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In This Time... Don't Get Distracted by the Noise

In This Time... Don't Get Distracted by the Noise

In This Time…we have been watching a struggle unfold that has mixed politics with football. In all the noise, we have lost focus on the issue of the original protest..a protesters’ nightmare! Colin Kaepernick originally started this protest to put a spotlight on police brutality against black and brown people. He chose not to stand during the national anthem. One of the freedoms our military fights for is the freedom of expression. There have been many reactions to Kaepernick’s original protest and this year the protest has morphed into something different. Mainly because of 45, and his proclivity for getting involved in issues he does not understand. 45 challenged the NFL to fire anyone who took a knee during the anthem calling it disrespectful the flag and our military with no mention of the freedoms the flag is supposed to represent and which our military fights for every day. We have let the noise distract us from the primary issue that instigated the protests.

there have been all kinds of reactions to the decision to protest by taking a knee. One such reaction came from a military man who had a strong reaction to Kaepernick’s protest and was a catalyst to influencing how Kaepernick continued his protest. Nate Boyer, a Green Beret and former football player wrote a

“…Unfortunately, I also know that racism still exists in our country, as it does in every country on this planet, and I hate that I know that. I hate


Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you're doing it…There are already plenty of people fighting fire with fire, and its just not helping anyone or anything. So, I’m just going to keep listening with an open mind.

I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you. Keep on trying…De Oppresso Liber.”

The motto of U.S. Army Special Forces is “De oppresso liber,” which means to free the oppressed.

According to news reports, this led to the two guys meeting sharing what the protest meant to Kaepernick and what the flag represented to Boyer. They arrived at a compromise of sorts. Boyers shared that soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave to show respect and when they are on patrol when they go into a security halt. So rather than sitting during the anthem, which was how Kaepernick’s protest began, he took a knee.

In This Time… there are so many lessons in this exchange yet we allow ourselves to get caught up in the noise. Kaepernick chose to peacefully protest police brutality. Though angry, Boyers chose to use his freedom of expression to peacefully protest Kaepernick’s actions, leading to a meeting, discussion, and a tactic that was both respectful and impactful without compromising the goal. How many of our issues could we make progress on using this strategy?

In This Time…our major networks have chosen to highlight this situation as a conflict as being between patriotism, and racial justice and police brutality. There are news reports from August 2016, when Kaepernick began his protests sharing this story, completely debunking his protest as anti-military and how taking a knee is respectful of military tradition. Wouldn’t this have been the time to consistently and vociferously share the facts of taking a knee rather than highlighting the perceived conflict? We’ve got to hold our media to a higher standard.

In This Time…45 chose to use sports figures' actions as a strategy to distract us from some key issues in which our nation should be grappling. Racial justice and police brutality, natural disasters and their impact on our citizen brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Texas, Florida and the other regions impacted by hurricanes, preventing a war with North Korea, solid health care policy, pending tax reform legislation, among other priorities are the issues that a president should be spending time and energy. Maybe if we took a page from Boyers and Kaepernick and got together, discussed our issues, shared our common goals and came to reasonable strategies that respect all, we would make real political and social justice progress.

“In all things that are purely social, we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”

Booker T. Washington

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