Better late than never

Well it’s certainly been a while and not for lack of trying. These past couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind if my current sleep deficit is any indication. After exiting stage left from the shitshow of my previous situation, I have since fallen into a new one. I finally got my break and it’s been an amazing week and a half. Calvin got a job fam and it’s not at Wack Arnold’s. But I want to keep harping on my strides in success to minimum for this post as I want to talk about something that’s been a point of controversy for just about every wrong reason imaginable. It involves a certain football player with a large afro taking a stance against a systemic issue that primarily plagues people that look like me and affects everyone else in varying degrees.

Kneeling. An act that can be done in solidarity, in defiance, in reverence, and for the sake of eternal love. I don’t know if I’ll ever do the last one, but I’ve got 50 plus years to find that out. Anyway, kneeling has been symbolic for a really long time and it’s interesting to me how symbols can be interpreted depending on who’s looking. I’ve no delusions about the police brutality, police misconduct, and general abuses of power by police officers. People, mainly people of color, are getting beat the fuck up, shot, and wrangled for some really petty shit. Let’s be real here. Even with hard evidence in the form of body cams, phone videos, and multiple eye-witness accounts that corroborate these articles, we have seen a minuscule amount of convictions. Tax payers have been footing the bill for a lot of this bullshit as well with every other incident involving “paid administrative leave.” Cool. This rotten cop just curb stomped this Latino guy like he was practicing his role for Americana History X. Let’s pay him for handing out an undeserved ass whooping.

In classic American fashion, the movement that Kaepernick and other athletes have made public at various football games falls victim to smear campaigns and poor deflection. I’m not completely sure where the notion of kneeling as a blatant act of disrespect to a piece of cloth or our Armed Forces came from. I’m not even sure how the mental gymnastics were performed to come to that conclusion. I get that the National Anthem is a big deal to a lot of people. I get that the flag is important a lot of people. I 100% agree that our veterans and current folks in the Armed Forces are national treasures. Kneeling during the national anthem is a protest against the incongruity of the sentiments expressed and the reality. That reality being that there’s a section of citizens in this country that are not being be afforded the same opportunities in the face of authority.

It’s not a handful of people that feel this way or have experience unjust brutality at the hands of some power-tripping, racist, egotistical, and narcissistic officers. This shit has been going on for decades I’m sure, but the advent of technology is bringing it to light. From what I remember, this is a country that was founded upon allowing differing opinions without getting crucified for it. I fail to see what’s cowardly about standing up for something in the face of those that refuse to acknowledge the bullshit. If anything, it’s even more cowardly to misconstrue and twist the true meaning of this movement. The true instances of bitch-made behavior come from those that try to reduce and demonize those taking a knee as unpatriotic, anti-veteran, and anti-American. Then taking those labels and painting this narrative that the act of kneeling is to disrespect as opposed to being a statement about the status quo.

I love this country despite the bullshit that this skin affords me on occasion. There’s literally no place I’d rather call home. Well, unless it was a new planet because being a spaceman is some baller-ass shit. Anyway, America is great in many ways and still is the best country on the planet. There’s a reason why there’s people from every corner of the globe trying to get in on the American pie. It’s fucking tasty.  Hence why I don’t understand this assumption of kneeling as anti-American. Time and again though, people who drink of privilege day-in and day-out remain willfully ignorant of the very real struggle that people of color contend with regularly. It’s ingrained in me to be aware of what I look like, how I’m perceived, and how that’s going to affect my existence. I can’t operate with disregard for how I’m viewed. I mean even with this awareness, I still see my brothers and sisters getting the shit stick if this past year has been any indication.

What’s worse to me is that this “outrage” is selective. And I believe it goes both ways and is not exclusive to any group of people, but it’s just funny. Where was this outrage when Tebow was out here kneeling? It got turned into a fun meme and movement. Nobody was boycotting the NFL then. He knelt in prayer and everybody seemed fine with it. There was no benefit to twisting that narrative; there was no drama or controversy to profit from so his intent was intact. Contrast that with players kneels in silent protest of something they believe needs to be brought to the forefront, namely injustice, and now everybody wants to lynch them. I don’t believe this has much to do with the color of the people. It’s stubbornness to think outside of oneself and then claiming that because it doesn’t happen to them personally it doesn’t warrant a conversation. Challenging the views of some who blindly believe and follow their biases without considering the other side of the situation is heresy apparently.

I’m not going to spend much time echoing what some veterans and currently active military folk have said. There’s endorsement of this type of behavior because this what they have fought for and are fighting for. The ability to challenge things is what has afforded such prosperity in this country honestly. Nobody will be bound and gagged for having a differing opinion. At least they shouldn’t be. Kneeling has nothing to do with our armed forces or the flag, it never did. But the assumption of disrespect seems to stem from the fact that this protest happens during the national anthem. Fair enough, I can see how one can extrapolate that. Although I would challenge this person to listen and look beyond what they see. Take those lyrics and paste them against the background of the current state of affairs. As things are, with legions of people getting mistreated, killed, and denied autonomy by authority, is this truly the land of the free and home of the brave for every citizen as the anthem would have it? Soccer plays halfway across the world are out here kneeling in support of raising awareness. Clearly something’s not right and trying to sabotage that mission for sake of “I don’t like it” is juvenile.

Honestly, if seeing a bunch of athletes and organizations kneeling for five minutes makes these people that uncomfortable or infuriated, that means something is truly wrong with how society is operating. If they truly believe that this whole injustice thing was bunk, they’d be more confused than repulsed.  I’d love to see a transcript of what these people did during the anthem at home prior to this. Stuff their face with Cheetos and down some Miller Lite? Remain in their seats trying to scope out the hotties as the camera pans around the stadium? Anything but get their star-spangled panties in a bunch over a demonstration that last no longer than the trek from the fridge to the living room. Which is probably the same length of their sexual encounters.

This whole trend of sticking fingers in our ears screaming “shut up, shut up!” when we see something we don’t agree with needs to die already. And this is goes for both sides of the political spectrum. Echo chambers are becoming the rallying point for a lot of dumb shit this year and the need for balanced views is more paramount than ever lest we continue to get fucked even harder by those banking on all this self-imposed division. Agreement is not a requirement for understanding. Everybody walks a different road. Instead of trying to run each other over, how about we merge every now and then? When I protest, when I fight, and when I challenge, it’s not a self-interested directive. I’m doing this shit for everyone, background or skin color be damned. I don’t want us all to end up as chattel despite being viewed as such by overarching forces. If people could get this passionate about what’s actually going on in this fuck-ass country as much as kneeling athletes, we’d all be the better for it.