Just Do It! Dream Crazy.

 

Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt

A few months ago I wrote a post about Freedom of Speech which included Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and of course a section on Collin Kaepernick.  In light of Nike choosing to work with Kaepernick for their 30th-anniversary campaign, and people burning their sneakers or cutting up their clothes, I felt the need to speak my mind about the way I see it – well because that’s what I do.   You’ve been warned!  (previously mentioned post can be found at the end of  this one)

How much “sacrifice” is enough?

silhouette of people beside usa flag

Let me start by saying that I support our Military and veterans.  I believe our veterans and their families make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  Not just freedom for a handful of power-hungry individuals, for but for all Americans. I will add that it’s a shame that the money generated by owners of professional sports franchises and professional athletes themselves is obscene compared to what “benefits” our active duty military and veterans get.  I believe that one does not “honor” our country, our Republic by honoring a piece of cloth waving on a stick.  We honor our country by honoring its people – all of our people, all the colors, shapes, sizes and abilities. The dreams of our people have made us a great nation. We celebrate strength and persistence in our people. I believe that is the message of the Nike campaign. 

Let me follow that by saying, just to be clear; I do not purchase Nike products.  Not now, or as long as I can remember.  They don’t suit me.  The shoes are too confining, the shirts and pants geared to more athletic types, which I am not.   It’s a personal choice to be comfortable especially when I’m paying my hard earned money for a product.  

Having said that, I have to admit that Nike has excellent marketing and a catchy slogan.  I’ve used it myself when I’ve been obsessing about something I want to take on; for example, a new job, a major move to a new city or merely to get back on the treadmill and be more mindful of my food choices.  Usually, it happens that after weighing all the pros and cons, sleeping on it, consulting each and every one of my friends and family, I get up one morning and after I’ve brushed my teeth, I stare at the mirror and say sternly to myself “JUST DO IT!”   Suddenly I’m all pumped up and feel strong and confident like an Olympic athlete.  Actually, that’s how I started blogging one day. 

I want to share the full commercial that Nike is putting out as part of this controversial campaign.  I find it pretty neat.  It’s bigger than Collin Kaepernick, and it’s bigger than DJT.    https://youtu.be/Fq2CvmgoO7I

Over the past couple of days, the networks and all kinds of social and news media have had lots to say.  One of the first conversations I heard was that people took offense to the slogan that suggests that Kaepernick lost everything, but they contend, that Kaepernick had nothing to lose.  I don’t know much about the game; the sports reports indicate that he was a second-rate quarterback that had one good season and then was underperforming each year after that. That may be true, but I think sitting on a bench and getting an NFL paycheck is better than being without a job or sponsors even if you did walk away with one-third of your original signed contract.  ( ALL these sports guys get paid way too much anyway, but that’s another story.)

I also want to make clear that I am not a football fan, never have been – except maybe in high school because I was crushing on a couple of football players, but the charm wore off quickly as I realized I had more in common with the philosophers and artists.  The sport doesn’t hold my interest long enough to understand why all these guys run and pile on each other over and over again.  People have tried to explain it but – well let me be frank, I’m just not into it. 

I give Kaepernick credit for feeling so strongly about something that he was willing to risk the dream he had worked for since the fourth grade.  Maybe he just decided there was something better to wish for, like equality and justice for all.  2016 was a terrible year for high profile police shootings of unarmed African American men.  I went back to look at the disturbing footage before I wrote this piece but I will not engage in rehashing the past.  I will say that based on my experiences, I can appreciate the fear, the pain and the rage at the loss of life in an undeserving way.   

What is the issue?  

The other opinion I will share is that I believe the situation became toxic once DJT decided to make it an issue.  I watched his “get that SOB off the bench, he’s fired! ” speech in Alabama in 2017 in which he also complained that the game was losing popularity because when the players hit too hard, they get a penalty. When the not so subtle hints didn’t work, he started putting more pressure on the team owners because as he said, “…It will happen…most of them are friends of mine”. 

Before NFL team owners started getting pressure from the Administration to discipline, fire or get “control” of their players, it seemed that each team addressed the issue and the players’ right to “free speech” was respected. It was obvious to most that players were not disrespecting the veterans, the military, the country or the flag.  They still “worked,” paid their taxes, and obeyed the laws of this country.  Some commentators say the uproar over “taking a knee” would have eventually died down.  Of course, that didn’t happen. The team owners felt obligated to play the other game and drew up rules to appease the rhetoric.  Essentially they said, we don’t care, what you do, just do it where the public doesn’t see you

Let’s not forget after all, that there are groups that do not salute the flag, for example, the Jehovah’s Witness or the AnaBaptist like the Amish or Mennonite groups.    

 Jehovah’s Witnesses intend no disrespect for any government or its rulers by a refusal to salute the flag. It is just that they will not, in an act of worship, bow down to or salute an image representing the State. They view it as similar to the stand taken in Bible times by three young Hebrew men who refused to bow down before the statue raised up on the plain of Dura by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel, chapter 3) – From Watchtower Online

and,

“The flag is fine, but we’re the only nation that worships the flag. It’s very heathen. The kingdom we live in, we pledge our allegiance to God, not the flag.” – quote from the PBS film “The Amish.”

All this research today, trying to get to the bottom of this leaves me with questions instead of an answer.  If Collin Kaepernick said was on a jet plane, and God spoke to him and told him to kneel before the flag instead of pledging, would it be OK? If it were Tom Brady, the number one quarterback in America, and who decided to take a knee to protest something that he felt strongly about would it be an issue. Maybe a better comparison would be Tim Tebow as another controversial figure and a mediocre quarterback who brought his personal beliefs on the field each time?  Is it really just a racial issue?  Was it more about saying “there is no problem here.”   Does Nike really aspire to inspire to unite?

Any ideas?

https://rosalind.life/2018/06/03/roseanne-samantha-and-free-speech/

 

Roseanne, Samantha and Free Speech

 

Critique does not come easy for me.  I try to be careful but truthful with my words.  I don’t like to be rude.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I consider myself a moderate in many things.  I prefer to look at both sides of an issue, as I know that circumstances can appear different to each of us. We all have experiences that color our perception of the world around us.  I’m one of those who believes in “being nice to someone no matter what because you don’t know what they’ve been through.”  When there is a bizarre statement trending on social media, I try to look it up before I pass judgment or share inaccurate or misleading information.  I have voted for political candidates on both sides of the aisle, taking into consideration which person I feel is best for the job. That being said, when push comes to shove, I lean to the left.  My reasons?  That’s for another blog post-stay tuned.

Today let’s talk First Amendment, specifically regarding Freedom of Speech, Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and Colin Kaepernick.  I have never been a fan of Roseanne Barr or Samantha Bee, and I have had a passionate dislike for reality television since its inception.  I don’t care much for professional sports where the tickets are financially out of reach for the average family.  In my opinion, both women are the type of comedian who does or say anything outrageous just for laughs.  Reality stars are a peculiar bunch whose behavior is motivated less by real emotion than by the drive to affect the ratings and stand out from the rest by being dramatic or outlandish.

Samantha Bee’s statement about Ivanka Trump falls into the comedic arts category.  I think there were other ways she could have addressed Ms. Trump’s apparent lack of empathy for the families separated at the border.  The offensive word Samantha Bee used was not funny and did not advance her message, but the “wow factor” did get her media attention.  Should she have been fired? I suppose some might argue that foul language and off-color remarks are acceptable as part of a comedy routine. In the general population, some people use swear words like others use punctuation marks.  I have been known to unnecessarily spice up my language to make a point, but I am never in favor of anyone using disparaging statements to describe another person or to lash out at someone. 

Roseanne Barr, also a comedian, woke up in the middle of the night, sent out a racist tweet and tried to backpedal by saying she was under the influence of prescribed medication. There is an old expression that says, “a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”   Is that comparable to a woman on Ambien?  I called out a colleague at work once for a scornful comment he made. He apologized saying that he said it without thinking; this admission on his part told me that derogatory thoughts were part of his belief system.  Had he been thinking, he would have filtered his words. I don’t believe medication, alcohol or Bipolar Disorder makes a person racist.  It is something taught early in life, and some people never learn anything else.  Should Roseanne Barr have been fired?  I’m sure she is not the only racist in Hollywood, but because she does not hold political office, she does not have the right to call people apes or fat or ugly or cowards or losers or sons-of-bitches. Ms. Barr doesn’t have the right to change the facts or make fun of disabled people or ethnic groups or even to say white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are made up of good people.  Although she is a celebrity, she is not the President of the United States and does not have the same rights sanctioned by conservative groups that the President has.  Instead, Roseanne Barr is an actor who worked for a family oriented business, and an angry racist is not kind of image Disney wants to be associated with their brand.

Since some in the media have linked Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee, and Colin Kaepernick, in the same First Amendment debate, I will address it here as well.  Colin Kaepernick, a young athlete of African-American descent, decided to use his position, his celebrity status if you will, to advocate for change in the justice system, specifically concerning racial profiling and use excessive force often leading to death.  We teach our children that one person; one small act can make a difference.  One NFL player “took a knee” to bring awareness to an ongoing problem in our country. He lost his job and was blacklisted from the sport.

According to a Snopes fact-check published September 28, 2017, former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer, educated and advised Kaepernick and former teammate, Eric Reid to “take a knee” instead of sitting out the National Anthem in objection to current civil liberty violations.  The three agreed this was more respectful,  “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect…”  Eric Reid is quoted as saying “We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”  The “take a knee” demonstration was a thoughtful form of silent protest.  It is protesting social injustice, not the flag, not the military or the country or whatever other theories are out there in the media. 

Divisive politics and fear-mongering have tried to skew the facts and turn the story around to question the integrity or validity of the complaint; to question the patriotism of protests in general. It is sad to me that the government has stepped in to coerce private companies to make employees behave in a way that is acceptable to the Administration’s agenda.   The NFL’s new policy about the etiquette during the national anthem is an example of this.  Last year it was indirectly suggested that perhaps the Administration should look into the tax breaks the NFL teams were getting since they were disrespectful to the flag and country.  Why these teams need “tax breaks” is beyond me, but that’s a topic for another post.  The point is the suggestive language worked.

According to Britanica.com “In the broadest sense, totalitarianism is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression.”   I find it upsetting to think this is happening in our country.  People complained about political correctness, an idea that attempted to invoke fairness and open-mindedness but what I see now; is an agenda to make sure everyone is behaving and thinking in the same way.  This plan is based on one group’s interpretation of Judeo-Christian traditions or the Constitution or whatever else they can use to manipulate the masses.   

How does this change?  It changes when everyone takes an interest in being well informed and challenging the ideas that limit our freedoms.  It is disheartening to know that a significant number of people in this country stop at the headlines they see in social media. They don’t read entire articles nor do they cross-reference sources.  That’s why it is easy for foreign powers to influence our politics or how we look at the world around us.   It changes when citizens of this great nation stand-up and give a damn to research the candidates beyond the sound bites.  It changes when well-informed citizens get out to vote. 

Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work or Write an Opinion Piece   #everydayinspiration