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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thanks, Colin

I knew there was humility and sensitivity in Kaepernick's initial actions, but I couldn't remember the details. Here they are, collected by a man named Roy Welsh:

"This is from my friend Roy Welsh's page. Apparently, the #takingaknee is a sign of respect

Courtesy of Dutch Harold Coleman

If you dont know why he was kneeling then now you will and you will know its not out of disrespect of anyone. #FORTHEOPENMINDED

Do you know how Kaepernick came to the decision to #takenaknee?
Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem. No one notices.
Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a level of vitriol unseen against an athlete.
Even the future President of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail. Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military, but he felt it hard to stand for a flag that didn't treat people of color fairly.
Then on on Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times.
In it he expressed how Colin's sitting affected him.
Then a strange thing happened. Colin was able to do what most Americans to date have not...
He listened.
In his letter Mr. Boyer writes:
"I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it."
Mr. Boyer goes on to write "There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind. I look forward to the day you're inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I'll be standing right there next to you."
Empathy and understanding was shown by Mr. Boyer.........and Mr. Kaepernick reciprocated.
Colin invited Nate to San Diego where the two had a 90 minute discussion and Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit.
But why kneel? In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is smartly folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen member by a fellow service member while KNEELING.
The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his reverence for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices he saw.
Empathy, not zealotry under the guise of patriotism, is the only way meaningful discussion can be had."

Light, instead of heat. Please feel free to apologize any time.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What I'm Missing About Being Black In America

Not long ago, I was a conservative firebrand. I argued against every left-tinted idea you could think of, no matter how reasonable it might be. The introduction to Thomas Sowell's "The Vision Of The Anointed" perfectly described how I felt: progressives think they're better than anyone else, and they'll demonize anyone and anything that stands in their way. They were the Anointed, and everyone else was not. There's plenty of that still around, and it can be true of many progressives. Harmony and progress are not on the agenda.

But in these latter days, I have begun to intentionally reflect on what it must be like to be black in America even now. In the first place, to a white Republican, the legacy of slavery sounds like a guilt trip from another entitled leftist, who wants power over me, my family, and my friends. Truthfully, my friends, this is our initial thought. And to be frank with you, even in this moment, I don't have a lot of warm feelings toward Democrats and progressives. I was silenced, shamed, called names, and forcibly indoctrinated in college. Whatever romantic notions you have about the university, they need to die. It's worse than you could imagine. Not in every place, and not in every moment, but this ideological echo-chamber does exist. I would add, to make a long story short, that I grew up as an abused child in a broken family, and by 22 or so, I wasn't going to take anything from anyone. Left, right, center, didn't matter. I was spoiling for a fight, and I started plenty of them concerning politics.

You know, you might run over some people, and make some bad arguments, in a rush to be heard, in a rush to be right. Politics is pretty polarized, if you hadn't noticed. And how many African-Americans do we know, truthfully? And if we're completely honest, we got pretty sick of being lectured by people whose moral philosophy was defective. Even to hear about police brutality or systemic racism from a black perspective seems like capitulation, surrender to the forces of evil. No, progressive neighbors, it's not an exaggeration of how Republicans feel about you. And more to the point, we'd start wondering why individuals aren't responsible for their own destiny. Self-reliance. Initiative. Discipline. Overcoming obstacles. You get the idea.

We might have been sensitive to the obstacles of African-Americans when we were children, but as we saw it, we've been made to feel bad about these and other things our whole lives. The answer for us was the blackjack of Abe Lincoln, and MLK. Slavery was bad, but...

Do we know how bad? Truthfully.

Do we recall that the state of South Carolina put up the Confederate flag in 1962, right in the middle of the civil rights era? Was their message ambiguous at that time? And if I were black, just wanting a shot at a life, what message would I hear? It's perfectly commendable that the flag was removed, but 9 people were murdered in a church before it was. You might pause to consider that, before you go on about "losing our history." Maybe ours. But it may not be the history we want to keep and celebrate.

I know a man named Luke Bobo. He's a professor of religion, let's call him. I met him in seminary. A black man. From our brief interactions over the years, I know him to be warm, open, and forthright. If you were going to take a trip into some difficult things, you'd want to do it with him. And Professor Bobo pretty much says similar things to that which others might say. Others we'd be much less inclined to listen to. I'd better listen. If I can't hear it from a fellow-worker in the vineyard of Jesus Christ, maybe I'm not willing to hear the truth at all.

I read how he described voting--or really anything--as an African-American. He said he thinks about all African-Americans whenever he votes, and many other things. We don't think that way. You and I have that luxury, that privilege.

You know, I'm not going to confuse Colin Kaepernick for Rosa Parks. He and many others might actually be rich, entitled, and whatever else, to some extent. But Philando Castle wasn't. Sandra Bland wasn't. There are many more. Given everything, neighbors, you can respectfully take a knee. The virtue of patriotism will not fade out of existence. Against the backdrop of slavery, the civil war, Jim Crow, and everything else, I owe you at least respectful silence. And frankly, I don't want to affirm any message that says, "Shut up, stop whining, you're lucky to be here!" It might even be true, that these rich football players and others are fortunate. But for whom do they also speak?

My compassion and empathy speaks louder to me than my fear of "the Left." I'm sure that's a risk I take. But it's a risk I take for solidarity.