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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The One Who Stands Out

Hey All.  The summer is almost, but not quite, over.  Not with almost 70% humidity it's not, anyway.

Recently, we've been focusing a lot on an NFL quarterback who decided this year that he would not stand for the national anthem before football games.  And is often the case, the country is divided over this issue.  Those who do not agree with this gesture, like myself, think that it is a disrespectful slap in the face to our honored war dead and law enforcement officers.  Those who do agree return to the continuing refrain that racism and discrimination still abound, and that they cannot respect a country that has not yet eradicated these elements.

Let's start with the basics:

(1)  This is still America.  What this quarterback is doing is protected speech.  He is not breaking any law by refusing to stand for the anthem, and he can't be imprisoned for it.  After all, this is not North Korea.  Patriotism cannot be forced.
(2)  Some people like to stand out.  To be the rebel.  To be the guy who says, "No . . . I'm not wrong for disobeying rules.  The system is wrong for making them."  In all honesty, that's what we do here on the blog.
(3) However, as the alpholes sometimes forget, the fact that you are able to do something doesn't make it right, smart, or necessary.  Being a rebel just for the sake of being a rebel is a waste of everyone's time.  If there is a cause you stand for, and unfairness to fight, it needs to be done in a constructive way, and not a destructive one.

On this blog, we love America.  We are proud of this country and its ideals of freedom and liberty.  We love how the sky is the limit as to how much you can achieve, and I'm not ashamed of this, earn.  Does that make it Utopia?  No it doesn't.  But quite frankly, we believe that America's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

Most importantly, here in the blog, we support respect and emotional maturity.  Mr. Kaepernick is not showing either one.

If he was so concerned with racial injustice, or other issues, he could have used his status as a well-known athlete to make a far more positive impact.  Showing up at protests on his own time, or taping PSA's that support his values might have been a smarter idea.  But using his job to advocate his own personal opinion, which would get many other people fired, is wrong.  It has caused deep divisions not only in the media, but within his sport.

As Bold Betas, we automatically stand out.  Merely by being who we are, we go against the grain.  This sometimes is used for an excuse for bullies to behave the way they do, because that very act of being different is simply intolerable to them.  And the very notion of just letting us be us is far too stifling and boring to even consider.

However, quite a few bullies like to stand out too.  Like the class clown who gets a kick out of interrupting the teacher.  Who bears detention and suspension as badges of honor.  Who loves to put people down to make themselves look better.

Hate to break it to you, as it makes other athletes look bad, but Mr. Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem is in the latter category.  He's just stirring up trouble.  There is nothing constructive or responsible resulting from his conduct.

Aesop's Moral:  

Stand out to blaze a new trail, not merely to block other trails.

Stand out to build something new, not merely to destroy older structures.

Stand out to present a new idea, not merely to mock an older one.

Stand out to praise others' strengths, not merely to judge others' weaknesses.

Stand out to lift the right people up, not merely to put the wrong people down.