I woke up this morning and turned on the news to find the subject hasn’t changed. More and more talk about the NFL and the controversy over kneeling for the anthem and in front of our flag. Psychologists, former players, former military, Constitutional experts, those for the protest and those against, and on and on and on. Uncle! I find myself wishing “Rocket Man” would do or say something. My own opinion is that I don’t like the protest because the sports arena is a place where people want to get away from their worries for a little while, and most of the time pay a lot of money to do so. They want a respite from the politics that has oozed into everything we do or say in this country. I fully believe in our right to protest, to make a change, that is what makes this country so great and unique, but we should do so responsibly in order for the protest to work. I think in this case that it’s disrespectful because of what that flag and song stand for and the result is that it’s turning a lot of Americans off. I am hopeful these same men would go out into the communities to speak to the youth who are killing one another at an alarming rate, and show these young men that with hard work and determination you can become successful because we live in a country that allows us that. I would like to think that they exercise their right to vote to make a change. The man who started all of this, Colin Kaepernick, says that he has never voted, nor registered to vote. So is what he started really about changing things that he doesn’t like, or is what he started all about Colin Kaepernick? Is now all of this kneeling about self or about a greater cause?
I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve stood as the anthem was played or sung at a baseball game. I’ve been doing it for over thirty baseball seasons. As I stand there, I see ballplayers from other countries standing on the field out of respect for a free country that is giving them the privilege to try to succeed at something they love. Many are Venezuelan and after a few months of freedom, have to return home to that country. Could you imagine? My husband had to call one such player into his office and release him from the team this year. The player was a good kid. He played hard for my husband, and it was a difficult thing to have to send him home to a country that is being chewed up and swallowed by Socialism. He asked if he could stay a few more days so that he could buy basic necessities for his family to take with him back to Venezuela. I often wonder about how he is doing along with many others that I know who are from that country. I read a comment on Facebook yesterday that got me to thinking about this kid. Someone commented that they are happy about the protests going on and that soon it would be coming to Major League Baseball. She commented that it is great to see people coming together to fight “oppression.” Well, one guy with the Oakland A’s did kneel this past Saturday. All I could think about was a Venezuelan ballplayer or two standing on that field near the “kneeler” and what they thought about this American’s idea of “oppression.” I imagine they were thinking about the true oppression going on back home in their own country and wondering what in the heck is wrong with this guy who believes he has it so bad. I’m wondering the same. I want to tell this young American ballplayer to get his tail out away from kneeling within the protection of that ballpark and do something constructive out in the world instead of seeking attention for himself. I do understand that bad things happen in America, but we still need to recognize that we are a very fortunate people because of where we live. All of us humans live in an imperfect world where as hard as people may try, they will never be able to create that utopia some crave.
As much as I do love my unique country, as much as I love hearing the anthem sung in a beautiful manner that can bring tears to my eyes, this country and that flag are not something I worship. My liberties are precious, yes, but they are man-made. Nothing man-made is going to be perfect, nothing man-made is going to save me. Above all, my eyes are on the Lord. Above all my ears listen to His song that brings tears to my eyes. My relationship with God through Jesus Christ is unique. My freedom through Christ is greater than any freedom this country can provide. Through Christ one day we will live in a utopia. One day we will all kneel before Him and proclaim Him for Who He is. That is what my hope is wrapped up in, not a flag, not an anthem, not some guy kneeling in protest on a playing field. I will continue to pray that we can try to live together in a more peaceful manner and that we focus more on our Creator than “Old Glory.” The only way we will find the guidance and the answer to making things better here on earth, is taking a knee before the one true God.
Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord.
1 Timothy 2:1-2