Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#A-TO-Z-CHALLENGE – LETTER “Q” - THE QUAINT NOTION OF UNDERSTANDING THE 1ST AMENDMENT OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION


I've decided that finishing the #A-to-Z-CHALLENGE on my time line isn't such a bad idea after all. This gives me the chance to not only write, or make up some nonsense about my 'hood, but also to take a look at some of the more idiotic nonsense that is going on as regards to peoples' understanding of what the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are all about in this here us. Emphasis on the “us” because I sure as HELL don't recognize this as the country of the U. S., that I was born in anymore.

The latest flap has devolved into what constitutes “patriotism”, I guess, with some people agreeing with Colin Kaepernick and others disagreeing in a very disagreeable fashion with his display of choosing NOT to stand during the National Anthem before a football game. The question is not one of patriotism and Kaepernick should be either supported or ignored, according to others' feelings. I get why he feels this way and I cannot disagree with him. But, for him to have been moved down to back-up quarterback and to be taking all of the abuse he has been given is unforgivable. He is merely stating something that he feels is wrong with our country, a right all of us share and if you don't believe me, read this, the 1st Amendment of our Bill of Rights:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitutions prohibits the making of any law respecting and establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religions, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a government redress of grievances.”

This was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

What Colin is doing is protesting; as is his RIGHT. It is our right to disagree, but not to interfere, nor to demote, nor to say stupid shit, as did Kate Moss, when she said Colin was denigrating a “symbolic song”. It's an “anthem”, meant to rouse a group, a cause, a country, and there is no symbolism in the thing. But, hey, Kate's just a hair-do. Nor is Kid Rock (and I love Kid's music, plus, he's another Michigander) correct in yelling F*ck Colin Kaepernick! during one of his concerts. If he wants to engage Colin in intelligent discourse he should. Kid, you're way smarter than that, I thought.

courtesy: gettyreuters

Colin Kaepernick has been demonstrating since the pre-season, but his message has spread and more and more athletes (not just football players) have joined him in his silent protest against the deaths of many African-Americans to police. In all fairness, many other people have died at the hands of guns: police, whites, Hispanics, children, the elderly. I live in a 'hood where my night-time Lt. regularly comes to my house on a "shots fired" call. I do not advocate for gun-control, but for stricter background checks. All lives DO matter and Kaepernick is taking a huge risk and a brave stand by doing what he is doing to START A DIALOG, not be treated like scum.

We used to have passionate discourse and disagreements in this country on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, and I guess Harold Stassen was along for the ride too, for several elections. People would have some damned heated discussions, but they ultimately led to compromises, or would at some point realize, both sides were unworkable and start over. It's what made us so strong. What kept us so flexible was the knowledge that you could walk out on any street corner, climb up on your soap box and spout just about any gibberish, with the exception of trying to foment the overthrow the government. That worked for YEARS and there's no reason to stop doing it now.

However, we're in this weird Joseph McCarthy-like era, where people are afraid to say what they really think – just look at what Reince Priebus did to his own Republican Party; by having them swear an oath of loyalty to their own party, so that they would support the EVENTUAL nominee. This has never been done in the history of any democracy and it undid the GOP, as everyone HAD to swear their fealty to Trump. No one dared say what they really thought.*


Protests, especially passive ones such as these are meant to foment a dialog. People need to look BEYOND what Colin is doing and question WHY he is doing such a thing. He certainly knows that he is not making himself popular; he's not doing this to be anyone's hero. He is trying to draw attention to a grievous wrong in this country that has just been recycled over and over and over and over and there is no relief in sight of it ending.

All of this hollering about #Blacklivesmatter, #Bluelivesmatter is just that; hollering, but I agree, it needs to be hollered. Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. It's creating nothing but more fear on both sides, and it's a terrible fear.


Before one more person dies on ANY side to any accidental gunshot, we should all ask ourselves, “why is this young man doing this? Why is he so willingly making himself an object of controversy and derision? Why is he making people react this way?” I have an answer. He's forcing us to look at ourselves. By following his own belief that there is a problem and it's a big one I agree, he's hoping he can change other people's minds. He's hoping that maybe in his humble way, he can make us look into our hearts and see if yeah, we're not part of the problem and we take all of this way too cavalierly. He may ruin his future and his career, but by God, he's doing something he believes in. Can you say the same?
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