Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safety and Happiness

I have been sitting around my house for the last few months after resigning from my job. Searching for a job is a long arduous process that is frustrating and depleting. It feels like there will never be a place that fits me and will be my career. While I sit and search, I read a lot about what is going on in the world and man is it frustrating. I get angry so much that I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. Politics. Sports figures protesting. Adults threatening children. It is anger inducing. I would like to address all of these while taking a look at what the founding fathers wrote when putting the foundation on this great country. Yes, it is now and it always will be a great nation. I will get to that, too.

 Let's look at what the Declaration of Independence says.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words, our fledgling nation was in the midst of a war with Britain in an attempt to gain the freedom from the tyrannical rule of the king.  The newly formed independent states had voted for independence and they needed an explanation of why they felt it was necessary.  So let's look at some of the words as they might apply to the events of today.  Let's start with the next section.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The thing that stood out to me here is the part about government becoming destructive forcing the people to alter or abolish it so as to effect their safety and happiness. This is what is happening in this country right now. There are governments across this land that have destructive laws in place that are affecting the safety and happiness of certain groups of citizens.
When Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the national anthem he was forcing the people to look at decisions by police chiefs and judges and juries that have affected the safety and happiness of young black men and women.  Black youth are systematically singled out as being a threat to police officers and as such have been injured, and in some instance killed for just being black.  Now you might say I am making this all about race and you're right.  It is about race.  It's about the superiority of the white man who thinks he is the ruler of black people in this country.  White privilege is on display around this country like was seen in the darkest days of the civil rights fight and the days of the Jim Crow south.

White politicians have made it okay to be hateful again.  People are encouraged to hurt others because they are of a different race or religion.  They have even been told their legal bills will be paid for them should they be arrested and charged and taken to trial.  But it's not okay.

Kaepernick started a dialogue that this country needs to have.  It is resonating with other athletes on the professional, collegiate, high school and even youth levels.  The Beaumont Bulls is one such league that has been vilified for allowing a team to take a knee during the national anthem...and the local media only gives the side of the ones who are hating against the kids.  Hating against the KIDS!

In an article in the New York Daily News, a parent whose son plays on the team said, "Our children are receiving death threats from people saying things like hang those monkeys, they should've died on 9/11, and they're going to kill each other anyway." Adults are saying these things about children. Adults. And our local news completely ignores it.  They talk about the people who disagree but don't show the threats that the kids received.

Another local team is in hot water after some players posted a very racially divisive meme on social media after playing another local team.  This is also described in the same article.  Who know what, if any, punishment they got from the school but they probably didn't get any from home because they had to learn that hate somewhere.

These are the things that black children and young adults have to deal with every day that white people don't have to.  A black man is seen as a threat and a white man is seen as hungry.  A black man is shot and killed.  A white man is taken to Burger King.  A black teenager holding a toy gun is killed on sight.  A white man who actually has a gun is talked to and reasoned with.

White privilege.

It's real people.

It's also part of the destructive government that has shirked its responsibility of justly, with the consent of the governed, protecting the unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It is a government that needs to be abolished and altered so a new government that will effect the safety and happiness can be formed.  That is what the protests are about.  That is why they sit and kneel.

That is why they should sit and kneel.  And that is what our military has fought for.  That is what our flag should stand for yet for some it doesn't.  For some, the flag is a symbol of oppression by the government that should be protecting the life, liberty and happiness of all its citizens.

Let us not forget the soldiers who returned from Vietnam who were made to feel like they were murders.  Let us not forget that the black soldiers returning from WWII where they had fought for people of other countries to be free yet they came home to the same oppression that they left.

They were not free.  They didn't see any changes in their own country.  Their country was still holding them back, telling them they couldn't sit at lunch counters or attend school with white children.  They were held to higher standards to vote, with some going so far as to ask black voters to recite the entire Constitution or they couldn't vote.  That's what they came home to.  And while they have much better circumstances today, they are still being systematically oppressed by local, state and federal government on a daily basis.

You may not agree with the way that Kaepernick and other athletes have chosen to protest, but they have the right because of the same military that fought for all of us.  They don't cherry pick who they fight to protect.  They don't make conditions.  They fight for the Constitution.  They fight for the Republic.  They fight for all of us.