Monday, August 29, 2016
JOSE, CAN YOU SEE?
When I saw the headline on ESPN reading KAEPERNICK CONTROVERSY, my assumption was that it was referring to his new head/hair look…I mean dude, really?
As it turns out, the headline refers to the quarterback’s refusal to stand for the national anthem prior to a preseason game on Friday.
As if preseason matters, right?
Kaepernick’s decision to bench himself is based on the United States oppression African Americans and other minorities.
While I am not sure I agree with his rationale-I am not sure the official position of the USA is that black lives do not matter-the fact that the media is all a buzz and a Twitter kind of amuses me.
After all, most people attack Kaepernick because his refusal to stand for the anthem is not showing his support for the troops, the “men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line for him,” as one tweet that rolled across the ESPN screen read.
First off, while there are undoubtedly exceptions (most notably Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who gave up a multi-million dollar career to join the army), most of our troops enlist because the armed forces are a better career option than they can get on the outside.
Tillman joined because he felt he needed to make a difference, but most of our troops are there to get their education paid for or to obtain a skill they can cash in on after they are discharged.
The notion that everyone in uniform is "laying it all on the line for our freedom" simply is not a true statement.
It’s a nice soundbyte, but it’s not the truth.
I do not want to make light of the risk our troops assume when in combat, and certainly intend no dishonor to those who have died in combat, but unless you're running for a public office, can we cut the propaganda from the discussion?
But you know what really makes me itch?
This whole notion that anyone in American today is “supporting the troops.”
Supporting the troops is something those of us under the age of 90 really know nothing about.
People who were of age during World War 2 know what “supporting the troops” means.
Their lives changed during the war.
They did without household items that were made with materials needed for the war effort. They saved household waste items that could be recycled for the war effort.
People volunteered to perform security functions that the National Guard (who had been deployed) would do.
The USO was formed, and many women who were homemakers volunteered.
Others took jobs in factories that directly supported the war effort.
What does our generation do?
A three dollar ribbon magnet and standing for the anthem at a ball game.
But don’t let me sell America short-we also remove our ball caps when we stand for the anthem.
We're all in with our support!
So if you want to criticize Kaepernick, find a better soap box.
Yet those “men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line for him” did to so he would have the freedom to NOT STAND for the national anthem.
So maybe Kaepernick’s gesture, in exercising the freedom our armed forces "lay it on the line" to provide, can be construed as the ULTIMATE show of support.