Smallhouse Log

Wednesday, fifth week after Summer Lab

So there's some controversy right now about a footballer who sat silently through the National Anthem in protest. Not protesting the Anthem, though now that I've read a bit about Francis Scott Key's Opus it's clear that we could do with a better one; rather, protesting the state of injustice our nation has tolerated and is still being tolerated today. Specifically: "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

If anyone has successfully shut themselves off completely from their news shunt and needs this explained, he's talking about extralegal killings (y'know... murders) by on-duty police officers, and the (to put it lightly) less-than-satisfactory response thereto by the police departments overseeing them. It's a problem. Right now, for a lot of people, it is the problem, because it's the one most likely to get someone they know killed. Black men need to be wary of the police, and ever since the Dallas sniper, officers just doing their duty are worried they could be killed for someone else's bad actions. Really, it's both groups that need to be worried because they could be targeted for someone else's bad actions.

Now, I can admit my understanding of things isn't perfect. I don't put my life on the line in a blue uniform so that my fellow citizens can live in safety. As a blue-eyed white male over six feet tall with great hair, I get discriminated for, not against, and learning all the legion of insidious ways such discrimination happens has been a painful and lengthy journey that I am not nearly done with. Not as painful as, you know, actually living through it on the other side of things literally from birth. But I can still resent that discrimination against my neighbors, and the harm it does both to individuals and our society. And yeah, I'm gonna protest, and yeah, if I had a platform like Kaepernick I can hope that I'd have the guts to take a stand (well, sit) and face whatever backlash came my way. As to the man himself, well, he made a lot of people angry. But he knew what he was doing, and he knew what it could mean for his career: "If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." I respect his bravery and will try to follow his example.

As to the form his protest has taken... honestly, I don't like when people sit during the Anthem. It really tears me up. I used to work in a sports bar, and every time the Anthem played I would pause somewhere out of the way and place my hand on my heart, which made me feel a little silly when I was the only one doing it. And while I've mentally castigated these unpatriotic bargoers hundreds of times, I bet they get a free pass from those criticizing Kaepernick today. Me, I'd rather have a hundred thousand athletes intentionally protesting during the Anthem because they want a more just society than see even one more "sports fan" treating it like elevator music because they can't be arsed to put down their burger and stand up for three minutes.

A lot of other, better, and certainly more concise comparisons have been made. But this is what I think, and I thought it needed to be said.

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