Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why Do We Do What We Do?

This is the popular meme going around Facebook and other social media, vis-a-vis Colin Kaepernick and his supposed disrespecting of our National Anthem over this past week.
The idea here is that he should be grateful for his huge salary, which has been provided on the backs of American citizens whom he is supposed to respect by standing for their anthem.
First - we can't be sure that Dr. Carson said this. There are too many brackets and parenthesis to suit me.
Second - if you took the time to read the lyrics to the anthem, you might have a different idea.
A long time ago, I stopped celebrating Christmas, because I found it to be a Pagan holiday perpetrated by modern society.  That was my choice, and not  a popular one.  If I had more friends it would have been a less popular choice.
The song (poem) is about a war we lost, and the idea that "the flag was still there" is human emotion creeping into an ideal that was all about keeping the American way of slavery and its ideals alive. Hence, the third verse...
Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse. The song (poem) literally celebrates the murder of slaves - and you’ll see why the Star Spangled Banner is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
It's all about that "land of the free, and home of the brave" crap that we've come to believe as history, when in fact, it's revisionist history - which we love more than real history. I'm not here to say that Colin Kaepernick understands all of that, or even that his protest has something to do with it.  What I am here to say is that -  you need to examine your beliefs and ask: "Why do I do what I do?"
Why do you stand for the anthem? Do you stand if it's being played while you are at home watching on your television, or only when you are in a crowd who are also standing?  Those are worthy questions, and you should be asking them of yourself instead of having me ask them of you.
We do a log of things mindlessly - because society tells us to: Christmas shopping, attending funerals and viewings, thanking people for doing things that they should be doing as a part of being in society - the list goes on.  It's only when one of us stands up and protests does it become a national outrage and force us to examine our behavior.  Such is this.
The Star Spangled Banner, Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.
However, we’d wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military. By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.
We have been conditioned that The Star Spangled Banner (which is actually the flag, and not the song) is a sacred thing, and we should pay respect to it accordingly. What it is, is a poem about a war we lost and an honorarium to an object that happened to be visible to its author at the time. The song has become an object of jingoism, and those who do not observe are outcasts.
Over the years it has become one of our customs: Remove your hats and join us in honoring America ... when in fact, it is possible that we could honor America in any number of ways without removing our hats ... or standing.

As it turns out, the NFL has no rule about players standing during the anthem, so it appears that the whole thing is a matter of peer pressure, and not society.  If Kaepernick doesn't want to stand, he doesn't have to stand. Doesn't that fly in the face of your viewpoint? Yes, it does.

By 1833 Key was a district attorney for Washington, D.C. As described in a book called "Snowstorm in August" by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, the police were notorious thieves, frequently stealing free blacks’ possessions with impunity. One night one of the constables tried to attack a woman who escaped and ran away - until she fell off a bridge across the Potomac and drowned.
“There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district,” an abolitionist paper wrote. “No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”
Key was furious, and indicted the newspaper for intending “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”
Maybe Kaepernick has a point- even though he may not know what it is.  I don't pretend to give him more credit than he deserves, but I do give him credit for at least examining our customs and asking himself why. That's an 'out of the box' idea for a lot of meathead athletes.
Perhaps we, as non meathead-athletes should be asking ourselves the same things?

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