Colin Kaepernick Takes Stand By Sitting During National Anthem

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San Fransisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick is under fire after refusing to stand for the national anthem. Check his  Twitter feed  if you’d like to follow some of the action.

In true American fashion, within hours people were burning his jersey, he was mocked for daring to care about the oppression of others while he himself is a multi millionaire, memes were circling the internet showing wounded warriors going to great lengths to stand for the anthem while Colin Kaepernick is “able bodied, yet refuses”

But if you ask me? I’m impressed.

Because to be frank, patriotism isn’t that great. Nazi’s and North Koreans are very patriotic, what’s so great about that? Is a dutiful Nazi better than our unpatriotic and treasonous founding fathers who very un-patriotically told THEIR country to  “F off”?

Kaepernick was quoted as saying the following:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game against Green Bay. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The 49ers issued this statement: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”…

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Showing integrity and using your platform  to make a difference in the world vs  merely using it for  your  own self promotion, is nothing to be ridiculed, disdained, or mocked. It should be commended.

Wasn’t this the same attitude our founding fathers had when their government became intolerable and oppressive? Why are so many people able to applaud these actions from over 200 years ago, but vilify the same spirit of righteous indignation and demands for justice when they see it in people today? . What is weak about a man abiding by his conscience, even to his own detriment?

As a Christian, I see pledging to a flag as a form of idolatry. A person’s postal address has nothing to do with the content of their character. A flag is nothing to die or kill for. My allegiance is to God, and the values I believe in – truth, liberty, and justice. My thoughts on flags, anthems, and allegiance aligns with that of Arundhati Roy when she said the following:

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Like Kaepernick, I also often times do not stand for the anthem. It’s not something I hold particularly strong feelings about, for example,  if I’m in the middle of a conversation with a friend at a game and the anthem comes on, I likely wont sit and will just stay standing. But if I’m not otherwise distracted or am already sitting down? – no way I am standing up just to talk to a piece of cloth. I’m not the only one. Last year I wrote a story about a New Hampshire girl who refused to stand..Linked here: Teacher Takes Action Against Student Who Refused to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

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Here is another quote from Kaepernick I would like to share:

“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from. I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did,”  Kaepernick told Daily Sparks Tribune in 2012.

I do believe Kaepernick should be proud of his actions on the field Friday. I believe he took a much bolder stand against injustice by sitting than he ever could have by standing and saying the pledge like everyone else.

Ironically, Kaepernick also showed a firm intolerance for systemic injustice and oppression – values shared by the often praised founders of our country – how very “American” of him.

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Adrian Grenier of “Entourage” Chastised by Internet for Insinuating Non-American Lives Actually Matter.

I have never seen the show “Entourage” but when an actor from the series posted the following photo on instagram, all hell broke loose as the internet attacked him for being “idiot liberal scum” and “disgusting” – for daring to insinuate he mourns all innocent people (both foreign and domestic) who  lost their lives due to the 9/11 attacks and our nation’s subsequent Iraqi invasion.

The post reads “R.I.P the 2,996 Americans who died in 9/11. R.I.P. the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn’t do.”

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How could a person possibly be upset with this?

A group of terrorists from a middle eastern country attacked our nation and in response we waged war on a different middle eastern country… because “freedom”, and “never forget”

What about analyzing circumstances with a modicum of intelligence, logic, and respect for human life? What about going after the individuals responsible instead terrorizing the innocent citizens of an entire country?

You do realize our actions were no different than if a small group of U.S. citizens had bombed a Middle Eastern skyscraper or government building and in response the Middle Eastern country decided to  wage war against Canada?

There are reports of schools, weddings, children, & homes all bombed, destroyed, and the innocent people there, being senselessly killed by our government’s actions. Human life is valuable. It is a tragedy Americans lost their lives, it is also a tragedy so many innocents in another country lost their lives because of our nation’s inhumane, irresponsible, and illogical response to tragedy.

46 year old Banker Discovers Wife Has Been Cheating for 10 Years, Then Posts This….WOW.

This is your only life. Don’t waste it. Don’t take the easy way, or the cowards way. Don’t settle. Don’t wait till next time. Don’t spend all your time on empty goals only to look back and realize they didn’t even matter. Let people hate you, spend time with those who love you, and live authentically. Some people would rather die than live their truth and as a result they do.

After discovering his wife was cheating on him, 46 year old banker, Lou, took to facebook and shared about the life he never lived.  Lou hopes he can be the wake up call for someone else that he never had.

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Lou’s post also reminded me of this MLK quote about half lived lives.

“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid…. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer…. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.” ― MLK


11722604_10101490173622164_3394838373328770591_oI hope Lou was able to help you as he was me. If you have time, Bruce Muzik gives an amazing Ted Talk on this very subject. The sentiment of his lecture is beautifully captured by this quote from William Shakespeare. Enjoy!

No, You’re Not Cecil, You Are Dr. Palmer

“I am Cecil” A tactic so often used to discuss issues of judicial injustice or police brutality. Crowds will stand in protest with signs that read “I am (the victim’s name)”

Such signs are poignant. They show us that the injustice done to a stranger could have been done to us – a member of our own family, or our own children. It sends a message that to allow injustice to run rampant in our streets and courtrooms is akin to allowing an injustice inflicted upon ourselves to go ignored. It is a sign to say “when one is inflicted, we are all inflicted” – lest we take a stand.

The signs resonate because they are a reminder that any of us could fall victim to the injustice being fought. However, the use of this technique in reference to a lion shot by a big-game hunter holds none of the aforementioned weight.

Your white liberal self is not in danger of being shot on the fields of Zimbabwe by a big-game hunter.

Are you a serial killer? Does eating a child for breakfast before a lounge in the sun followed by ripping a sleeping neighbor’s body apart for an afternoon snack sound like a good day?

No? – then you probably aren’t Cecil.

If a lion owned by a person or group were killed, I would hope the owners would have another lion bought for them by the individual who wrongfully killed it. That is the only extent to which I care about the death of a lion. And even then, I care only because of the hassle to replace it the human owners have to go through.

The outrage over the death of a lion should be a jarring wake-up call. It tragically illustrates the lack of humanity, empathy, and perspective in our culture. I do not think this showcases how wonderfully empathetic the American people must be to care for a lion. I think of how shallow they must be, how cold, and out of touch they are, to more highly esteem the beauty of  lions than the human lives destroyed by them.

Why do they show no compassion for the villagers who can not voyage out to find food or firewood for fear of being eaten? The father whose son was killed and eaten by such a beast? Why can the death of a Zimbabwe lion result in calls for action and justice, but not the Zimbabwe people killed by lions or those dying of hunger or violence?

In The New York Times,  Goodwell  Nzou, offered perspective as a Zimbabwe native in his article  – In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

Cecil who? I wondered. When I turned on the news and discovered that the messages were about a lion killed by an American dentist, the village boy inside me instinctively cheered: One lion fewer to menace families like mine.

My excitement was doused when I realized that the lion killer was being painted as the villain. I faced the starkest cultural contradiction I’d experienced during my five years studying in the United States.

Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from “The Lion King”?

In reality, the lions of Zimbabwe are viewed as objects of terror. In Nzou’s village a solitary lion prowled near his home.  Trips for survival and firewood were made only in groups armed with machetes and spears for self defense against an attack.

 The lion sucked the life out of the village: No one socialized by fires at night; no one dared stroll over to a neighbor’s homestead.

When the lion was finally killed, no one cared whether its murderer was a local person or a white trophy hunter, whether it was poached or killed legally. We danced and sang about the vanquishing of the fearsome beast and our escape from serious harm.

Dr. Walter Palmer did nothing shocking or immoral. Lions in the wild rarely live past age 12, and Cecil was already 13. Roughly 800 lions have been legally killed in Zimbabwe over the past decade without any media frenzy.

Palmer has lived his life until now with those around him fully aware of his love for big-game hunting, and loving him just the same. He is clearly an incredible dentist – given his great smile (a wonderful testimony to his work) and the fact he can afford to shell out over $50,000 to hunt large game in foreign countries.

Yet PETA has called for his death. Zimbabwe is demanding an extradition of the dentist to be brought to justice. His home and work addresses were released to the public. Now this ordinary man with a passion for big-game hunting has thousands calling for the destruction of his business. His life and livelihood are threatened and he is facing potential criminal charges. Can you not see that if such societal crucifixion can happen to a man like Palmer – a productive, successful member of society who has helped thousands of lives with his practice – then it can happen to anyone?

So no, you are not Cecil. You do not have to live in fear of being poached or killed by a big-game hunter. But you are Dr. Palmer.

One day you could do something slightly unusual, such as attend an animal rights rally.  A statement you say in anger or in passing could be caught on camera and go viral. Strangers who don’t even know you, and will never meet you, could hate you. You could receive death threats from those strangers saying they believe a person like you  should not even be allowed to live. Your address could be given out, putting your life in danger. In the media frenzy your “hunting loving” boss could catch wind of your views and within hours your job and livelihood are gone.

So really, if you want to bring light to those issues which connect us by their unjust nature, their ability to afflict everyday people, and the power they have to destroy an individual’s life as we know it – then  your sign should read “I am Dr. Palmer”.

In Defense of Bristol Palin

I had never thought much about Bristol Palin. When I first saw her on television during the 2008 campaign, I don’t think I thought anything  beyond: “Oh weird, her mom is way cuter than her. I figured Sarah Palin’s daughter would be hotter.”   – Super deep I know, but its what I thought.

I remember all the media frenzy and the way Conservatives lauded her as a hero for “not getting an abortion and choosing life” seemed weird to me. It just seemed like a bizarre angle. Like being given a medal for going to lunch and not punching your friend in the face. Or being commended for your “family values” because you spent the weekend with your sister and didn’t stab her. The vast majority of women who get pregnant keep their baby. Only 21% of pregnancies end in abortion. (yes, I know that number is HUGE) but my point is, no one is noble or heroic for doing something 79% of people do in the same situation. Not aborting your baby isn’t “heroic” – it is normal.

I never thought or saw anything of her again. That is, until we fast forward to 2015 when she announced her second pregnancy and the internet went ballistic. The first thing I noticed wasn’t what a raging monster pious freak she was (as the trolls would describe her), but how beautiful she had become!  Bristol had blossomed from a  chubby round faced teen into a stunning woman. Not just beautiful, but stunning!!

Screenshot_2015-08-02-15-53-32My guess is she had a chin implant, but the fact she was smart enough to get one is a plus in and of itself.

She lost weight, learned how to shape her eyebrows, lost the ugly highlights, and became a better dresser – in other words, she grew into her own!

I will be honest when I say I thought she was hopelessly average looking, and I was both surprised and impressed by her physical transformation over the years. bristol-palin-440stunningdiff

I could not help but feel she was being treated incredibly unfairly by the media’s  response to her second pregnancy. Bristol is a human being not a caricature. People really need to break  things down, and have some understanding before they bash on her. So here goes….

Firstly, Bristol was not raised in some fundamentalist cult. Her mom was busy with her political aspirations and her parents were rarely even home. The family went to church like 5 times a year – if that. Bristol’s first pregnancy is not the outcome of “fundamentalist upbringing” or “abstinence only education” but the outcome of a largely unsupervised childhood.

Secondly, a 17 year old girl getting pregnant by her long-term boyfriend generally is never planned. But it also isn’t absurdly rare or crazy, especially in today’s culture. It really pisses me off the campaign even made a statement about a private family matter.

Going “public” was her mother’s fault, not hers, so don’t blame Bristol for it. Sarah Palin was the one parading herself as some pro-life christian family values spectacle all over the world – not Bristol. Palin should have known her daughter’s pregnancy would be mercilessly criticized and taken actions to protect her daughter from all of it.

A simple “Yes I am expecting my first grandchild from my daughter and her fiance.” If asked if she thought this was hypocritical of her “family values” stance, a simple, “No, we are pro-life, and very excited about this child, they’ve been planning on marriage and children for a while now, so it is sooner than expected, but we believe life is a blessing regardless of circumstances” –  THE END.  It would not have been such an emphasis throughout the campaign if she hadn’t been the one to bring attention to her teen daughter, parade her around on camera, go off on “hard life lessons”, and speak about her so much.

As a result,  the media looked into Bristol’s life, her relationship, Levi’s life (since the family trotted him out into all this as well),  followed the pregnancy, kept asking about “wedding plans”, knew every up and down of the relationship of a 17 year old!, they were interviewed about custody issues. etc. No one, and I mean no one needed to, or had a right to know any of this. What a nightmare, having to parade around on international TV just to be called a whore, “white trash”, and be made into a joke, all while several months pregnant and feeling super gross.

Now, as for the accusation of Bristol throwing stones from a so called “glass house” The vast majority of Bristol’s views were an echo of her mother’s. Regardless of her individual beliefs, she wasn’t in a position to slam her mom’s viewpoints or do much more than stand by and support her mother, as most politician’s children do.

She is called a “hypocrite” often because she worked with organizations aimed at preventing teen pregnancy by promoting “safe sex” and abstinence. Just imagine you are Bristol. Your mom is Sarah Palin. You are an 18/19 year old. You have a kid and organizations such as Candies Foundation approach you and offer you hundreds of thousands of dollars to talk about your experience with teen pregnancy. Would you really not take the offer? Would you even really care what the hell they asked you to talk about so long as it wasn’t evil?  The money was a ticket to independence and I don’t blame her for taking it.

Her PSAs and speeches were hardly “judgmental” or pious. And were generally no more hardcore than a basic “think about things before having sex.” ..oh wow, what a moral crusader! Example of one below. The only thing offensive about them is how lame and cheesy they are.  

She never acted morally superior or slammed people who didn’t practice abstinence. The accusation of her “shaming others” for doing what she did, simply is not true. Even a prostitute could factually say the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy is with abstinence – because it is a true statement regardless who says it.  Even the PSAs themselves recognized many wouldn’t want to use abstinence, and gave alternatives (as shown above). Bristol was an advocate for preventing teen pregnancy by using herself as a cautionary tale, and to be fair, she never had another child as a teen. The accusation of her being a hypocrite because of her work with the Candies foundation is simply untrue.

Yes, she went on TV with her mom by her side, and said she “would wait till marriage to have sex again.” But what else was she supposed to say? “I plan on sleeping around”???  Plus, she probably said she was waiting – because she genuinely planned on waiting! And at the time, believed she would.

Life happened, the cameras went away, years passed, relationships came and went, and it became something she probably still supported the idea of, but just didn’t believe that strongly in anymore.  Do you realize how many teens plan on “waiting till marriage” or “waiting till love” then don’t? How many of us said things when we were 18 that as we aged went out the window?

Never get married? – now you are married with 3 kids. Become a doctor? – decide you hate the medical field and now you are a lawyer.  Wait til you fall in love or marriage to have sex? – ended up sleeping with a loser who cheated on you.

Really, if nothing of the sort has ever happened to you, then you must be the most psychic person ever. I personally believed all sorts of stuff I am straight up embarrassed by today, and I said I wanted to do all sorts of things I changed my mind about and never did.

I would wager the vast majority of those condemning her are actually the ones in glass houses throwing stones – not Bristol. Are the people attacking her all virgins? I highly doubt it. And given the vast majority of those criticizing her are probably basement dwellers with NO life, I would guess if they are virgins – it isn’t by choice.

If I were Bristol and Sarah Palin were my mother I would have a lot of animosity toward her for a myriad of reasons. So when I came across this clip of Bristol getting into a public altercation where she defended her mother (and looked super hot and badass while doing so), I couldn’t help but be impressed. She is a better person than I would be. After all this public condemnation caused by her mother, she still stands by her mom and defends her. Fight:

She doesn’t deserve to be called a whore and a slut by a slew of degenerates or gross 47 year old losers perusing bars with nothing better to do than be obsessed with her.

From what I can tell she is a normal woman. She had a child with a long term boyfriend. And now as a grown woman, she is expecting another with a man she was planning on marriage and having more children with. Nothing about those pregnancies make her any less “moral” than the vast majority of Americans. As a result – the vast majority of Americans have no room to bash her!

She is her own person. She has a chill personality. She doesn’t have the scary glassy stare her mom does, or the strange way of speaking with strings of one-liners and talking points in a weird accent. If you are mad at Sarah Palin or do not like her, then take it out on Sarah Palin, not her daughter.

She has handled the onslaught of criticism with grace. She has a way cooler life than most of those bashing her will ever have. Yes, I’m sure this gorgeous woman with show offers, close friends, family, a son she loves, another on the way, faith, book deals, private jet vacations, and a million other things is really just a ” white trash loser with a totally lame life”  just because she broke an engagement. Seriously, the fact people think a breakup is that much of an end all be all as to whether someone’s life is good, makes me question them way more than it makes me question her. Get real and grow up.

Teacher Takes Action Against Student Who Refused to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

14 year old Middle School student Fatima Smart of New Hampshire was allegedly forced by her teacher to leave class after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Smart claims she was later lectured in front of all the other students.

“She kind of used me as an example in front of the class to say that, ‘You have to stand for the flag salute, or you can be like Fatima and wait outside,’” Smart said.

“I don’t like our government at all,” she said. “I think they are making bad decisions, and I didn’t stand. I don’t like pretending to believe in something I don’t believe in to please others… They have their rights, and I have mine.”

I would not be able to hide my pride if my child got in trouble for this. It’d be one of those signs you are winning at the parenting thing. Fatima’s parent’s raised a daughter who stands by what she believes in, who is engaged and interested in the world around her, and who is intelligent enough to question the merit of robotic (and frankly creepy) traditions.

So of course her school authority figure can’t have any of it and attempts to  “fix” her immediately. Check out the smirk of clear pride on her Dad’s face in the background in this new clip..  I don’t blame him.

Smart’s parents rightfully stand by their daughter, and have asked for an apology from school officials. Smart had every right to stand by her conscience.

In New Hampshire it is voluntary for students to stand for the pledge. Smart’s parents believe she was singled out and her rights were violated for personal reasons. Her teacher said as the daughter of a military man she found Smart’s position to be offensive.

Being offended because someone won’t idolize a flag doesn’t give someone the right to force flag worship down their student’s throats, nor does it give them the right to bully students into submission. I salute this young lady for standing her ground and living up to her last name of Smart!

In Maine more heads explode over this issue when local politicians refuse to stand for Pledge of Allegiance.  In the wake of the completely over the top uproar over Cecil the lion, I think its time folks stop calling for people’s heads and take a step back to look at what is actually taking place before becoming so vitriolic over issues.

A human didn’t want to say a creepy pledge to a piece of cloth.

That’s it.

They didn’t spit on your dead grandfathers grave who served in WW2, and no, your dad/secondcousin/uncle/great grandpa didn’t “die for that flag”  –  He didn’t need to, you can buy them at Walmart for like ten dollars.

Many soldiers have died for freedom, liberty, free speech, and the security of their families. Many soldiers have died for corrupt leaders, greed, and ethnocentrism. A plethora of reasons,  good and bad, that have very little to do with a piece of cloth dyed different colors and put into a starry and striped design. So take a chill pill.

While I personally do not partake in flag burning, it is merely for the reason I don’t randomly burn pieces of cloth to prove my point, so i don’t see why I would start now.  However, I truly have no issue with those who do, nor do I have an issue with those who refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

If the actions of one’s government becomes a danger to, and constrains the freedom of, its nations citizens, I would say it would be immoral to pretend the flag still represented a country noble enough to pledge one’s allegiance.

Even if you lived in the perfect country, ten years from now it could devolve into an incredibly evil place.  Is it ok to claim your allegiance is justified  because the country “used to be cool like 200 years ago”?

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This makes blind patriotism and nationalism rather illogical concepts. The leaders you are directed under could instruct you to do horrible things, such as worship them or commit mass murder. ( ie Nazis and North Korea with their 99% government approval rating) – the most patriotic of all nations I would say.

Surely this shows such visceral reactions concerning a flag are for those without enough  intelligence or depth of thought to recognize its absurdity.

Patriotism would be great if we lived in a Godly righteous nation with just laws and a peaceful society that strongly valued liberty, freedom, and individual rights. But that is not the case nor is it even realistic. No faith should be put into something as fallible and changeable as a nation and its governing body.

Let people be guided by their morals & values. If you want to fight or stand or pledge to something make it God, liberty, justice, freedom. The timeless and eternal principles and truths that can never change or be corrupted, and save your outrage for a real issue.