I hate football. I particularly despise the NFL. I think it is a bloated, money-ruined organization that appeals to the lowest common denominator in humanity. That doesn't mean I think every NFL fan is a scumbag - my Mom is a huge NFL fan, after all, and I think my Mom is pretty awesome. But I still hate the NFL.
I don't give a damn whether an NFL player kneels during the National Anthem. I don't give a damn what anyone does during the National Anthem, whether they stand, sit, kneel, or fall to the floor and convulse. I also don't care what their reason is for whatever they choose to do - whether they are sitting because they're too butt-ass lazy to get up, or because they hate America, or because they're deaf and don't realize the National Anthem is playing. I can't for the life of me understand why so many people DO, in fact, care what other people do during the National Anthem.
A co-worker this week roped me into a conversation about this, expressing the opinion that if NFL players can't be bothered to stand, they should move to another country. I told her I thought that was a stupid opinion and she didn't like that very much. It's stupid because you're suggesting someone should literally immigrate to another country if they won't stand at attention in front of a colorful piece of cloth while a song is played. Honestly, that's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
Whether you approve of kneeling during the anthem or not, and whether you agree that there is racial injustice in this country or not, these guys believe their IS racial injustice in this country, and they are using their platform in the NFL to highlight that injustice by not standing during the National Anthem. Maybe you think they should do it a different way. What way would be appropriate, I wonder? When they march in the streets, you call them thugs and gangs of hoodlums, after all. The reality is, you'd rather they just shut right up.
History shows that mainstream society virtually never supports protests, regardless of subject or form. Majority opinion is always that protesters are basically in the wrong. In time, however, majority opinion frequently changes. A Gallup poll in 1966 showed that something like 63% of Americans had a negative view of Martin Luther King, Jr., and his protests. Today, that number is now 4%. A majority of Americans in the '60s also disapproved of sit-ins and freedom riders. Now those people are regarded as heroes.
I'm not saying Colin Kaepernick (sp?) or anyone else in the NFL is going to be regarded as a hero in the future. I'm just saying that protests are always unpopular ... until they aren't. And yes, BLACK protests are typically even more unpopular than most. White society doesn't like being reminded that black people don't have the same opportunities or advantages as white people.
The Pledge of Allegiance:
This isn't, specifically, in the news right now, but I did see a report that KISS recently stopped their concert to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance - which is clearly intended to be a political statement about patriotism and whatever.
I think the Pledge of Allegiance is sinister in the extreme. It's straight out of some Orwellian nightmare: the sort of thing they'd do in North Korea. I realize most Americans don't think much of it and consider it no more than an act of benign patriotism. But if you actually think about what the Pledge of Allegiance is, and what it stands for, it's pretty disturbing.
In the past, there has been controversy over the pledge because of the words "under God." I couldn't care less about that part of it - although it's worth noting that "under God" wasn't even IN the pledge until added by presidential proclamation in the 1950s, during the Red Scare over atheistic communism.
In any case, I think standing at attention before a colorful piece of cloth, with your hand over your heart, chanting a pledge of allegiance to a government and a nation state, is positively ridiculous. Again, it's like something out of an Orwell novel. Whatever happened to rugged American individualism? I don't know about you, but I believe in being a good citizen of the world and of my country, being a good steward of the earth, and treating others with love and respect, but I don't pledge loyalty to anything but my family and myself. I certainly don't pledge loyalty to a broken country that does more things wrong than it does right. Even if it did EVERYTHING right, I wouldn't be comfortable standing and ritually chanting a pledge of allegiance to it. Most adults aren't often in situations where they are expected to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but anytime I do find myself in such a situation, I don't participate.
I believe that this whole controversy over the NFL and the National Anthem is an example of widespread American idolatry.
Idolatry is typically a term we expect to hear at church when reading the Old Testament. The Hebrews building a golden calf and worshipping it and all that crap.
In this country, the way we treat the flag is nothing short of idolatry, in every sense of the Biblical term. The earliest generations of Christians, in fact, would be HORRIFIED at our traditions in regards to the flag. They literally went to their deaths rather than do the equivalent of pledging allegiance to the flag or standing with their hats off and hands over their heart during the National Anthem.
In their society, it consisted of showing proper respect for the emperor, who, like the flag, was the embodiment of the state, its laws, and its ideals. They refused to do that and were subsequently persecuted, tortured, and sometimes executed. Why did they refuse to do it? Because it represented idolatry. To them, no one and nothing deserved that sort of obedience other than God.
Today's equivalent is the flag and the National Anthem - representing the state, its laws, and its ideals. Standing at attention before the flag and chanting a pledge of allegiance to the state, or listening to the National Anthem, is literally like a religious ritual - a secular rite that everyone is expected to take part in.
You may not agree that there is anything idolatrous in showing respect for the flag or chanting a pledge of allegiance to the state with your hand over your heart. But the earliest Christians would disagree with you. You, in fact, are on the side of the people who persecuted the early Christians for being "bad Romans." I'm sure those people also wondered aloud why Christians "didn't just leave if they hate it so much."
Every few years, the record for the largest mass shooting in U.S. history is broken. Previously, it was Virginia Tech, in 2007. Then it was Orlando, in 2016. Now it's Las Vegas, in 2017. The record has literally been broken 3 times in 10 years. 6 of the 10 largest mass shooting in U.S. history have occurred in that same time frame.
If you think we don't need more laws to address this, you are an asshole. In fact, you're not just an asshole, you are a 10 out of 10 on the asshole range. Yes, I mean you.
Las Vegas is not going to change anything. And the reason why is because so many people - assholes - are profoundly emotionally connected to their belief in the "right to bear arms." They have gulped down the NRA kool-aid and they have been suckered into believing the gun lobby's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. And they've elected leaders who agree with them.
I read a report saying that a country music guitarist, who performed shortly before the shooting in Las Vegas, has come out saying that while he used to be a big 2nd Amendment guy, Las Vegas has changed his mind. You know what? Glad you changed your mind, but you're still an asshole. Know why? Because if it takes experiencing a mass shooting in real life before you have enough empathy and basic human decency to support sensible gun control legislation, you might be an asshole!
I'm glad he's changed his mind, and I'm glad he's using his platform to advertise his change of mind, but he's still an asshole. Instead of being a 10 on the asshole scale, he's maybe moved up to an 8. Short of becoming a full-fledged gun control advocate, however, he will remain an asshole in my book.
As far as I'm concerned, you had a free pass on your views on gun control ... right up until Sandy Hook in 2012. That was the mass shooting where 20 school children were slaughtered at school by a previously law-abiding citizen with legally-obtained guns. If 20 dead school children didn't change your mind, guess what? You're a fucking asshole.
The black bean and rice 3-way at Skyline is significantly better than the original Skyline 3-way. The reason why is because the original Skyline 3-way is just spaghetti with cheese and a funny-tasting, cinnamon-flavored, diarrhea-colored and -textured meat sauce that Skyline mistakenly believes is "chili."