Saturday, October 14, 2017

To Stand, Kneel, or Sit

Not many people know the hatred I held in my heart for this country after 9/11. The evening of 9/11, I heard my friend's words, "We wanted to go in, and stop them, Beth - but President Clinton held us back. Beth, I can't tell you how many times we were ready to go to war."

I never even knew who al Quaida was before 9/11, but my friend Jimmy, a former Marine, who served eight years - he knew, and after he told me that our President knew who al Quaida was, but never protected Americans from them, well, I took my anger out on the country.

Every time I heard the National Anthem, I wanted to stay seated. I don't know why I didn't. Maybe I didn't want to influence my children in a real negative way - or confuse them anymore than they were after having their Daddy murdered with detailed recount played over and over again on National TV.

I do remember a time when my four year old son asked me why I didn't put my hand over my heart anymore when our National Anthem was played. And I remember telling him that I needed time to make peace with what I felt when the song was played.

So, wether I agree with the NFL Players or not, wether they are kneeling like a bunch of spoiled overpaid athlete's, or wether they actually go back to the communities they say that they are representing and do good for the people in those communities - I actually get it!

Let's face it, most of the athlete's taking a knee are young - they have seen life pre-football, and now they see life with football. Most can say that their life experiences are divided into not having, and now having. Maybe they feel torn, confused, and angry. I say, let them kneel - they're pissed, they're mad - it is their right.

Because the NFL is forcing them to stand - they will never go through the beautiful metamorphosis that I went through. After awhile, I realized that I wasn't mad at this country - I was mad at our leaders, I was shocked at how other people from other countries viewed Americans - I am not full of hate, I am not war mongering - shit I say that I'm Running for Peace! 

Even so I had to be in my own head, and make my own peace to be able to once again stand for the anthem, and put my hand over my heart - and believe that this Country truly does try to represent freedom - we may not get it right all the time - but you tell me when you're walking down the street in Manhattan and you pass people who speak Hindu, Italian, French, Creole, Farsi, German, Spanish - that you don't get chills. I ran the Boston Marathon this past year with someone who wore a hijab - that's freakin' awesome! That's what Freedom is all about! And that's why now, when our National Anthem plays, I proudly stand with my hand over my heart - quietly pray for our military, for world peace, for the youth in our country, and I pray for the 9/11 families - that they may through their stories touch people to promote world peace. If you look close enough, you will likely see tears running down my face during the playing of our National Anthem!

If they are forced to stand - where is their freedom? 
And yet at the same time, their kneeling and their being forced to stand is likely confusing the young people in the communities they represent:

  • Does my hero like being American?
  • Should I disrespect my country?
  • Will I always be a victim because of my skin color, religion, race, sex? 
  • If I have no hope based on my genetics and stance in life - why should I ever strive to change anything? 

So, maybe if they are forced to stand, they could express themselves in another way - so they could, in a positive way, bring awareness to racisms and deprivation for those they represent.
How about a helmet sticker - they're doing this for the Las Vegas victims? 
Or maybe they can wear a certain color Nike Sneaker - 
like they do with Breast Cancer Awareness.

Let's have these efforts tied back to how these athletes give back to the communities they are representing - working on providing better laws, better education, safer streets, stronger families, access to healthier food - things that promote individual freedom, strength in a community, and respect for our country. Maybe during commercial breaks these positive actions and the players who perform them could be highlighted.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Run To Inspire!
Run for Peace!