Me, You, Colin Kaepernick and Commitment

Someone remarked that their church’s attendance was up and down, “up in the mountains or down at the beach.”  Labor Day is that last break before summer’s end, one last respite for teachers, students, and parents, and everyone else who wants a get-a-way. Labor Day is a celebration of how we all shoulder the load in our respective ways to keep the wheels of life in motion. It’s a day to take a break and relax as a reward. God has given us specific gifts that are needed, holiday or not. We should all contribute to the common good, if we will. It takes commitment.

Too often I am a person of divided allegiances. I’m no Colin Kaepernick who will only stand for the National Anthem when he feels that the country has done its part for him or others that have suffered injustice. Certainly, our flag has stood on the side of oppression many times, and I must admit that when I stand at Rotary and pledge allegiance to the flag, I have often hesitated on the line that says, “with liberty and justice for all.” I know full well that justice can sometimes be bought with expensive lawyers that the poor can’t afford. Nevertheless, it’s our flag, and I’ll keep standing for our national anthem and pledge allegiance.

A clergy friend wrote his Master’s thesis on how long it took the South to start celebrating July 4th after the Civil War. His research concluded that it took years and years of healing to make it a truly national holiday again. For instance, when the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi surrendered to the Union on July 4, 1863, it took 81 years before it celebrated the Fourth of July again. Truth be told, every national symbol has been treated with contempt at one time or another. The flag has been both burned, and used as an instrument of injustice, but I don’t think that I have the moral rectitude to denigrate it and be ungrateful. For all our faults, there has been much more good that the U.S. has done, and the world is better for it.

That flag represents us all, for good or ill. Think about Native Americans and how poorly they have been treated by the government, yet they are staunchly supportive of the U.S. The Department of Defense has said that if the rest of the population had enlisted in WWII at the same rate as Native Americans there would have been no need of a draft. It is common knowledge that Native Americans, per capita, have served in the U.S. military more than any other ethnic group. That’s been a fact throughout U.S. history, and it’s true even now. Consider that the Native American population of the U.S. is .8% of the entire amount, but the number of American Indians in the military is 1.7%!

Citizenship requires commitment and some people, like Native Peoples, know that better than most. To change the things that are unjust takes being involved. This is especially true in an election year when many people are tempted not to vote for either major party’s candidate. Commitment is a supreme virtue especially when we live in times like ours. It’s not a time to sit down, but to stand up and do the right thing. If you want to change the system, you don’t do it from the sideline, you get involved.

I think, therefore, that Colin Kaepernick can accomplish more by standing and singing the National Anthem than by sitting down. He can push for change from a position of commitment rather than apparent disloyalty. As it has been said, “America: Love it or Leave it.” At his salary he can do a lot to defeat injustice. He has a 6 year $114,000,000 salary with a $12,328,766 signing bonus, $61,000,000 guaranteed no matter what happens, meaning that he has an average annual salary of $19,000,000. Pretty sweet deal.

Commitment needs to be consistent to mean anything. The Sports Section of a local newspaper carried the recent news of former South Carolina QB Connor Shaw’s broken leg while playing a preseason game for the Chicago bears. He is the epitome of consistent commitment. A friend pointed out something askew in the article that came from a fellow player and Carolina alum. Pardon the language, but pick up on the inconsistency. The player said, “It’s a tough break, man. He was having a hell of a camp. He was doing a hell of a job out there … I told him ‘Damn, I hate it for you. Just keep the faith. Just trust in the process with God.’”

Hmmm… expletives mixed with God? I guess we all have consistency problems, not just Colin Kaepernick, but me, too, all of us, maybe! On another football note, a friend sent me this recently, “Just have to share. A friend of mine has two tickets for the 2017 Super Bowl. Box seats plus airfares and hotel accommodation, but he didn’t realize when he bought them that this was going to be on the same day as his wedding – so he can’t go. If you’re interested and want to go instead of him, it’s at St. Peter’s Church in New York City at 5 pm. Her name’s Brenda. She will be the one in the white dress.” Commitment? We all have work to do, don’t we?

Kaepernick Photo

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10 thoughts on “Me, You, Colin Kaepernick and Commitment

  1. Mr. Kaepernick is free to do as he pleases because of others who made that freedom possible. Can not see where he has put any skin in that game. Looks like he just wants some cheap attention. If he really wants to make a statement… let him forego his paycheck as he stands in solidarity with the victims of income inequality. Or, let him use that money to lift up teachers/schools in areas of this nation that are mired in abject poverty.

    Understand that some object to any criticism of his actions. They bristle at the idea that he should suffer any repercussions for his overtly political gesture. Just thinking out loud… but when a president enters a room, everyone by custom is supposed to rise. Suppose folks stood up when the current president entered a room… and then turned their backs to him. Wonder what would be the reaction? Don’t suppose it would be seen as a legitimate exercise of 1st Amendment rights. Might even be seen a rude.

    1. I agree. It’s his right and privilege, but very insensitive to those who have been in the trenches. tim

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      On Aug 31, 2016, at 6:57 AM, A Potter's View wrote:

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  2. I agree with this column and to not stand for the National Anthem is a dishonor to all if you are a citizen of the USA.
    How do you think a disabled US veteran feels who has lost his legs and can’t stand? when a spoiled professional athlete acts like this. Fortunately he is only one for now that apparently shows this kind of lack of respect that gave him the right to make a living doing what others feel is fun….playing football.. If he is after attention he got it and he better hope his sponsors don’t turn on him like other sponsors have done. Some people don’t have a clue on how to be humble and thankful.

  3. Seldom do I reply to blogs, tweets, facebook postings, or any other social media – it’s just not my style.

    However, I appreciate the comments I have read. I served twenty-seven years, active duty, in the United States Marine Corps, both as enlisted (13 years) and officer (14 years). I find it absolutely reprehensible for a young man who makes millions of dollars playing a game, to have the audacity to be as rude and immature and show his behind to the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have served, in order that he can whine and moan about how bad our country is in its social and economic situation. Do we have a long ways to go in order to have “full liberty and justice for all”? Certainly. But excuse me, Mr. Kaepernick – how about you putting down your millions-of-dollars salary to strut your stuff up and down the football field, throwing a football – and put your money where your mouth is and go over to Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria and lie in the mud and sweat in the desert heat for a six to eight month tour; then, come back and tell us what the flag means to you when dozens of Marines and Soldiers all around you have given up their lives to your right and left, so that you might live, come home to this “terrible country” and enjoy the freedoms they gave their lives for – about it?! That’s my three cents (had more than two to give!).

    Terry A. Roof
    CWO4, USMC (Ret.)
    Elder, United Methodist Church, South Carolina Conference

    1. Preach, Terry! Thanks, tim

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      On Aug 31, 2016, at 4:17 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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      1. Wow, Thanks, tim

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        On Sep 6, 2016, at 4:17 PM, A Potter's View wrote:

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    2. Kaepernick needs to leave America and set up residency in Syria. He needs to stop being a little momma’s boy and stand up and be a man for once in his life.

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