The Pittsburgh Penguins accepted an invitation to visit the White House. As it should be. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup and earned a visit to the house inhabited by every President since Thomas Jefferson. Politics don’t matter. The Penguins politics don’t matter. Good for them.
Alejandro Villanueva stood proudly for the National Anthem, Sunday. As it should be. The hulking left tackle risked his life for our freedom to act like spoiled children and exercise rights listed in a constitution we often quote but haven’t read.
Yes, I’m worn out. I’m mad that no one is allowed to enjoy anything without either side of the political spectrum throwing a temper tantrum. Everyone, chill out.
At some point, this feels like a fight with my younger brother, when my parents would send us to our rooms despite our protests–“But he…!”. Someone, please be the bigger person here. Someone, please take that step forward. Someone please, for all that is holy and all that this country has achieved, all that it has done for the advancement of humanity and all of the lives we have saved from tyranny, oppression, and poverty, please take a deep breath.
Reach out to someone who is diametrically opposed and listen. Then talk. Then listen. Read more. Read both sides.
I had a nasty exchange with my friend, Mark Lazerus (Chicago Sun-Times) over police brutality, this weekend. Today, I regret it. He’s my friend. But that’s where we are at, today. Instead of discussing solutions, we argued different realities, both armed with statistics and facts. That makes me a hypocrite for writing this article, too.
And I’m sorry.
It was a political weekend. Hell, everything is political in this era. Every thought, every word, is political. From the bathrooms we use to the food we eat are judged by inserting politics. We no longer have opinions, we have moral obligations to correct and shame anyone who steps out of line.
Let’s be clear: We’ve gone too far. We’re making our problems worse, not better because we can’t talk to each other.
Even support for public servants such as police officers has a racial tone.
There have been several awful incidents of unarmed black men dying at the hands of police officers, including Deravis Rogers in Atlanta. In fact, simply google “unarmed man shot by police” and there are pages of stories.
The shootings happened during a Democrat presidency and continue during a Republican presidency. This isn’t a Republican-Democrat thing. I also believe statistics show this isn’t even a white-black thing (Whites are the victim of a police shooting at the same rate commensurate with white violent crime rates, just as other racial groups are proportionally victimized at the violent crime rate in their communities, according to Washington Post statistics. In full disclosure, the WaPo came to a different conclusion because 24% of victims of police shootings are black, despite accounting for 13% of the population. Articles linked at the bottom).
We should know what is happening and why, but I also refuse to accept moral direction from an athlete who wears a murderous, communist dictator on his T-shirt as a symbol of being “woke”.
As adults, let’s discuss what we expect of police officers, why these incidents occurred and what we can realistically do to help. Doesn’t that seem a better solution than yelling slogans and kneeling during a solemn moment of unity; the National Anthem?
I’m not writing you can’t protest–I am writing there are better ways.
By kneeling during the Anthem, it’s symbolically removing yourself from the country which needs your help. It also leads more people to remove themselves and fans the flames of anger. Have the protests helped or hurt? You be the judge.
And someone please, for the love of God, stop our President from tweeting. You’re in the White House, not a Trump Tower reality show, kiddo. We look to our President for guidance and leadership in times of turmoil. We’ve got a chubby despot firing missiles over Japan and arming himself with nukes. We’ve got barbarians at the gate who are using social media to coordinate attacks to kill innocent civilians around the world because those civilians don’t follow the same interpretation of Islam, or have a different religious belief. And we are tearing ourselves apart.
I stand for the inalienable rights of every man, woman, and child in the United States and around the world. I think 99% of us do the same. I will not tolerate, participate in or stand silent if any person has their rights infringed. Period. However, I don’t care if you voted for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson or Donald Duck. It is irrelevant to the conversation.
We can stand together and discuss where rights are being infringed. Let’s stop shouting and condemning others.
I’m sick of politics. Sports used to bring us together. I want to watch sports, again. And talk about important problems, but not at the same time. We need some common ground. Maybe you feel the same.
I respect your opinions. Leave them below. Please keep it civil–that’s the whole point of the column.
Feel free to read both. Then take a deep breath. It ain’t easy. But we must. That includes me, too.