Before anyone gets too excited, I want to post this link:Keeping an eye on the flags from Florida
See this is how I’ve always viewed my patriotism. I’m an rabid supporter of the Constitution, the military, the police, and disenfranchised groups. I ask you to please keep this Op/Ed and my others like it in mind as you read ahead.
|Colin Kaepernick kneels with teammate 9/12/16|
I sort of view this National Anthem/ Flag protest the same way I view abortion. I don’t think, should the need have ever arisen, that I could have gone through with an abortion. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand and support the need for other women to do so. For years I have been an ardent supporter of patriotism, of the Flag Code (most of you don’t even know that exists), our troops and everything else Americana. I grew up in small town America, a town once named the Best Small Town in America. We were lifted up by gold mines so even when a recession hit gold prices soared and most people in town didn’t feel the same pinch as the rest of the country. I see myself as lucky though. I got out. I left that small town, not that I haven’t been back to live for short periods of time or to visit, but I left behind the girl I was there as soon as I could. It wasn’t right away. It didn’t happen when I went to Liberal Oregon for college. That just pushed me harder to the right because no one there seemed to understand the needs of small towns or rural communities. I rallied against Yucca Mountain and Las Vegas voters bemoaning their state citizenry and distance from 90% of the state’s land needs as misinformed and misguided. I still rally around these issues and many more but now I see them from a different set of lenses, not better but different; lenses with a different scope and perspective; lenses with experience, and travel, and education behind them. Lenses that are no longer shaded by my teachers, community leaders, or parents. While my views will always be tinted by my past they are wholly radical to my present.
I remember 9/11 really well. I was a junior in high school. At the time I was politically motivated in everything I did thinking I was going to go to law school and eventually run for office myself. I never made a decision without first thinking about what the consequences on my political career might be. In the summer of 2002 I was allowed to participate in Nevada Girls’ State and then Girls’ Nation cementing my love for our country. Seeing the smoke stains on the Pentagon. Listening to President Bush encourage us to support our country and remain united. Meeting 100 other teenage girls who had the same fears and questions that I did but with vastly different backgrounds than me. It was the first time I ever met or talked to anyone in a hijab and she was scared about how we would all treat her because of 9/11; a teenage girl, an American citizen, scared because of the fear that welled up in people. The same type of fear that is capitalizing on people today, probably a lot of the very same people. I remember arguing with people in Elko and beyond about the need to support our troops even if we didn’t support the war. I remember telling people to stand because it was the least they could do. I remember thinking how ungrateful and uninformed these people were that were sitting, that were bashing the commander-in-chief, that were disrespecting everything I had come to know that America stood for.
If you support the military and the police and you claim to love this country and you say you’re patriotic yet you can’t support everyone’s rights – then you are WRONG. If you can’t see that the military is in place to uphold ALL of the freedoms granted by the Constitution then you need to open your eyes. If you don’t believe that men and women are fighting for Colin Kaepernick and every other person who deems it necessary to sit or kneel, then you are misinformed about America. If you are in the military or are a police officer your job is to uphold the Constitution, all of it, not just the parts you like. Your job which you’ve chosen amongst all the jobs you could imagine is to make sure that every person in this country: black, white, Asian, purple, gay, straight, trans, racist, misogynist has the opportunity to protest what they want how they want. If you can’t do that then find another job. Don’t leave the country, I don’t want you to get out, but at least educate yourselves. Open your minds. Understand that the educations we received before Google were biased and slanted. Kids today have it great- they can fact check every adult in their life and I encourage them to do so. I was lucky, my mom was a librarian and I had access to a card catalog and knew how to use it before libraries operated online or even with a computer system. I’ve always questioned everything and the older I get the more I learn that I always will.
|Olympians John Carlos & Tommie Smith1968|