Peaceful Protest and Titanium Flag

Now that the Super Bowl and football season is over, I have some observations about peaceful protest.

The rending of garments and gnashing of teeth over people taking a knee during the national anthem has grown completely out of hand.

Two things. No, wait, Three things:

One: If a person wishes to protest against injustice, such as police killing black people at an alarming rate, then in order for the peaceful protest to affect any change, the protest must be noticed.

It makes little sense to go to a deserted forest in the middle of the night and scream your views.

However, if you are a public figure, and upset the status quo for a large audience, then your protest gets noticed. Over-analysed, misunderstood, appropriated, and vilified, but the protest gets discussed. That is an effective protest.

By the way, football players are not protesting the flag and the anthem.

How does that make sense? Who on earth would hate a song and swath of material so much they would be willing to incur the wrath of a president? titanium flagThey protest because black lives are in peril.

Wouldn’t it be super awesome we could respect human lives as much as a song and flag?

Two: How strong do we think our flag is?

Doesn’t the flag represent the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Part of that freedom includes speaking up when we see injustice. The flag wants us to protest. Our flag represents freedom of speech. I believe our flag is strong. Stronger than steel or brick.

We have a titanium flag.

Three: Isn’t it time to drop the whole “we’re the greatest country on earth” thing? What does that even mean?

First of all, how can the claim be measured? Also, if there was some way to effectively measure the greatest country on earth that was accepted by the entire planet, I am reasonably sure we wouldn’t be first.

And if we were, what fucking difference does it make? How did that even get to be a goddamn competition in the first place?

Wouldn’t it be better to be known as the most giving country on earth?

The most helpful? The most inclusive? Wouldn’t those things actually be used in a measurement to determine the greatest country on earth? Because we’re failing there.

But no, there are too many people foaming at the mouth because we aren’t willing to walk in lockstep and shout meaningless bullshit about how we are the greatest. Who fucking cares? Or if we could actually use the word “great” and have it mean “great” because they way great gets used in the US today is troubling. Make America great again? I hardly think so.

How many families have you known that constantly put forth the “we are perfect, there is nothing wrong here, you should envy us” vibe when you fucking know their level of dysfunction is breathtaking? You know who is never going to grow or thrive or ever be goddamn happy? The families who care more about appearance than they do about each other or helping each other change and heal and grow. We do this same thing as a country.

How about we just put down our pitchforks and platitudes and stop worrying about everyone knowing that we’re not the greatest. Spoiler: they already know. 

We could just stop, look at each other, and admit we have scary and deep fucking issues.

Until we admit our issues, confront our issues, and own our fucking issues, then we’ll keep squawking like spoiled children over sports figures opinions.

I am frustrated by how ridiculous humans are. I am appalled by my government. I am sickened by the racism and bigotry in the US. And I can say these things because I live in the US and we are free to use our voices. The US is my home and I am happy to live here. There is good about the US, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t on fire right now. I love my home and am sad for the direction we’ve taken.

I am hopeful that we can get on track again.

I have to be.

Silence won’t move us in the right direction.

We don’t grow by asking quietly to stop marginalizing groups of people. Waiting patiently for health care,  clean air, and sustainable wages doesn’t work.

#TakeTheKnee

#BlackLivesMatter

#Resist

 

Photo courtesy of Barbara Rosner.

 

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Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Melinda says:

    What you said. Times three. With stars and underscores, in red, white and blue boldface letters.
    #November2018 #resist #speakwithyourvote

    Reply
  2. Donna says:

    Right, the fuck, on Sistah!

    Reply
  3. Sue says:

    You put into words everything I’ve been thinking. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. YES!!! YES!!! says:

    YES!!! YES!!!

    Reply
  5. Erin says:

    “Or if we could actually use the word “great” and have it mean “great” because they way great gets used in the US today is troubling. Make America great again? I hardly think so.”
    You NAILED it right here. As a country, we are, unfortunately, running in the opposite direction from greatness at this time.

    Reply
  6. catsmeow says:

    Bravo!

    I don’t remember who said it, but they suggested the US could and should aspire to be the “humanitarian superpower”. Is it naive to think that exporting aid rather than bombs might make us great again?

    Reply
  7. Well said. Walking around talking about how great we are all the time seems a little narcissistic, doesn’t it?

    Reply
  8. The whole argument about how it’s disrespectful to service members is BS, anyway. It was a service member who suggested he take a knee, because he originally sat on the bench. A service member reached out and suggested, “Hey, that’s kind of disrespectful, why don’t you try this instead. It’s still not standing and saluting, but it still shows honor to the flag.” So, everyone who’s pissed off has no idea what they’re talking about.

    Reply
  9. mydangblog says:

    Beautifully put. I wish more people thought exactly the way you do. The world would be so much better.

    Reply
  10. Onlyme says:

    Thank you!!! Well said. Very well said!

    Reply
  11. Rebecca says:

    Thank you Michelle! So well said. People in America have the right to speak out when things are wrong no matter who they are. That’s what makes America great. They have a right to be heard and must be listened to. I too am appalled at the direction our country is going and the divisiveness that is going on. Leadership starts at the top and right now it gets more and more corrupt every day. We need more country over party right now.

    Reply
  12. Doug in Oakland says:

    While I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that, for all of its problems, America is still pretty fuckin’ great, you don’t uphold anything’s greatness by trying your damnedest to drag it backward, and that’s what Fergus is trying to do. He wants to be president at the beginning of the cold war, just without having to outsmart the USSR.
    And not addressing your problems here in realityville has well documented consequences, as can be witnessed right this fucking minute in the way the US is just being left behind by other countries who don’t deny their challenges.
    On the other hand, we flipped another statehouse seat, and I just read that the supreme court is likely to strike down partisan gerrymandering next session when they take it up.
    But really, all of the MAGA yawping makes me think of Lewis Black and his take on us always saying we’re the greatest country on Earth: “And that, is a little fucking obnoxious.”
    And the Ani DiFranco poem about 9-11 “Self Evident”:
    “On a morning beatific
    In its Indian summer breeze
    On the day that America
    Fell to its knees
    After strutting around for a century
    Without saying thank you
    Or please ”

    And, of course, that speech from “The Newsroom”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs

    So, no, everyone doesn’t fall in behind the self-serving bullshit we are currently being flooded with. Lots and lots of us are smart enough to know that our fortunes are inextricably entwined with the fortunes of even those we don’t agree with.
    But we need to win. This time, specifically, and next time, and in general.
    I hear a lot of folks who are tired of the partisan bickering, but I feel like they would be even more tired of the consequences of us failing to win.
    Then there is this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlfxkSdvPek

    Reply
  13. Yes – one thousand times to this. It has driven me crazy to hear and read how wrong people are about the NFL kneeling protest. You would think the players were giving the middle finger to the flag instead of kneeling which is an act of reverence. The saddest part is how unwilling we have collectively become…unwilling to listen to a different point of view, to accept that racism is rampant and how people go through this world with experiences completely different than each other which has an impact on personal perspective. I sincerely hope we can pull out of this tail spin we seem to be in.

    Reply
  14. Kate says:

    The silence is killing us. Literally and figuratively. Speaking up and out with words like yours fills me with hope. And change. And hope.

    Reply
  15. Jackie says:

    Great viewpoint. Splattering this all over social media, my friend.

    Reply
  16. Denise says:

    This right here: “Wouldn’t it be super awesome we could respect human lives as much as a song and flag?” Oh. My. Fucking. God. Yes, please!

    I have a friend who’s child just joined the military. She is a rabid flag waiver and patriot these days. I have a kid in Afghanistan. I totally support #takeaknee, and so does he. It is what he is fighting for. Not all this fake patriotism and hysteria.

    This post made my day.

    Reply
  17. “The US is my home and I am happy to live here.”
    That’s the heart of it. You can love something and still see its flaws. You can love something and still want to make it better.
    I remember the early ’90’s when there was a big debate over flag burning and I thought, some people have some really fucked up priorities. And now there’s a debate because some African American men who give themselves concussions for other peoples’ entertainment–who were purposely not told about the risks to their health–are protesting police brutality and some people with fucked up priorities don’t like that.
    It’s even some of the same people.
    I’m tired of having the same sort of argument but glad at least that people like you are speaking up.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I have to. I can’t NOT say something. Randy mostly hates it, though. Not because he doesn’t agree, but because he always worries about me getting abuse. Although, he agrees with this post and didn’t protest at all about the political nature.

      Reply
  18. Lisa K says:

    You know how you get jury duty when you renew your license?
    I’d like this to be part of the consent form.
    At least a signature that you read and agreed to the terms….

    Reply
  19. Shelley says:

    I was going to write this anonymously but who gives a flying fuck. During the Super Bowl, one of my cousins refused to watch the game and went down to the basement to watch something else on TV while his family and friends were upstairs partying. I have this image of the little bigot sitting in the basement all by himself in my head and can’t stop laughing. Great way to protest the NFL.

    Reply