By RAHN ADAMS
Something happened last Sunday night for the first time—for me, anyway. No, not making one bag of pork rinds last the whole Sunday Night Football game. I got myself blocked on Facebook for arguing about Colin Kaepernick.
Now, the person who blocked me was a perfect stranger before we started exchanging opinions last weekend, even though he or she apparently was a friend of several friends of mine—and, of course, by friend, I’m talking about Facebook friends, which is often a dubious term at best.
Also, this individual must have been so tightly wound on Sunday evening—there was a full moon last weekend, after all—that when I said, basically, that I disagreed with his or her position and that I found absolutely no validity in it—in almost those very words—he or she blocked me, then went on about his or her socially-mediated business.
I guess ignorance can be bliss, even on Facebook. Or, maybe, especially on Facebook.
Ordinarily, I don’t debate politics or any other controversial subjects on social media. Too many real-world issues vex me daily to waste valuable leisure time arguing with virtual strangers—or virtual friends, for that matter—about anything. I mean, when I can argue in person about important stuff with any number of people all day, why wear my thumbs out arguing all night with a person whom I know only by a strange name and sometimes even stranger profile picture, and whose mind is already made up about whatever point we’re debating?
And then there’s the Colin Kaepernick issue—you know, how this second-string, multi-millionaire quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is refusing to stand during the playing or singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before his National Football League games but, instead, is kneeling to call attention to racial discrimination in America and also is putting his money where his mouth is by donating a million dollars over the next 10 months to charitable causes that promote equality.
To put it bluntly, after watching the news over the past week alone, all of us ought to get down on our knees—whether it’s during the National Anthem or throughout the whole game that follows—and pray that this lethal madness in America comes to an end soon. All includes everyone who is doing anything to encourage racial discord, whether in person or on any kind of media, as well as everyone who is trying to remain blissfully ignorant of the problem we face. Often those two groups overlap.
Racism exists. That’s all we really need to say. We don’t need to point out that it always has and always will, or that times have changed and some people are just a lot more sensitive now than they used to be. So some people are more sensitive to racism now? Well, good. If all people were more sensitive, then maybe some people would stop dying unnecessarily—the latter group including citizens and lawmen.
After all, isn’t that what makes us American—our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Notice, by the way, that life and liberty are unqualified rights, while we aren’t guaranteed happiness, just its pursuit. Think about that.
So if you don’t like what Kaepernick is doing, try to cheer up. It isn’t the first time an American has used civil disobedience to make a point, and it won’t be the last time, I’m sure.
America was born when our Founding Fathers dumped King George’s tea in Boston Harbor and then spent a few years writing some important documents—the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. King George’s loyalists in the colonies certainly weren’t happy about that.
A young America grew up a bit when Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay taxes that supported slavery and then wrote an essay that influenced other abolitionists to speak out against our country’s original sin, whose wages our ancestors paid with a bloody civil war and we continue to pay. Slaveholders certainly weren’t happy about that.
And America came into adulthood when Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and countless other Civil Rights activists went to jail for their non-violent protests against racial inequality, and then when King and others wrote and spoke about their experiences in order to effect change. Racists certainly weren’t happy about that.
So why don’t we all start acting like grownup Americans?
I don’t think I need to go into anymore detail to explain which sides of the Colin Kaepernick question my Facebook foe and I occupied last weekend. Still, I will stand when I hear the National Anthem and give my country and its defenders, past and present, the honor they deserve; I will respect the authority of law enforcement officers, emergency personnel and government officials, recognizing that we are a nation of laws; I will also stand up for the rights of all individuals, whatever label is used to disguise the fact that we’re all brothers and sisters, members of the human race.
And I will take personal responsibility for the decisions I make, the actions I take and the example I set. Those are my choices alone.
What he or she chooses to do is a mystery to me.