Standing in a line with my teammates, everyone falls silent, the music begins….
I used to get chills every time the national anthem was played. I stood quiet, still, and at attention. I do not remember placing my hand over my heart, but my heart was in it.
The respect that I showed was not for the flag or for the anthem. It was for everything that this country was and was striving to become.
Protesting is part of the foundation of this great country. It was protesting that created it. It is protesting injustices within and outside its borders that earns it respect. Allowing peaceful protests of a minority shows this country’s strength. When protests bring injustices to light, this country has shown the capacity to recognize the injustice and to work to correct the situation. Protests do not always bring the change that is sought. Sometimes the change happens but it is decades later, after the seed has had time to grow.
The story this weekend seems to be centered around respecting the flag and the right to protest.
First: As I may face a cross to pray, be very clear on this, I pray to God not a cross. As I stand and face the flag, I pledge allegiance to what the flag stands for, not to a piece of cloth. I do respect these symbols but it is what they stand for that is worth a fight. If someone wants to kneel quietly during the pledge or the anthem in order to bring attention to an injustice, then good on them for being brave enough to take a public stance for something they are passionate about.
Second: I dearly hope that amid all of this talk about what POTUS tweets/says and what various NFL players/owners are doing, that the actual issue that is being raised gets some real discussion. Some action points on how to address inequalities extending from streets to jails would be nice.
With this one very large issue to solve, please do not lose site of health care, Russia invading our elections and hacking our infrastructure, hurricane and fire victims, Flint, tragedies and travesties around the world, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Ukraine, veteran suicide rates and health care, physician burnout and suicide rates, and list goes on. Overwhelmed? Ya, me too. Maybe start with loving your neighbor and get a good night’s sleep.
Be the change you wish to see.