Monday, August 29, 2016

In Re Colin Kaepernick's Protest, and True Patriotism

Boo, Free Speech Sucks
There's a very simple point about this that I'm going to make, and then a lot of lesser ones. First things first...

> The more this bothers you, and the more you want to talk about it... well, that says a lot more about you than it does Kaepernick. First, that you can be effectively trolled by a guy who barely seems to be trying. Second, that you seem to think that the state of the nation is actually imperiled by the actions of a barely QB2 of a barely NFL franchise. And finally, that if he was still a good player for still a good team, you probably wouldn't care about any part of this.

Now, the smaller points.

> If this is actually Kaepernick's stance, why did it take someone noticing it on social media to make it, well, public?

> Does Kaepernick really think anyone is going to be swayed by this to lobby for better treatment of minorities by police?

> If you believe that Kaepernick should be released over this, rather than for his actual football skills or utility to the team, why do you hate America, or at the very least, the part of it that's involved with free speech?

> Does anyone actually think that 100% of the NFL is totally OK with standing for the Anthem, rather than just going along with it because that's what is expected of them?

> Why, beyond it being what we always do, is it so important to play the Anthem before a sports event, anyway?

Honestly, I get patriotism. I feel that I am, well, pretty damned patriotic. But not in a stars and stripes and show you my flag kind of way. To me, patriotism means something different than standing up for a song, or putting your hand in the magic place during said song. To me, patriotism is more about the following.

1) Employing Americans whenever you get a chance to, rather than sending the work out of the country.

2) Making your community better, through service, good citizenship, being kind when there's nothing in it for you.

3) Honoring our veterans of foreign wars, preferably by ensuring that we have as few of those as possible, and by never advocating the use of US "hard power" as a "cheap" way to gain what we can't otherwise negotiate or purchase.

4) Not tolerating the use of the flag in ways that excludes, well, anyone. It's the flag for everyone who lives here; there is no "real" America. If you pay taxes, it's your country. Don't let anyone make you feel otherwise.

5) Voting. And not just when it's obvious. There's always a better choice, and being an adult involves, well, realizing that. Especially locally.

6) Serving on juries. Without undue complaint or trying to shirk your responsibilities, because it's part of, well, being a citizen.

7) Paying your taxes. Because if you cheat on them, you're cheating on everyone else who, well, is paying their fair share for the right to live in a country with laws, and standards, and safety nets, rather than freaking Somalia.

8) Standing up for free speech. Especially when it makes people uncomfortable. That's kind of the deal with free speech. You can't just like it when you agree with it.

9) Considering the other side of arguments, because knee-jerk reactions demean adult conversations. And we're supposed to be adults, goddammit.

10)  Refusing to get caught up in tempest in teapot controversies like, well, what happens before a freaking preseason game because some guy that no one is even drafting in their fantasy league won't stand up. For a song.

In short... can't we please find something, anything, really, better to care about?

Like, maybe, having everyone be subject to the same laws, regardless of their uniform or tax bracket?

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