I have to say that one of the most compelling battles that I fight on my days off is over-sharing. Not over-sharing about myself but over-sharing items I see in the news. I don't typically cull my news reading from outwardly biased news sources. I try to read honestly. I also try to limit my reading of opinion pieces and focus on factual pieces. But I want to blast the news I read as unilateral truth!
Which is where the problem rises. Especially this last week. The week of the SuperBowl. I actually watched the SuperBowl. More as an anti-Patriot fan than a pro-Eagle fan. As a Denver Bronco transplant in Seattle Seahawk territory, rooting for the Patriots would be akin to torture. So I was mildly interested in seeing the Eagles rise up to defeat the Patriots.
Now, the truth of the matter is that I have not watched football all year long. All. Year. Long. The reason is two-fold.
First, I think the way our political leaders are treating players that follow Colin Kaepernick's example of kneeling during the national anthem is antithetical to American values. Values that uphold peaceful protest. Values that support an educated discourse. Values that say we stand (or kneel) for what we believe in. Values that say everyone is equal.
Well. It is clear that if you are a person of color, the only American values you are allowed is the value of capitalism.
Lest we forget, I want to remind us of the third stanza in the Star Spangled Banner:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Yes. Slavery is embedded in the Star Spangled Banner. Perhaps the more appropriate question is, "Why would a descendant of slavery stand during this song?" Of course, Kaepernick and others kneeled to express sentiments regarding more than this song but it is all inter-related. They have been protesting issues of inequity and systemic racism against people of color.
The President and Vice President have attacked the kneelers as unAmerican.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a rally for Republican senator Luther Strange, who is running in a special election next week to remain in the seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.
This has led to a decrease in viewership and a lack of coverage of the continuing protest. Of which the Philadelphia Eagles are apparently the most "woke" football team, I am told. That makes them worth rooting for in and of itself! It also puts them in stark opposition to the "Patriots" that call their protest unAmerican or anti-flag.
In addition to this respectful, silent protesting by players causing concern, I also find it highly suspect that the person who started it all, Colin Kaepernick, is deemed unhirable by the NFL. There are some pretty suspect quarterbacks playing in the league right now. But no one seems to want to take on the political bombshell that is Kaep. Cowards.
Second, I am really concerned about a sport that has traumatic brain injuries (CTE) on the daily. We have seen people annihilated by CTE. The list is long. I lift up those who lost hope: Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Andre Waters, Ray Easterling, Aaron Hernandez. And I don't know how many others.
It is hard to fully support a sport that leads to death, diminished life expectations, and impacts long-term health in such a severe way. CTE is found in 99% of NFL players that have died and donated their brains to science.
"The disease is pathologically marked by a buildup of abnormal tau protein in the brain that can disable neuropathways and lead to a variety of clinical symptoms. These include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, anxiety, impulse control issues and sometimes suicidal behavior."
This is horrible for people. My grandfather had senile dementia before he died. It is hard to see people go through this. So I have been conflicted about watching a sport that I have long-loved.
So now you know why I haven't watched football until the Superbowl. And truth be told, the only reason I watched it Sunday was because my family was watching it. You see, in my house, we all make our own decisions. 🙂 I was glad to watch it in the end. The Eagles did a great job. They were on point!
However, the T that I wanted to spill all day Sunday and Monday was about events that had little to do with the game.
Before the game started, 17 Black Lives Matters folx were arrested for protesting. Their protests harmed no property and was fairly small.
After the game, "celebrants" in Philadelphia had a wide-spread "celebration" that included looting, fires, and property damage. Three people were arrested.
Let me say it loud: peaceful BLM protesters = 17 arrests. Property damaging Superbowl celebrants = 3 arrests.
That is what I have been wanting to drop as truth on Facebook or everywhere. Because I am totally right. And it all hooks into my first reason for not watching football all year long. We (societal we) are not honoring those who protest in support of black lives matter. In fact, we are making it harder for them.
The temptation is to always be right and to scream it from the rafters.
Which, for means, blasting every article that illustrates white, systemic racism that I see. How can others not see what I so clearly see? But blasting people with truth bombs doesn't actually invite them into transformational dialogue. Psychological research shows that being right is not what leads to allowing others to grow into a new truth.
We should focus on having more active conversations instead of passively sparing with our opposition online. If you have the chance to talk through your arguments with someone else instead of simply reading an argument and pondering your response, you are more likely to change your mind. When people take the time to exchange arguments in the course of a discussion, they tend to adopt better-supported opinions. This has been observed in a great variety of domains, from medical diagnoses to political predictions. In the case of logical or mathematical problems, this happens even if the individual defending the correct answer faces a group that confidently and unanimously agrees on the wrong answer.
The solution to Tuesday's Temptation of blasting unilateral truth? Talking to one another.
My prayer today is that I will be able to engage in dialogue that leaves room for everyone to be fully present.