Please Stand for Our National Anthem, or don't. #TakeAKnee, it's totally up to you. And honestly, isn't that grand? No one forces anything on us. Be as Patriotic as you like. When the National Anthem is played in your living room, stand with your hand over your heart. You have the right to do that. In my living room, I can get on a knee when the anthem is played. I have that right. Or I can do what most of us do, and stay seated on the couch with my drink closeby. I think it's the most awesome thing--to have those rights.
When I started this blog, I told you it might wander a bit from pain, to politics, to whatever. Today, it's about politics. Because I am really happy that because of the actions of people who have the right to express dissent, a healthcare bill was killed that would've taken healthcare away from many Americans. I am happy that I had the right to call, visit, march, and express dissent to my Members of Congress. You have the right to do the same.
I had a conversation with my Dad yesterday about what is happening in the NFL right now, and how they are coming together in solidarity because the NFL itself has been attacked by our President, and because the #TakeAKnee thing started because the flag doesn't represent the same thing to ALL of us, as it should. My dad, being the soft-hearted, America loving guy that he is, got almost tearful when he said he wished this controversy didn't involve the flag, because of what this country and the flag means to HIM. Being the ever rambunctious daughter and devil's advocate that I am, I explained that the flag doesn't mean the same thing to a black man or woman who is being systematically oppressed, sometimes even killed in the streets, and that THAT is what the protest is about, it really doesn't have much to do with the piece of fabric that has been sewn into our flag at all. I also shocked him when I told him that I had just found out that the guy who may be my husband's best friend, and who is a big, happy black guy that my parent's love, was harrassed by a cop, I assume a cop from my town, who better hope I never find out who he is, when this happy black guy was coming to my house to help us move.
Yes, this cop pulled the guy over, driving a nice car, legally, and used his gun to tap on the friend's car window. I call that harassment and WAY OVER THE LINE! This is systemic. It affects all areas of life and all classes of people. This happy black guy has two precious kids that he has to explain to about why people are mean to each other, why cops shoot some people and not others, why it's OK for our President to use language they get in trouble for, etc. It breaks my soul to think of those two kids, whom I love, growing up not knowing whether they can trust the police or not, and knowing that they don't get to be regular kids in a large sense, because of the color of their skin. They have to be above reproach, not wear hoodies, not get into the regular trouble a white kid could get into, because they don't know if the cop who deals with them, or teacher, or superintendent, will be racist. And make no mistake about it, RACISM is what this is.
So, whether you want to boycott the NFL or #TakeAKnee, it's up to you. But if you want to take away someone else's rights because the color of their skin, or some other reason that you deem them to be an "other", that's not OK. I hope you will stand with me and say not just NO, but HELL NO, to racism in any form. I don't care if it comes from family or loved ones. You can say, "That talk is not allowed in my house or around me." Period. You have the ability and the right, and I would say the obligation to say that. I will be saying that from now on. I am compelled to say it. I am compelled to love all people, for I was taught we were all created in the image of God. That's an image that is worth protecting, loving, preserving, and giving every right that I, as a white person in this country, have.
I have to find a way to respect my Dad's experiences that bring him almost to tears because he loves this country and the flag that represents it, and also respect my dear friends of colors experiences that tell them that they are not yet equal. That's what #TakeAKnee is. It's a peaceful, non-disruptive form of protest. Yes, it IS protest and protest by it's nature is designed to make people uncomfortable. It's designed to wake us up from our protective shells, the environments we build for ourselves and make us recognize that we don't all have the same experiences in this country. But we can. We can work together, to respect each other's experiences regardless of skin color, class, zip code, country of origin, etc. We can respect each other as humans, as God's creations. Will we disagree from time to time? Absolutely. Thank heavens under our Constitution we are allowed to disagree and express our disagreement, not only with each other but with our government. We can strive to make this a more perfect nation by dissenting when needed. By an obligation to love all God's creation, if not because they are God's creation then do it because we share this planet, and common goals, to see our children raised safely, to be respected, to feel love, etc. with them.
Stand for the National Anthem if you choose. #TakeAKnee if you choose. But either way, know that racism is a problem in this country, rights aren't handed out the same for all colors right now, and we are not a perfect nation. Perfection may not be attained on this earth. But we still can strive for it. We still can make each other uncomfortable at times because in that uncomfortable-ness we grow. We can strive to see each other's points-of-view. WE CAN STAMP OUT RACISM IN OUR HEART'S, and we can let others know we won't tolerate racist views. WE CAN DO THIS. I know we can. Will you? Will you join me?