Forgive. Forgive like the murderer who has ripped apart a family with the pull of the small, but mighty, trigger in his unjust hands. Kidnapping a prize that he will never keep, and I cease to enjoy. Forgive like the way we convince ourselves that kale is like cake, when cake is not like kale. The lies we thread between our teeth to cleanse ourselves of the guilt we perceive. Forgive. Like an ex love who cannot release stress without the caress and imitated love felt by a stranger. Like a band aid that will not stick, the sorry’s and I love you’s just keep coming.
It has been three weeks since the horrible shooting in Las Vegas. At the moment of the shooting, I was at a loss for words. Waking up to such a slap in the face, I couldn’t begin to imagine what it might have been like. Later, learning I had several friends involved, my emotions began to jumble. I was angry, upset, worried, sad, and threatened. I couldn’t believe that our beautiful country was going through such an episode of terror. From hurricanes and fires to shootings and earthquakes. Back on our heels, we were unprepared and too devastated to ask ourselves why. Now that we have time to breathe and mourn for those affected, we have the opportunity to questions things a bit more.
If you are among the millions of people who watch the news, scroll facebook, and take part in the constant twitter updates, you might know a little something on what has happened this past week. In short terms, there was a comment made by our President using some inappropriate language in regards to NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem. President Trump, talking about what he would do if NFL players knelt, said, “Get that son of a bitch off the field, right now, he is fired.” This, and many other accounts, sparked a backlash from several team owners, sports icons, and dozens of athletes on Sunday’s NFL games. The most prominent backlash of them all was the multiple players, on several NFL teams, who took a knee during the singing of the National Anthem.
Before your blood starts to boil, and the wrinkles on your face start to crease, let’s talk about it for a minute. Colin Kaepernick started this trendy protest months prior to this outburst. The real question is, ‘What was he protesting’? For starters, Kaepernick saw a fault in society that the American people could hopefully fix. This fault targeted poverty, bias, corrupt law enforcement, and equal treatment among those suffering, specifically those of color. The overall message received by the public was, ‘Kaepernick was against the police and everybody is racist’. Unfortunately, there was much more to the logic of his protest. Kaepernick saw something wrong and sought out the American people to fix it. Now, how could one guy get the attention of millions, and focus it on a single issue? By using his position in society and his overall status, Kaepernick took a knee at the singing of the National Anthem. A very risky and controversial approach; but it worked. It gained the attention of millions within a week. His voice was heard. Instead of crawling into shelter and crumbling under pressure, Kaepernick took a stance and fought for it. Whether he did it the right way or not, he took his career and molded it to make a difference. Since then he has donated his time, money, and voice to bettering the faults he outlined to fix.
Now we see a group of young men who are repeating the process. As mentioned before, it is said to be sparked by a comment made from our President. This comment targeted the players in a negative fashion. By kneeling or refusing to appear for the National Anthem, they are re-recognizing the problem and so much more. It is a protest against the language and behavior displayed, especially by our nation’s leader. It is a silent and peaceful protest. This year we have witnessed a handful of nasty, ugly, and violent protests. Some of which have claimed lives. Instead, this movement, is as peaceful as it gets. If every NFL player who knelt was to be kicked out of the league, your fantasy brackets, Sunday nights, and our economy would see the wrath. Whether we like it or not, football keeps our society moving. It is a solid and fluent transfer of money. These players are stating the fact that there is an issue, and they aren’t moving until we fix it. A main reason why these protests are so highlighted in the media, is contributed to the leeward side of social norms it presses. We are not used to people making a stance during the National Anthem; it is against our norms and our total idea of the American People. When we see it, we get instantly offended. Martin Luther King Jr. lead a peaceful protest that pressed many boundaries in 1963. Rosa parks wouldn’t move for a white man on the bus in 1955; which was against every moral and value back in that time period. With that being said, who is to say, this is not a progressive time in our generation? A time for change and recognition?
I understand how this may be taken disrespectful, especially to the men and women who serve for our country. However, they have served for a free nation. A nation born to express opinions, build through criticism, and overcome all obstacles. The men and women who serve this country should be proud to see the constitutional rights being exercised. I was born an American and I am proud to be an American. When I see an issue that needs to be fixed, I will do my part in progressing this movement. Therefore, I support the #TakeTheKnee movement.