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Friday, September 30, 2016

Kneeling to the National Anthem - See all the viewpoints

During a town hall with American Armed forces, President Obama stated that as part of the general conversation he wants everyone to listen to each other.  He said this in regard to San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee when the national anthem is played.  President Obama stated that he wanted Kaepernick and others who protest to listen to the pain that taking a knee may cause someone who lost a child or spouse in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.

Well, since President Obama wants everyone to listen to each other, listen to this Mr. President.  Think about the mothers, and family members of black men who have seen policemen receive administrative pay and then found not guilty of killing unarmed black men in the 8 years of his Presidency.  Think about the devastation and loss of hope those continued events brought to black families.  Think about the worry that black parents have when their son leaves the house each day.  Think about how black families feel knowing that even having a black President of the United States hasn’t made a difference in stemming the murder by police of black men.  Think about how black people feel standing to give honor to a flag representing a country where the death of black people by police is a common event.

Yes, it’s great to have everyone listen to each other.  But, give equal importance to the pain and fears of black families.   Let’s agree that the feelings and emotions of one group are not more important than those of another group.  So there is no hierarchy of feelings that places those of blacks in the number one pain position, and those of veterans in the number two position. 

The whole notion of people being emotionally tied to a song seems rather primitive.  It’s as though the song itself created life and we have to stand to honor the life the song created. Yes, in this world people have been taught to love their symbols.  Flags, songs, jerseys of sports teams.  We’ve somehow been taught that it’s okay to idolize these symbols and become emotionally attached to them, to the detriment of more important matters.

To those who get super emotional when the national anthem is played I only have one question.  Is the anthem your God?  It is not mine.  When the anthem plays I stand…in silence.  I don’t put my hand over my heart and sing along.  Why should I?   My thoughts turn to how black people are treated in this country.  

I understand President Obama attempting to cater to the various viewpoints.  But Mr. President, you also need to reflect again on the role of your office and how even the power of your elected office has not made it safer for a black man to walk the streets in these United States of America.