Vail Daily column: Sit or stand, makes no difference to me
September 12, 2016
It was hard not to notice at last Friday's Battle Mountain Husky football game that every player on the field was standing during the national anthem.
Then again, the only reason we all seemed to notice in the first place was because of the political antics of the quarterback from San Francisco.
I'm having a hard time understanding how one stands for something by sitting down, unless the purpose is to shock and belittle all those who remain standing.
If that is indeed the objective, I fail to see how insulting a vast majority could possibly be an impetus of positive change.
If so, perhaps Donald Trump is on to something.
Yet, just like The Donald, I believe this is more about opportunities for publicity than right vs. wrong.
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Not because of the pro athlete's lack of intended substance, as the more I read the more I am convinced the man truly believes that by starting a personal crusade he can become the poster boy for a sweeping movement to resolve all social injustices nationwide.
Yet his sensational actions only seem to exploit a perceived cause that few seem to grasp.
What is he actually protesting?
What social wrongs does sitting for the national anthem bring awareness to that we, as a nation, are not already painfully aware?
How does sitting change anything?
On the other hand, all protests are a political statement to some degree, and tens of thousands of Americans have lost their lives in order for protesters to have the "freedom" to protest, so I fully support everyone's right to do so.
Besides, it's been around 50 years since Ali was banned from boxing for his stance against the Vietnam War and sit-ins were popular on college campuses, and we still witness filibusters in Congress for all the good it does.
Then again, we're Americans, being offended is what we do, but at least this form of protest is peaceful. It's not physically or verbally attacking anyone nor is it attempting to force anything down anyone's throat like say, religion.
But it sure is annoying during a game.
Pan the camera up into any of the NFL stands last Sunday and you see hundreds not standing or paying any attention during the anthem whatsoever.
Stand up, sit down, put your hand over your heart, both hands behind your back, look at a flag, hold a flag, take off your hat, wear your hat, sing, take a swig of your beer, laugh, cry, whatever, I don't care.
Doing any of the above proves not one iota of patriotism of lack thereof any more than wearing baggy pants low on your hips while walking down Bridge Street makes you a snowboarder.
Just like Pokemon GO is now Pokemon WENT, kneeling during the anthem or wearing the latest "I support fill-in-the-blank" wristband will fade as all fads eventually do, and that's exactly what this is.
Having a publicist put out a statement, locking arms as a team and throwing tax-deductible money at social unfairness and perceived oppression will result in attention, but will not actually change anything other than opinions about individuals.
Create a foundation, go on the talk-show circuit (during the off season), travel to poor neighborhoods and teach young kids to read and write. Use your education for something other than a rallying cry for more division, as that's the last thing this nation needs.
Oh, and more Trumps, we don't need any more of those either.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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