The Politics of Kneeling

I’m going to do this.  God help me, I’m going to make a political post on my non political blog.

And I may regret doing this tomorrow, because I already know it’s going to prickle at the skin of many people that I know.  But whatever, Neimöller has long taught me otherwise.   That, and, the world means its very self to me, and so I must speak up.  

No one banned the NFL when players took steroids.  No one banned the NFL when they fought dogs.  When they assaulted women.  When they beat their wives.  When they committed murder. 

But, God forbid, a man kneels at a football game, and the nation finds itself in uproar. 

I don’t understand.  

Our nation is our constitution.  Our constitution is our amendments.  Our amendments, the first in particular, guarantee the freedom of speech.  And I, for one, think this is a beautiful, peaceful way of protesting.  

Because, you see, these people aren’t standing against America.  They are kneeling for an America that they know holds the potential to be a thousand times better than what it is.  

When did standing [kneeling] for equality become wrong?  I am, to be perfectly frank, insanely confused by this.  I don’t understand the logic.  All I see is a myriad of fearful people revolting against the most honest of convictions.  

We owe it to ourselves to be better.  Kneeling during the anthem isn’t protesting the flag.  It isn’t disrespectful.  It’s making a statement.  A statement that America is fucking beautiful and so much so much better than what we have been up until this point.  It’s declaring, not only that we should be better, but that we must be better, and we can be better.  Because the amendments promise change, and we have always been a nation of growth.  Why would that shift now?  

I love America.  I love this country.  I want it to be the greatest representation of majesty, equality, liberty, that the world has ever seen.  But it cannot become that if we don’t change our mindsets and our approach. 

To the NFL, kneel away.  

To the rest of you, don’t you see these men are praying?  Don’t you see they are taking precious moments to ask their God, whomever he may be, to grant them peace and promise?  Or have you forgotten what it means to pray?  Did you forget those lessons, late at night, at the edge of your bed, tiny palms pressed against the quilted covers?  Knees digging into hardwood floors?  This is how we pray for change.  For love.  For beauty. 

Do not forget where you came from.  Do not create divides between the us and them.  There is no divide between the things that make us human.  

Calm your raging hearts, for just a moment.  Remember what it means to live in love.  It’s okay.  Genuinely, honestly, it’s okay.  Let the people protest in their peaceful ways.  Let it be.  If you will not kneel beside them, then please, at least, let it be.  

But I for one will kneel.  Because I know what things like hurt feel like.  I know how it feels when a nation turns its back against your plight.  I know the feeling intimately, in fact, despite the privilege I possess.  Because I also possess my womanhood.  And I know these moments of injustice.  And, if you have not had the chance to greet them, consider yourself lucky.  I’m not playing “snowflake.”  I’m not asking for “safe spaces.”  I am asking you to listen.  Quiet yourselves and just listen.  I will do the same in turn.

If sons of bitches means a man courageous enough to risk the entirety of his career on something he believes in, then call me a son of a bitch too, while you’re at it.  I’ll wear the title with pride.  

I will not stand in fear.  But I will kneel in love.  In solidarity.  In the knowledge that this great country has great leaps to make.    This is America my friends.  This is everything. 

*If you disagree with my words here, please do so with civility and compassion.  I believe that I have spoken with such, I would ask you to, in turn, do so as well.  Let’s have a conversation, not an argument.  Let’s discuss, not wage war.  I am growing weary of the fighting, but that does not mean I am not willing to talk.

22 thoughts on “The Politics of Kneeling

    1. In the end, those we don’t stand for will not be around when we need someone to stand for us. If we watch the world burn, what will there be left of it? So many place their priorities in all the wrong things. I know I do too at times. It takes community, and moments like this, to remind us of that. Be well. And thank you for your words.

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  1. I was there and saw the civil rights protests and the protests against the draft and the war in the 60’s. I saw the tear gas and the violence. These kneeling at football game “protests” are extremely “tame” by any measure. I do not understand the vitriol they inspire in some people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s fear, mostly. I know because I was there once, in my younger, less loving days. Fortunately I learned to meet people, different from myself. And when that happens, you gain empathy, compassion, and an appreciation for suffering that others have endured. We only have each other, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well put, Shayleene. My first thought when I saw the pix of teams kneeling, was about prayer, too. We kneel before God and to me, this seemed like a plea for justice, love and mercy.
    And you know, it’s just the Rage du Jour…next week it’ll be something else in the ego’s need for drama.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. YES!!! I love this post. You have expressed this so well and the think I love best is how you have put it into perspective. As I am not American I cannot comment on the whole constitutional rights thing but peaceful protest is something worth defending and you have done this so well here.

    Liked by 1 person

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