Monday, August 29, 2016

A man must stand up

Have you ever thought about the posture one takes during the National Anthem at public events?  A quick look at the crowds, and you will see some still wearing their hats or not placing their hand over their heart, or even sometimes not standing. Nobody usually is critical of these folks. When a celebrity or a star player doesn't stand, it's a different matter, and everybody is talking. In the past few days the talk has been about Colin Kaepernick. Folks have been critical in the past of his playing on the field and of his numerous tattoos, but this is different. Kaepernick has refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner, and yesterday said he will continue to remain seated.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," said Kaepernick. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Most of what I am hearing about his action claims he is disrespectful. Do you agree? Is there a time when you should stand up (no pun intended) for your principles? I know a politician who would not say the last line of the Pledge to the Flag, because she said there was no "liberty and justice for all." Many said she showed no respect for her country, but was that really the case? When should you risk your reputation? When should you go against what most others do, in order to bring about change for the overall better?  ALWAYS.  A person should always stand up for what is right.  A person should always try to make positive change!

In his autobiography, baseball great Jackie Robinson told of when he did the same thing Colin Kaepernick is now doing. "There I was, the black grandson of a slave, the son of a black sharecropper, part of a historic occasion, a symbolic hero to my people. The air was sparkling. The sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. The flag billowed in the wind. It should have been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words of the national anthem poured from the stands. Perhaps, it was, but then again, perhaps, the anthem could be called the theme song for a drama called The Noble Experiment. Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first world series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor. As I write this twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made."

I happen to agree that we should not be looking the other way - that we should take a stand. I agree with Jackie Robinson and with Colin Kaepernick. In fact, I think we need to do a lot more than just refusing to stand for the National Anthem, but at least that is a start!

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