes home once the clock hits zero.
Life is what matters.
A symbol is meaningless if it cannot be understood (I mean, that’s why it’s important to be able to read, ya know?) or if it does not represent the audience.
The greatness of this nation, in principle, is that it is built upon the constitution. This document is why we are, in theory, a free people, why speech and religion and the press are protected for all citizens.
So we can say and show what we think, feel, and believe.
I’m beyond tired of waking up to the news of another unarmed or unaggressive black man being shot by officers sworn to protect and serve. And I’m damn sure a lot of other people are, too.
There is no ‘but’ or ‘yeah, ok, but what about ______’ in this place.
Life matters, period. The life of people and of person. Colin Kaepernick kneels because he believes life matters and believes, urgently, an earnest and paradigm altering conversation must take place.
Considering I’m a middle class white dude, and *I* get nervous imagining myself kneeling during the anthem at an NC State game and the repercussions I might bring upon myself, I see Kaepernick as one of the bravest living men in our nation.
He threatened his job security (he’s a backup and NFL contracts are not guaranteed – he could have been immediately cut and blackballed, for all he knew), his safety (he is receiving death threats) and drawing the ire of police sworn to protect (who have threatened not to provide off duty officers to provide security at games until he stands for the anthem).
Love is love and love is courageous when love corrects instead of standing idly by. A family that has an intervention for an alcoholic does not hate that person – there is so much love that there is willingness to sacrifice comfort now for a greater
wait for it
in the future.
Kaepernick is a patriot because he stands for life for his people and does not cower. Kinda sounds like the dudes who threw all that tea into Boston harbor because they weren’t represented.
I, too, will kneel, and no, that act unto itself will change nothing, but it will also open up conversations and, honestly, it will just help me sleep a little better to have expressed what I believe as opposed to what others think I should believe and do.