Some days are difficult for me…because I feel like an alien living amongst humans on earth. I have always felt this way, since I was a small child. Things around me seemed like they were for some other child, but didn’t call to me. Everyone kept giving me baby dolls, I wanted animals…so I would scribble with crayon on their legs hoping they would be transformed into something more interesting. The adults just wanted to know why I was so destructive. Actually, everything had a scribble on it, but that’s another story.
This theme of feeling on the outside of things, has resurfaced. I feel like the world and culture I was born into has changed, maybe shifted is a better word. Things that I was taught were American, freedom of speech, to believe whatever you wanted without fear, don’t exist in the same way…there seems to be a need to control with a few people in charge telling us what we should be thinking, what is right and wrong, what is moral, what is not…
A young quarterback in the NFL recently caused an uproar by sitting out the national anthem in protest of the treatment, by the US, of African Americans and minorities. Whatever you think about this is your personal feeling of what is right and wrong to you…but those who think this young man should be punished in some way have it totally wrong. I see this action as exactly what I was taught being an American was about. When we love something or someone so much, we can be naïve. In our minds, there can never be hurt or disappointment attached to this love. This player, who I see as loving this country as much as any American can, has become disillusioned. He’s disappointed in his country. He is like most young people who believe that living here makes us safe, free. If you’re older you know things are only as good as the people who run them. He is exercising his right to protest. No one should be able to hold anyone back from that basic right.
He wants everyone to see how his heart is broken. For him there are no words that could explain his pain. Actions always speak louder than words and he is so distraught he could only think of sitting out the national anthem to show how he feels. He thinks his country has let him down. This is very controversial, but it is allowed and it is what differentiates us from other countries. Like, if it involves the flag he must be being disrespectful. Really?! What do you care? Does it change the way you feel? Is it hurting anyone? Don’t look at it if you don’t like it. Instead, wonder way he did.
He’s allowed to do it, it says how he feels better than the English language could ever do. Do I agree? Does it matter? No. All these opinions flying around like he is morally challenged. How is this worse than how politicians speak about each other, how they talk about the president, how they talk about women. How they treat…fill in the blank…It is mind boggling how un-American they speak of almost anything that has to do with human rights. And then there is this young man who is saddened. And every trashy remark is thrown at him like we’re the moral high road.
I feel disappointment. I am disallusioned. I am an alien here and can’t understand this feeling many have to control. It’s easy to jump on his action as un patriotic, but it’s not easy to see what his life has been like. Big pay checks have never changed much. Like he should just settle and shut up. It isn’t American to trash each other for using the platform you have earned. It’s actually his responsibility to speak (or not stand) up for those no one hears. If that’s bad then I truly was dropped here in a spaceship.
I hope you see this rant for how it is intended. I want to point out how at every turn, people really want us to be followers and I for one, am on this quarterbacks side. Would I have done the same thing? I don’t know. But for me this is a truly American moment and I feel proud he is able to do it without repercussions.