Tag Archives: Social protest

More Fighter Jets?

Donald Trump in canceling his Ill advised military parade tweeted the following

The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!

Really?
More fighter jets???
What a child he is!!

How about funding the homeless vet population. Which went up for the first time in 7 years.

Whose responsibility is that Donald?

NFL players take a knee to protest social injustice and Trump call it unpatriotic and disrespectful to the country’s vets.  He does this for political reasons ignoring or not really caring about the real reason for the protest while at the same time pretending to actually care about our country’s veterans.  But you can’t hide your true feelings as your actions betray you. We’ve all seen the horrible statements he has made regarding John McCain’s POW stint and his disrespect to Gold Star families.

Veterans are living on the streets and he wants more fighter jets. Not really for matters of national security mind you but more so to feed his oversized ego.   Who’s really the unpatriotic one? Who’s truly disrespectful to veterans.

DISGRACEFUL!

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The NFL’s Anthem problem. Whose Wrong or is Everyone Right.

This week the Miami Dolphins made public that any player who participate in a protest during the national anthem would be subject to a four game suspension, although they also said they don’t plan on enforcing it. As an African American I have conflicted emotions regarding this subject. No one can deny that racial injustice and social inequity is a very real thing. Colin Kapernick began this protest movement to bring light to these issues through his celebrity and it cost him his career.  As other joined in the protest President Trump saw that this was the perfect opportunity to appeal to his base by hijacking the issue and essentially changing the narrative to one of a protest against the national anthem and called those who protest unpatriotic. Owners worried that fans would turn away from their game thus hurting their bottom line, and in the NFL nothing is more important than the bottom line, felt the need to draw a line in the sand.  Through it all the original intent of Kapernick message started to get lost. It began to seem as players were protesting simply because they were told they couldn’t and fans had brought into the President narrative that the protest were unpatriotic. After much thought I have concluded that since the NFL is a business and the players are in essence employees of that business, highly paid and famous employees but employees nevertheless less, they should play by the same rules as everyone else. To that end when most of us in society are told we are prohibited from doing or saying something while on duty that the company feels would hurt their bottom line or be perceived as a negative, whether in reality it is or isn’t, we do it.  Failure to follow the rules often leads to termination of one’s employment. As NFL players are “on duty” representing their teams during the national anthem it is not outrageous to say they have an obligation to follow the rules set by the team’s owners.

This however does not mute the player’s voices, they need look no further than their NBA brothers as an example. In a league overwhelmingly African American NBA players stand as required for the national anthem. Are we to believe NBA players are oblivious to the injustices of society around them or that they simply don’t care about issues such as social inequality because they stand instead of protesting. The answer is of course no. But NBA players use their celebrity during their “own” time to draw attention to these issues. Who can forget when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade teamed up to deliver a powerful speech during the 2016 ESPY  in which they called for fellow athletes to use their fame to heal a country divided by racism, injustice and gun violence.  They referenced fatal police shooting of African American young men they called on fellow athletes call to educate themselves and to speak up and use their influence.  They urged fellow athletes to go back to their communities, invest their time, their resources to help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. Their message could not be hijack the narrative not changed. No one could question if they were giving the speech because they were told not to and most importantly they showed the power of their voices away from their jobs on the hardwood.

NFL players can follow suit. Hold workshops in the community mentoring young people of color while at the same time calling attention to the injustices those same young people face on a daily basis. Work as a group with local police to meet with and come to a better understanding of the community they are policing. Use public events such as the ESPY awards to speak out and condemn the issues that the protest during the national anthem were intended to bring light to.

This issue is bigger than if players do or don’t have the right to protest during the national anthem. It is bigger than NFL players versus NFL owners and the President. Rather than get bogged down in that fight, rather than provide even the smallest of opportunity for others to change the narrative NFL players should use the multiple avenues available to them on their “own” time to help build and strengthen their communities and to call attention to the issues of social injustice and racial inequality.

False patriots are in abundance these days

Today GQ magazine named Colin Kaepernick their citizen of the year and as expected conservatives were up in arms. FOX news contributor Todd Starnes wrote an article calling Kaepernick and those that have followed his lead cowards. Of course one could surmise that neither Starnes or any of his families or friends have been subject to the social injustice that Is the real reason for the protest. I doubt Starnes or any of his families or friends have had to worry when pulled over for a routine traffic stop. His article today showed a complete lack of understanding of what it really means to be a citizen or the very real problems that people of color in this country have to face everyday. His article is an example of what too many Americans would rather do, especially when it comes to race, which is to turn a blind eye to the real problems and instead focus on the false narrative pushed by the President and thus have a reason to hate those who would dare take a stance against social injustice. As Thomas Jefferson said:

It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among our opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political & social opposition, who transferred at once to the person the hatred they bore to his political opinions.

Let’s dissect a few statements from Mr. Starnes article today.

Todd Starnes states – Mr. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, was responsible for starting a national movement to protest the Star Spangled Banner by taking a knee along the sideline.

Wrong – Kaepernick was never protesting the Star Spangled Banner he was protesting police brutality. His exact words “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Todd Starnes states – They said they were protesting alleged racial inequality and police brutality, but it’s pretty clear to most of the country that Mr. Kaepernick and his minions were dishonoring the flag, the anthem and the military.

Wrong – It’s only clear to those who never have to worry about being victimized by social injustices, including veterans of colors who deal with the same issues as any other person of color despite their military service. It’s only clear to people who fallen for the false narrative being pushed by the President. For everyone else it clear that there is still a problem with race and a few members, not the many but the few, of law enforcement who abuse their power. Abuse that has led to the deaths of people of color. Until those few are dealt with they will continue to be a stain on the many good men and women in law enforcement and remain an imminent danger to all people of color.

Todd Starnes states – Apparently, GQ seems to think that disrespecting our military and spitting on our flag is a symbol of heroism and manliness. That’s not citizenship – that’s cowardice.

Wrong – I’ve already disputed the false narrative that the protests have anything to do with disrespecting our military and spitting on the flag. As for speaking out against social injustice at the risk of your own livelihood as Kaepernick has done is far from an act of cowardice. It is in fact the very essence of what a citizen is. As Thomas Jefferson wrote “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,”

Sadly Todd Starnes appears to another of the many false patriots poisoning our country today. Contend to chant USA and wrap themselves up in the flag while turning a blind eye to the very values of America.

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Who’s the patriot

Listening to sports talk radio I heard it over and over again from callers. This anthem thing is disrespectful and I’m done with the NFL I haven’t watched a game all season.

I get it you’re offended by players kneeling you’re all about the veterans and this is spitting in their face – it’s not by the way – even though you probably wouldn’t give up a day off to volunteer at the VA and you wouldn’t sign off on a homeless shelter for veterans going up in your neighborhood.

I get it you’re all about the flag and this is disrespecting America – it’s not by the way – even though you don’t really care about what the flag is suppose to represent embedded right there in our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I get it you’re all about the anthem we should all just stand and be proud of it no matter what type of social and racial injustice may exist in today’s world – by the way we shouldn’t – even though your probably more apt to make that beer run during the national anthem than during kickoff

Protest are suppose to make you feel uncomfortable. Name a time when an oppressed group asked for something and just got it. Those in power will always feel like equality takes away from them. They won’t willingly tune into something that reminds them of their privilege. This country was born out of dissent. As Hubert Humphrey once said “Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.” Let’s be honest with each other the vast majority of those who oppose the protests are people whose family and friends will never be impacted by the social and racial injustices that the anthem protest were meant to shine a light on. For many the players are only important to them as long as they are running or catching the ball for their entertainment otherwise they should just shut up and be thankful for the paycheck bestowed upon them. As if being paid, and in the process making billions of dollars for those that employ them, should mandate their silence. It shouldn’t, in fact risking millions of dollars to bring light to injustice is heroic. Ask yourself honestly how many of those who are angry at the anthem protest would risk their livelihood to right injustice? I would venture to guess not many. Again one of our founding fathers understood this concept as Samuel Adams said “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace.”

The bottom line is that NFL players have a unique platform to bring attention to the inequalities that still exist in this country and nothing is more patriotic than asking that this country live up to the principles on which it was founded. If you can’t get behind that maybe you should question exactly what type of patriot you are.

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Are we afraid or are we fearless

Are we afraid or are we fearless

Are we afraid to admit that we’re Americans and with that comes not only all the good this country brings but the sins of our past, the blood of a uncounted indigenous people, the subjugation of the African American, the continued social injustice faced by people of color to this day.

Are we afraid to confront those sins so we can begin a dialogue in which different cultures, religions and races listen to and work together to make things better tomorrow then they are today.

Are we afraid to make our voices heard through non violent resistance/protest because it would make people who have a differing belief uncomfortable and lash out with at us moral outrage when their value is transgressed even slightly.

Or are we fearless enough to say enough. Fearless enough to say today we confront our past sins. Today we accept that yes there are social injustices in society. Today we reject those who even tough it’s blatantly obvious that if it is wrong would have us accept the status quo. Today we begin to respect each other regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation or other differences. Today we begin the process of working to make our country live up to its unlimited promise. Today we begin to heal.

I choose to be fearless what about you

 

 

Changing the narrative yet again

The narrative has been lost. It was never about the flag or patriotism it was about social injustice and police brutality. But the fact is that topic makes people uncomfortable and no one likes to be uncomfortable, they rather close their eyes or change the narrative then confront the ugly truth and look for ways to improve it. But since our current President has decided to change the narrative, because social injustice is an issue he appears to be squarely on the wrong side of the debate on, and make this about patriotism I thought I remind him of the words of James Baldwin. If he can somehow grasp the meaning of Baldwin’s words then maybe he will understand what it really means to be a patriot.

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You do not get to

Its clear you live in a bubble when you look at an athlete especially one of color kneeling for the national anthem and you see a protest against the flag. Because it’s obvious to anyone who has a sense of history that it’s not a protest against the flag it’s a protest against the way the country the flag represents treats people of color and if you believe that people of color are treated with the same set of rules as white people you simply refuse to acknowledge the reality of this country’s history.

You do not get to invoke the bravery of the service people of this country when you found away to avoid service when you were called to “represent the flag”.

You do not get to invoke respect for our service people when you decide that service people willing to serve this country who are transgender are not worthy of wearing the uniform simply because they are transgender.

You do not get to forget the service people of this country who fought for freedom under this flag in a world war who upon their return home were told to get to the back of the train so white German POW could ride in the front. I’m sure those heroic service people of color still respected the flag they fought for but questioned the motives of the country that flag represented.

You do not get to call out anyone, regardless of their current income, who are willing to stand up against abuse they, people of their family or people of their community have been subject to when you can not truly understand their feelings on the subject because you nor anyone in your family have ever been or never will be subject to the same type of treatment.

You do not get to hide behind your twitter denials, your claims that fake news is looking to destroy you when It has become apparent who you are and who you are speaking to when you speak with such passion about this topic especially when looked at in contrast to your muted tone when talking about white supremacist who marched through Charlottesville chanting racist slogans and carrying tiki torches in an attempt to mimic iconic images of fear from years past. It is clear you are not speaking of just athletes but rather you saying to your base look at these uppity niggers how dare they.  You are with me right. Remember when we used to just put them in their place and not have to deal with this? I do and yes like you I long for those days. Days when America was great.

Fortunately you do not get to stain our country forever. You have faked your way to the top. You have awaken the dwindling number of Americans who still think as you do. But you also continue to unite the majority of us who reject the pass sins of this country. You continue to show the world that despite America’s temporary lapse in judgement which gave you your platform you currently have the majority of us reject your beliefs. Your time is short, you are not a king, you are not a dictator, you will soon be a footnote in our history a cautionary tale for our future.

We shall overcome