Kaepernick, Lance Bass & Other Things

10:05 AM

When I was in Elementary School, I had a slight fascination with Lance Bass. What can I say, I got lost in his dreamy eyes, eyes, eyes (uh uh). My friends would come over, and naturally we would discuss the roles we were about to play before divulging into the land of make believe. More often than not, we would pretend that we were fan girls of N’SYNC who scored backstage passes and began dating relationships with the members of the popular boy band. And more often than not, we would have an argument over who would be the lucky girl to date Lance Bass. The argument lasted as all players stood their ground, and refused to settle for Justin Timberlake (currently sitting in deep regret over this). Every time this happened, the game would end before it could even begin. 
Nobody got Lance Bass and we started back at square one. 

This week, I’ve observed a split in my news feed over Colin Kaepernick’s lack of participation in the National Anthem. Confused? Here’s the story.  I’ve been learning to listen before I speak, and to observe before I act. So I watched and listened, and let the matter digest a bit. Understand that I come from the North, but have a large piece of my heart in the South, so I see opposing views from many cherished friends swinging in wildly opposite directions

At some point in the last 24 hours, the polarization became frustrating beyond belief. Frustrating in the sense that no amount of Facebook chatter or newspaper headlines would progress or unite us but only dig us deeper into this pit of dissension and hatred that surrounds our media these days.

Essentially this has become a Black Lives Matter vs. American Veterans Lives Matter.
Kaepernick’s action, simple as it was, has sent profound shock waves through the American soul. Looking closer, it seems to me that both sides of the issue have more in common than we thought. 

Both sides are fighting for the sanctity of human beings. 
Both sides are asking for respect for this sanctity. 
One side is asking for respect for their country and the men that fought for their country to be free.
Kaepernick’s side is asking for respect for their race and the men that fought for their race to be free.
Neither side is out of line for feeling the way that they feel.

So what if instead we put down our swords, and take one step towards the”other”? Instead of posting articles and bullet-proofed tweets, we individually agree to redefine what the flag stands for so that there is room for all of us under it. Let’s turn our eyes to the hurt and devastation that has been building up below the surface, causing a population of our own people to think twice about how free they actually are. 

The majority of us can look back on the civil rights movement & Jim Crowe laws and think, how could we ever have allowed that to happen? 

In the same sense we ask ourselves….

How could we have slaughtered Native Americans? 
How could we have enslaved people? 
How could we have placed Japanese Americans into internment camps?

You see, America, though free, has an interesting track record when it comes to how we have treated people who are "different". Slowly, we are learning but sometimes we need the reminder that all men are created equal. So let’s think to ourselves, what in this lifetime will we be ashamed of in the next? And what can we do now to write a better story for America?

I’ll end by saying that I believe in the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe this should be the least controversial issue right now. It should actually be common sense.  I also honor our Veterans. To choose between who is more important is a question we should never have to ask ourselves. 

That’s why I’m writing. Not to say that one side is right, and the other is wrong, or to make you feel that your argument isn’t worthy. But to search for the humanity on both sides of the poles, and to let that be the agreement that brings those poles closer together. To make us more human. This will happen as a result of opening up our arms, leaning in and caring more about the people in our country than allegiance to our country. Let’s make our country a place where the flag stands for all of us and we truly are proud to put our hand over our heart. We are free to speak our voice, and free to disagree, so if you’ve read this and thought “no thanks”, I can do nothing but respect your opinion. But let me challenge you to think about how we can honor our veterans by showing respect to all the people they fought for. 

And if we don’t? Then the game will end. Nobody will win. And we will wait on the sidelines for the next major headline, ready with our swords, our bullets, and our bullet-points, to do the same dance once again. If we stay here forever, nobody will get Lance Bass, or Justin Timberlake for that matter. And that my friends, is a tragedy in itself. 

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  1. Happy birthday Mattie! Was chatting with Lise the other day and she reminded me. Love your writing, dear gal. Such a beautiful flow of thoughts, ideas, feelings, questions. A true delight. Be well!