Thoughts on Kaepernick, Patriotism, Law Enforcement, and Race in the US

I don’t generally post things of a polarizing or contraversay-esque nature on my boards. I tend to focus more on internal development, progress and stay away from opinion editorials; especially on subjects that may ellicit a lot of negative push-back. But something that has come up a lot lately is Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49er’s, and he has certainly caused a ruckus.

If, for some reason, you’ve been under a rock and haven’t seen the plethora of reports lately on the subject, Kaepernick refused to stand during the regulatory playing of our nation’s Anthem during the team’s pre-season games. I don’t watch football, and even I have heard about, followed and read into this particular news nugget.

His reasoning is “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (source: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000691077/article/colin-kaepernick-explains-why-he-sat-during-national-anthem)

His comments referenced the shooting and subsequent killing of various African-American individuals by law enforcement – something which some feel is murder and others view as law enforcement either protecting themselves, others or following approved levels of protocol for actual/potentially violent situations. My opinion on which it is for the sake of this discussion is irrelevant.  His action, or lack of as the case may be, is his form of protest.

Now, there has been plenty of discussion surrounding this, as well as recently his choice to wear socks depicting cartoon styled pig wearing police hats during practices. (source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/49ers/2016/09/01/police-reaction-colin-kaepernick-pig-socks-san-francisco/89715672/) The socks, he’s explained on his personal Instagram, are something he’s been doing for a while and are worn during practice – not during the playing of the game itself – though it’s called into question the NFL’s stance over all on law enforcement when the Dallas Cowboys were denied the ability to wear decals on their helmets in honor of fallen officers and their support of Beyoncé’s Half-Time Performance during last year’s Super Bowl which appeared to be a sort of homage to the Black Panther Movement. Honestly however, if it’s practice than the NFL doesn’t truly have any legs to stand on, as they can wear what they like for practice rounds be it on or off the field. If he tries to wear them during a game, where uniforms are regulated – then it would be comparing apples to apples with the Dallas Cowboys (which, in my opinion, should have been allowed to do what they wished – though I also see the NFL’s stance of being consistent with their requirements for game day rules.)

There have been numerous posts on social media of prior fans, or rival teams fans, burning his jersey in counter-protest to his comments and actions. His patriotism as an American has been called into question. Comments akin to him leaving the country have been rampant in reply.

Which, I understand. But will also rather bother people I think is that I also understand where he is coming from as well. To clarify – I don’t agree with his beliefs or opinions and there are some aspects of things that make me stop and think for a moment about his comments and their similarities to things that all of this racial tension is stirring up – but I understand WHY he’s doing it and in all honestly, more power to him for doing so. He is, though many would hate to agree with this, exercising his right and privilege as a citizen of this country to voice his opinion, protest an injustice he feels is taking place and while using his celebrity and position – do it PEACEFULLY on a national scale to illicit conversation, debate and hopefully POSITIVE change for this country.

There were those that were claiming he was being disrespectful of our country, our flag and those that serve. Sure, I understand and see that point. But I myself never state the words “under God” when I recite our Pledge of Allegiance because I don’t agree with it; it wasn’t how the pledge was originally written and I whole heartedly feel there needs to be separation of church and state as the original Founding Fathers intended. (That is obviously a whole other discussion for another time) but that’s in itself a sort of silent protest – and one that many would claim was disrespectful of our country, and those that serve.

Kaepernick has clarified his stance – in particular surrounding those that serve in our military – during this past weekends game where instead of sitting, he took a knee. (source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/01/sport/nfl-preseason-49ers-chargers-colin-kaepernick-national-anthem/index.html) He means no disrespect to those that have fought and died for his very right to do exactly what he’s doing – and I commend him for that as much as I do his realization that needed to be clarified. Now, the comments I think are interesting are the ones where he states he has two uncles and various friends that are in law enforcement – which to me somewhat harkens to those that get riled up when someone states that they have family/friends who are black. To me, it simply shows how EVERYONE attempts to justify their actions against those that disagree with them and we ALL need to learn something through that.

But, this whole controversy does bring up some excellent and thought provoking points. In addition, I believe more and more of those that agree with Kaepernick will start to do the same as he has – and you can agree or not with their reasons. That is the glory that IS our country.

He can, and should, do exactly what he’s doing. More to the point, he’s literally doing it in a way that is beneficial – it’s peaceful, it’s obviously bringing attention nationally to the issues he wants to shed more light on, and he’s also doing it in part to protect the same said friends and family of his that are in law enforcement from those that would ultimately tarnish and disrespect the profession while hopefully fostering more equal and civil race relations in a country which OBVIOUSLY hasn’t disintegrated racial boundaries are well as it thought it may have through previous generations. There is far too much finger-pointing and lack of responsiblity on BOTH sides of the coin for it to be any one issue or reason – but again, that’s a conversation best left for another topic.

Those yelling for him to be fired – well, you have every right to that opinion, but you certainly don’t have the place to call for it nor should you. In all honesty, by his very action, he’s honoring the ideals that our men and women over the years have fought for – and indeed is doing it in a far greater way then any riots or violent protests would. He shouldn’t lose his job for his beliefs, as he’s not in a position which warrants being impartial. Sure, he may be a role model – but honestly I would FAR rather a children look up to someone willing to do something like this instead of the alternatives we’ve witnessed.

My thoughts are this – there are LEO’s who make mistakes and, given the nature of their profession, the outcomes of those mistakes can be deadly – lest I remind you that can go in EITHER direction. They know this. They accept this. They still go out there and do what we civilians expect of them. There are, as with any profession, a miniscule percentage of officers that are ‘bad’, ‘crooked’, ‘power hungry’. But of the roughly 700,000 officers in this country, we’re talking literally about a handful numerically and again, in this profession the unfortunate side of that is that the other 99.5% of officers, like Kaepernick’s uncles, who ARE doing this job for the right reasons, get painted with a broad and disastrous brush. One that they (the 99.5%) as well would like to eradicate.

We all, regardless race, gender, orientation or religion, have the right to voice our displeasure with the system and we all have the ability and resources to affect change – in either a positive or negative direction. We all can agree that there are aspects within both law enforcement, our racial issues and within certain subcultures that need to be addressed and corrected in a way that will be BENEFICIAL to everyone in question – not one person or group over another. We can also all agree that no one person or group has all the answers. If we did than we wouldn’t continue to be here. But we all need to LISTEN to BOTH sides of the equation before any resolution can be had. Until we do that, no progress can be made in EITHER direction.

I certainly don’t have all the answers either. But what I can say for certain is that the next few years, or even decades, will be a roller coaster and that in many ways, we’re going through a sort of renaissance in this country. One that I can only hope will bring about a more empathetic, positive and genuinely even country – both for those in law enforcement and how they are able to properly do their required jobs with all of its ugliness, trauma and stress, and for race relations so that we can be the nation we espouse ourselves to be. The USA is still the greatest nation in the world, I truly believe that. We have the resources available to make it better – if we take the time to listen.

 

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I Did It! First 10k In The Books….

1:34:36

That was my time for the Inaugural Star Wars – Dark Side 10k at Walt Disney World. This was also my personal first 10k and one that I had been feeling completely unprepared for. It wasn’t necessarily pretty and it was HOT and muggy as is the current climate of Florida. But I started, I finished, and I earned that Tie Fighter medal. I was 745 in my division, 3969 in my gender with 6921 women running and 12172 runners completing the race.

I’ll take it.

Not only will I take it, I have another 5k coming up in June to keep me motivated and not sitting on my butt in the hot and humid summer sun.

I have also started taking full advantage of my YMCA membership and getting into the gym three times a week during lunch breaks to cross-train. Generally legs and lower back one day, light cardio the next and arms and upper body/abs the third. All with a 10 minute attack on the elliptical to get heart rate up.

I’ve seen a lot of offers lately on my Facebook feed for friends that are peddling Plexus and Shakeology. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have P90X and T25 in my arsenal at home for the days where I might want to get something a little extra in (which hasn’t happened in quite come time because, well, LIFE and there are so many things I want to do with my time at home like my dolls and new capital ventures in the works) I’ve even been seeing OrangeTheory quite a bit lately as well and know that will be close to my office soon. But thinking that this way works for my schedule, budget and everything in between.

Now to see what progress I can make in the next year.

6 Weeks and Counting…

End of January I was hit with an upper respiratory infection. Needless to say, wasn’t able to run for a while. Got to again and knew I was running out of time (literally) when not only was my house hit with something, but I for the first time in my life was hit with the flu followed by what can only be walking pneumonia. I’ve gone almost a month without being able to REALLY train for the 10k coming up in April.

Regardless, I will complete it. Even if I have to walk the whole damn thing, I will pound that pavement until I make it mine. Time is irrelevant. I knew a while back that I would be unlikely to maintain a pace to which I was normally accustomed for shorter races. You are going to see this woman cross that finish line and earn that tie-fighter medal!

Training will commence this week. I’m still coughing occasionally and when I do it’s productive, though still pretty deep so I know I need to pace myself.

The Struggle Is Real….

Work. Kids. Family. Finances. FINANCES. Time. Priorities. Love. Partners. Work. School. Exercise. Running. Social Activities. Play dates. Birthday parties. Finances. Personal Time. Hobbies. Yes, the struggle is real. I’ve mentioned it before that time can be tight when you’re a mom, a partner to someone who works night shift, work full time and basically am single mother most of the time. I wonder how I do it all and then realize there are plenty of things I’m unable to get to and have to decide if I can live with that or not. Sometimes that struggle is the worst as I can feel, quite simply, like I’m letting SOMEONE down; be it my children, my partner, my family, my coworkers or worse…myself. Its no wonder that since having my littlest one I’ve not lost the weight that I put on in pregnancy. I saw a post today about Loey Lane, a beauty blogger, plus-sized advocate and general all around bad-ass who talks openly about confidence, acceptance and just being comfortable with yourself. This is something that I realized I’d lost. I push myself so hard to get back to my pre-baby body and loose the gut I’ve gained without realizing or accepting my age, how exactly my body has changed, and where I am NOW.

 

I started running in 2013 as a response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings with the intent to eventually run that race. I had always had the adage that unless my life was in danger, I wasn’t running, and yet here I was signing up for 5k’s and taking great pride and pleasure in improving my per mile minute. I just turned 38. Yes, I’m overweight and weigh the most I have ever in my life. I also have two beautiful children to show for my efforts and the wear and tear my body has experienced. I have horrible eating habits that I have to work to improve. I run, when I can, and push myself to do so when the weather permits (when it’s 90-something in Florida and the feels like due to humidity is upwards of 110, you don’t WANT to go out in that!) Do I wish I wasn’t in this body? Yes…because I feel like I’m letting my partner down. I feel like I’m not attractive anymore and why should they have any interest in this mass of flesh and pudge? But then I remember that love transcends appearance (thankfully) and that when you have it pure it can overcome anything. But there in lies the crux…I can’t accept myself so how can I expect someone else to? In order to be where I want to be, I have to accept me as-is with the idea that I will take steps each day to make improvements for MYSELF.

And this is where the struggle comes in. Mostly this blog is about my Etsy shop, my creations and promotion. But I do want to share that we all have similar struggles in life – money, weight, confidence, acceptance. It was recently pointed out to me that I still seem to have some issue with wrapping my head around two things – 1.) my age and 2.) that I am now, officially,  a professional. Yes, I do have issues with this, particularly #1. I just turned 38 but you’d never know it. I dont look it. I don’t “act” it (and how in the world is one supposed to act any particular age, anyhow?) and I don’t generally -dress- like it because I didn’t have a household growing up that was anything other than blue collar. Now, I don’t dress like I used to – being semi professional and a recovering goth make that pretty easy – though I still tend to gravitate towards all black. But gone are the days of fishnet shirts under tank tops with chunky knee high boots and a cute skirt over more fishnets; replaced with jeans, a tee shirt and flats or sneakers most days.

The struggle comes in accepting who I am NOW instead of who I was or even who I want to be. The irony is I can’t get to be where I want to be until I accept where I am now and embrace it. Maybe that’s why I enjoy painting my dollies so much as well – I have an outlet for that recovering goth that’s not only beautiful, but the whole universe of Monster High in particular is about embracing your “freaky flaws” and being who you are – not what other expect you to be. This while holding on, somewhat, to the innocence and frivolity that is youth. Even funnier still is I’m generally the one to state that age is just a number and that when I get to be the big 4-0 it will be like any other age. I still believe that, but it’s easy to accept this train of thought when you don’t really accept your age to begin with. It’s certainly not a death sentence as many feel it is, but a new chapter – a new decade to explore and grow and adapt to.

I could continue on and on and I may in future posts…but for now I want others to know, even other thirty-something moms trying to hold down the fort without loosing their proverbial minds, that they aren’t alone, there are those of us out there that understand, and the struggle is real—-so don’t fight it. Embrace it.