Thursday, September 28, 2017

Having the Conversation

Rain brought up facts and figures in her comment yesterday.  She's less than enthralled with rich entertainers disrespecting the flag, and I understand her, completely.  We've been connected through blogging (hers at Rainy Day Thoughts) ever since I started in 2009; she's never been anything but thoughtful and polite. 

I often wonder how she has time to craft elegant comments across the interwebs while writing romance novels, keeping up two blogs, and running a working ranch with her husband.  I thank the internet for her whenever our pixilated paths cross.  Her opinions are well-researched; she lives a life much different from mine and I appreciate the window into her world. 

But I'm disagreeing with the basic premise of her argument, the fact that the athletes were disrespecting the flag.  Waving a giant flag horizontally violates the Flag Code, if we are going to be picky about it, but I'm going for a broader perspective.  There were many reasons given over the weekend by many different athletes, but none of them involved the flag or the anthem. 

Racism, targeted policing, civil disrespect, calling out their mothers, Charlottesville, DJT in general (see LeBron), the rot crawling out from the rocks this administration has turned over..... the young men I heard were using their platform to make a statement.  Whether you approve of the politicization of America's blood sport or not, you cannot deny that their statements were heard.

Suddenly, the hair salon is a hub of what do you think about it discussions.  The teacher's lounge and the gym and the French bistro were scenes of the conversation I overheard, conversations on all sides of the issue. And I think that's a good thing. 

I have no problem separating love of country from disappointment with my country.  Sometimes she is wrong.  Sometimes her representatives need a kick in the pants.  Sometimes, things need to be shaken up.  I do think this is one of those times.  Whether you think they are right or wrong, those on the other side are certainly upset.  It behooves us to listen and figure out the whys.

No one side owns the flag; Nixon tried to take it from me during the Viet Nam War, conflating flying the flag with admiration for his war.  It pissed me off then and it pisses me off now.  The best explanation for this came from a source I can no longer find on Facebook.  A parent asked her daughter what it meant to take a knee, and what she thought about the protests.  Her answer went roughly like this:
You take a knee when a player on your team or the other team is hurt.  You are showing that you care and that you hope it's not too bad and that it gets better soon. So, kneeling near the flag means our country is hurting, and we want to help it get better, soon.
Out of the mouths of babes.


  1. I agree that thoughtful discussion, agree or disagree, is healthy. So many people live in a bubble, where they only hear one opinion and think that's more widespread than it is. I have no idea what the young players think, who are kneeling as mostly their comments seem to be all over the place.

    But what began it was Kaepernick, who said things like "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." He was likely much influenced by what he read and there is a lot out there if you go looking-- on both sides of this. As part of his protest, he wore socks in a game with police depicted as pigs. That’s what those say who encourage the killing of the police. It's not surprising that teams have been reluctant to hire him. Then, I read (don't know if it's true) that his girlfriend said the team owners were slave masters, which sealed the deal with the Ravens. I think a lot of these kids read stuff and take it to heart when it's rhetoric. When you bet paid multi-millions, you are not being treated like a slave but rather a highly paid employee. Corporations have standards for what employees can or cannot do-- like posting on FB the ‘wrong’ thing can get you fired. The NFL now is taking the side of the players but time will tell how long that lasts if advertisers pull out and people stop buying tickets to the games.

    The military families I know of, who are feeling bad are reacting to the fear that what happened with Vietnam will happen again. And that wasn't about protesting the war but spitting on the soldiers when they came home and calling them horrible names. Some of my friends who were vets experienced that. Then we have a recent suggestion that vets should not be admitted to 4 year universities, because they are brainwashed, I guess. Anyway, it has hurt military families to believe the unwillingness to stand for the flag or anthem is about them also since they fight for it as they see it.

    Kaepernick said it wasn't about that for him. But what he said went well with the ones who are claiming our police are filled with Nazis. Heck, it's not even neo-nazis today but Nazis and a complete ignoring of the history of Germany and that time period.

    I do not think Trump handled it well but he likes to stir things up, one of his emotional weaknesses or maybe sicknesses. He feels empowered by riling people. That's bully mentality. In this case, it hit on something that was already upsetting a lot of the folks. I am sure some of those kneeling did it as a protest against him.

    The NFL has played the patriotism card again and again. I read that they were paid money to do things that would increase military signups. When you live by the sword, you can die by it is an old saying.

    And I do stay informed on both sides of issues, keep sources to read who hate Trump and those who approve of him. I do not though do much about the cattle and sheep these days-- body too old. We are cutting back on the numbers because it's getting harder for Paul also at 74. He is helping me a lot with doing the techie stuff on the books, which is great as I am totally a non-techie. I do a lot of reading as part of writing and it gives me a perspective on history that is probably not as widespread by others with less reason to do it. What we are experiencing is not new—just new to us and very unwelcome, where so few can disagree without becoming filled with fear, rage and hate. The media plays a big part in that, which is why I avoid getting my news that way and try to get it mostly from reading. Watching the news has me mad also.

    1. And I guess we'll never know what each individual thought.
      I'm sure some were pressured, some hate America, some were making a statement.
      That there were consequences is understandable, unfortunate if those who served felt dissed. I hadn't thought about a reprise of the treatment of soldiers coming home from Vietnam Nam, and I dearly hope that we learned from that time. Tucson's a military town, and uniformed soldiers are all over the place. I've never seen anything but smiles and Thank you for your service. I wonder if that will change.

      Just heard that the players knelt in London...... now THAT I have to think about.

      I do think it was more a reaction to DJT's SOBs remark more than anything else. Otherwise, why the time lag between Kaernick 's initial action and all this solidarity?

      It's an ongoing conversation, one I'm happy to have.

  2. Some have been very concerned that Kaepernick didn't get a contract. I think it's been blistering with the public and Trump just hit on it-- as he's good at doing. The irony in London is the knelt for our anthem and stood for God Save the Queen. lol It is a time of great irony on so many levels that it's hard to believe we are where we are.

  3. Yes, I too have been saying that taking a knee on the field is what we teach kids to do when a player gets hurt. We are all hurt right now, and our nation is being split in two by a mean-spirited, divisive man who does it just so he can get cheers.
    When I read Michael Bennett's story of his take down by police in Las Vegas, when he was fleeing for safety from what was thought to be a shooting in a casino, it really hit home what it must feel like to be profiled to the point that you are smashed into the concrete and a gun held to your head and someone shouts at you not to move or he'll blow your head off. Bennett is a big, tough black man, but he was left weeping and traumatized, wondering if he would ever see his wife ans daughters again, because police though he looked scary. Bennett is a player on the Seattle Seahawks team, and he is a wonderful human and humanitarian. He sits for the anthem now. He has a reason. I support him.
    It has nothing to do with the flag and the military.

    1. Since I had not read the Michael Bennett story, I went looking for it online and found both sides-- the police's and Bennett's for what happened. Generally speaking, we believe what we most expect or want to believe. When there are two sides, we can base our decision on trusting one person more than the other.

      What got me with this one though is the police officer's camera was not turned on. I feel in such a divisive time, that should be a firing offense. There is no excuse to not have the camera on. Because it was a casino, probably the incident is recorded other places but too often the police have had their cameras off. This should not be okay as it can prove they were innocent-- if they are. Having them off, makes them seem guilty especially in a case like this one where they were engaged in a chase.

    2. Rain, it is not a question of "innocent". If you watch the video of the police in the casino, you will see many people coming out of hiding and running to the exit as the police shout "go, go go!" Why Michael Bennett was singled out is a matter of profiling. Putting a gun to his head and threatening to blow his Fucking head off is excessive force, and indicates that the officer needs training in how to de-escalate himself in the face of an adrenalin surge. People die when cops can't control themselves.


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