There's been a massive amount of words written and spoken about the past weekend when many NFL players and teams opted out of standing for the National Anthem.
Here's the deal: Men and women have fought and died for you to continue to express your views and speak your mind on most any given topic.
If you kneel during the National Anthem, you're expressing your opinion, and that's what they fought for. In a way, you are honoring their sacrifice by exercising your rights.
The rights they died to protect.
This is the United States of America. We do not force people to stand at attention and salute our leaders, our flag, or our symbols. Doing so would violate the very thing those symbols, that flag, represent. This is not North Korea, where you can be executed for not showing proper deference and respect to Dear Leader Kim.
We. Don't. Do. That.
So you go ahead and kneel. You have your concerns, you want to see change in society, you want conditions to improve for some segments of our demographics. I get that. I applaud you for wanting to improve things.
Because I want to improve things to. I want young men and women of color, minorities, children who grew up in poverty and distress, people of all walks of life to have opportunities to learn, grow, thrive, and shake off those shackles of a life of poverty and crime.
You and I want the same thing.
Got that? We want the SAME THING.
The difference, I suppose, is how we go about implementing that change. How to make it happen? What's the root cause, and how best to address that?
Me, I think maybe we promote better education in STEM fields, get better businesses started up in low-income neighborhoods, get the community more involved in policing itself and rooting out the scum. The drug dealers, the pimps, those who promote and inflict violence... call 'em out and get 'em out.
Doing that will require better police work. And make no mistake, the police need to be better at their work. There's no denying we have some police who shouldn't be in the job, and there are people wearing the badge that are good at heart, but have become jaded and soured. Others simply need better training. All of this requires money. Know any millionaires who'd be willing to help?
What I DON'T think is going to make a damn bit of difference is kneeling during the National Anthem before a sporting event. That turns people off. And no, that's not because they're racist or uncaring. It's a divisive issue, and pushes a wedge between "you" and "them", and haven't we really had enough of that?
But it's your right to do so. As it is my right to stand during the National Anthem, as I do every time I hear it -- yes, even if I'm watching a game at a local pub, I still stand and remove my cap when they play the song of our nation.
And when the game is done, and the next day dawns, I'll continue to work hard at my job, help those in need in my local community, and maybe make a difference to the kid that I mentor once or twice a week.
Go ahead and kneel. I don't mind. I respect your right to do so.
I'll stand. Because it's MY right to do so.