High school football fans have cheerleaders to help them cheer for the home team. There are also some unauthorized cheers, and one of them ends with the phrase (and actions) “…stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!” That cheer came to mind last weekend as the NFL National Anthem controversy continued.
People have strong opinions on players not standing for the National Anthem. The same people have opinions on whether children should be required to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And, I guess flag burning is probably mixed in as well.
I grew up in a time when respect for our country was assumed. People put hands on hearts and took off hats for The Anthem and the flag. My family also took it seriously. I still do today.
The people protesting have the right to do it, as do the statue haters. Kneeling before a game is surely a better avenue of protest than burning down buildings and throwing rocks at police.
A wise man once told me that with people there will always be an “us” and a “them.” Just who the “us” and “them” are changes – sometimes in a heartbeat, like the morning of 9/11/2001.
You can have labor and management, men and women, brothers and sisters, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and Muslims, blacks and whites… it’s just a human tendency to want to be part of a group and identify another group that is in opposition.
Nothing good generally comes of it, of course. Rather than working together, energy is expended on the battle between “us” and “them.” And, sometimes there is a true “them” out there threatening us while we aren’t paying attention.
The funny thing is that football teams face the ultimate “us” and “them” fight every week. I wonder how much that has changed now that the additional “us” and “them” of kneelers and standers have emerged.
Of course, everybody has something loud to say about it, including the President and the President’s supporters and opponents and the opponents of the opponents.
It’s really a shame. There are so many wonderful things about our country about which we should all be grateful. And there is also a lot of work to do, including looking honestly at the issues the protesters are protesting.
All the “us” and “them” stuff just divides us. I’m not sure how that can possibly help us Americans accomplish anything positive.