I posted a lovely video that shows kids on a military base stopping in the middle of their play on a playground to stand at attention as they hear 'Taps' being played in the distance. My caption - "Kids get it, the NFL? Not so much."
I got a bunch of likes from liberals and conservatives and then I got this comment -
"To be fair, adults have a mind of their own. And if it is done in protest of something like promoting awareness of the large amount of police shootings or school shootings or just the general way that the government has ruined this country; I'm all for it. This just a video of children doing as they were told. No disrespect to the troops, they are just doing what they are told."
Sigh. Here's my response, it's a bit of a smackdown so I'll spare him the embarrassment of putting it up on Facebook.
That's what makes our country so great, people certainly have the right to protest in the way that they see fit. We also have a choice in what values we impart to our children; it's no surprise that kids whose parents literally risk their lives for our freedom would stop and pay respect to that sacrifice - while other kids who have parents who live under the blanket of freedom and have no idea where it comes from, might choose to take knee and stick it to the man because they saw a story on the news or maybe even had a bad experience with a cop.
I would venture to say it's the latter group that is parroting adult behavior, while the former understands in a very real way that mommy and daddy may not come home from overseas or from their day at work if they are a first responder.
Certainly our country has problems - but if people want to actually attempt to fix them they must go beyond provoking and angering with minimal effort and do the actual work. Taking a knee during the national anthem in front of a Vet who literally has had his legs blown off defending the right to kneel in the first place is a lazy and divisive act that will do very little in the way of making things better. It certainly is an option, ironically of course thanks entirely to the very Vets and soldiers they are disrespecting, but it seems like a strange way to work towards change.
And let's not kid ourselves, those who refuse to stand are in no way shape or form revealing anything new to those who put on a uniform and serve our country. They are not drawing attention to anything except their own sheltered and privileged existence.
Those in the military and our first responders know all too well what they are fighting for, freedom - which includes the freedom to be ignorant and self-centered in the face of people who are willing to give their lives for them. Refusing to stand for the anthem is boring, uncreative and the height of laziness and privilege - a minimal effort which will end with a minimal result. Much more difficult is to pick up the mantle of change with constructive effort and an offering of respect.
It is important for us to remember, that the vast majority of Americans are not disaffected and angry - the vast majority are patriotic to a fault and in awe of our military and first responders. If the ones who are not want to make progress with those who are, they need to check themselves and come correct with measured words and a constructive plan. If they come from a place of ignorance and fear, they will achieve very little other than generating anger from most of their fellow Americans and in the end will be turned off and tuned out - like the NFL has been. Ratings are at a 20 year low and still falling.
A multi-millionaire backup quarterback, who was raised by white parents and had every opportunity in the world handed to him, has chosen to lash out like a petulant child, rather than effect real change; because effecting change is hard and requires (gasp) actual work and sacrifice.
Children on a playground who live every day with the possibility of their mother or father getting killed so that this multi-millionaire asshole can act like a little bitch on national television, get it way more than he ever will. These kids have a real chance at making the world a better place, because they understand hard work and sacrifice. Kapernick and the NFL? Not so much.