Can’t we all just get along?!
Well, if that’s not a loaded question these days, I don’t know what is. At this point, I’m honestly having a hard time remembering what it was like to be able to log in to ANY form of social media without being flooded with the latest divisive topic. Remember when we were little and our parents told us “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” and for a brief amount of time it meant stomping off to sulk about it before moving on with your day? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just go back to that? I mean, I realize we can’t. I realize nothing is ever changed by people remaining quiet, but on that same line, nothing is ever changed by intolerance either.
When did we, as an entire population of the planet, become SO intolerant of other people, while at the same time demanding they be tolerant of us? Case in point: love it, or hate it, the NFL players, and now celebrities in general, taking a knee during the National Anthem at games has got to be, aside from our president, THE most divisive topic around right now. Everyone believes they’re on the right side of the argument, and NOBODY will consider anything else….at least that’s what you see. Yesterday, I was lucky to come across what was quite possibly THE single greatest post about the whole take a knee debacle ever. I was lucky, because I downloaded the image before the friend that shared it deleted it after being bullied by grown ass adults for posting something that differed from their opinion. I wish I knew who originally posted it, because it’s beautiful. It’s not the popular opinion, and I’m bound to catch the same hell my friend did for sharing it, but it’s such a poignant thought, and deserves to be shared.
“I guess they think our country is hurt and they are hoping that it will get better.” Out of the mouths of babes. With that, Molly, with her 8-year-old innocence, became the person with the opinion we should all consider. There was no profanity laced “we stand for the National Anthem out of respect and even my 2-year-old knows how to do it,” or “Look at these kids. They are true Americans. Those overpaid NFL snowflakes should pay attention to this.” There was no “F*** the police” or “Not my president” from the other side. There was simply “I guess they think our country is hurt and they are hoping that it will get better.”
So back to my friend who posted, and then subsequently deleted this picture. Do you know, there was not one single voice of complaint from the people who support the silent kneeling protest? Nope, the multiple “That’s bullshit, and you know it” complaints were all from the incredibly red, VERY right leaning people who DEMAND everyone show respect for our flag and National Anthem.
Do I think it’s wrong to feel so strongly for your country? Hell no. I admire it. I love this county. I get a little choked up (damn “allergies”) when I hear someone sing the National Anthem (especially if they sing ALL of the verses, not just the first one we all know by heart), or when I see veterans carrying the flag in a parade, or when I’m in a room with 700 people on 9/11 and the speaker stops everything and calls for a moment of silence at the precise time the planes hit the World Trade Center and it’s suddenly so quiet you could hear a pin drop. It’s not wrong to feel patriotic!
Here’s what I wonder though. As you’re demanding tolerance for this 1 belief of yours, are you in return tolerant of other people’s beliefs? Is it truly a 2 way street, or are you disgusted by, or unjustly afraid of someone wearing a burqa or a hijab? Do you demand religious freedom, but look down on someone who faces East and prays during prayer hours? Do you call police horrible names and act as if they’re all corrupt, but call 911 looking for them in an emergency? Do you believe everyone in this country should speak English because they’re in America, yet believe when you travel to foreign countries that they should also speak English so you can understand?
Tolerance is a two-way street. You don’t get to ignore the rights of everyone else while demanding your own rights. That’s simply not the way it works.
Take your knee in solidarity with those who are already doing it if you want. Cancel your DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket if you want. Stand at attention with your hand over your heart if you want. Boycott the games if you want. You have the freedom to do those things. You have the freedom to think our President is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or an incompetent Cheeto who should be impeached. That’s the great thing about living in THIS country. You have the FREEDOM to think what you want about whatever you want, but it doesn’t mean you need to be an asshole to people who think differently than you. You can be passionate without being a prick. And whether 8-year-old Molly actually said it or if someone made it up and attributed it to a fake made up 8-year-old, our country….our world actually…is hurt, and maybe we all need to take a knee and hope it gets better.