Sit, Stand, And Pay Attention
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Politics and Activism

Sit, Stand, And Pay Attention

Start focusing on the reasons why people refuse to stand rather then the fact that they aren't standing.

Sit, Stand, And Pay Attention

The “Star Spangled Banner” was named our National Anthem in 1931 and was played before baseball games throughout WWII. Patriotism was high during this time and so the song was played and celebrated before most of the games. It was two decades later, however, that the national anthem actually became a routine to be played before sporting events, starting with baseball and being followed by other sports.

Nothing says we have to stand, nothing is forcing us to, and in fact we may have become numb to the reason why we stand. We stand to show pride in our country, to show support for fallen soldiers, and to show our patriotism. But it is an unspoken duty, for Americans to act a certain way during the anthem, when then flag is being flown. We all stand, face the flag, put our hands over our hearts, and stay silent.

It all started with Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who decided to sit peacefully during the national anthem to raise awareness and create change for oppressed people of color. This is a protest that is silent, peaceful, and yet we chose to ignore the reason why it was being done. Instead, Kaepernick has received death threats for his actions. I do not agree with him, when the national anthem is played, you stand, period. But, what is sad to me is the fact that he did this for a reason and yet all we can focus on is that some athlete did not stand during the patriotic song.

His demonstration was mimicked by other athletes, and not just black ones. Megan Rapinoe, a white, female soccer player, did not stand for the national anthem played before her match either. She did this in support of Kaepernick, and she told CNN Wire (News Channel 3), “We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.”

The fact of the matter is that we need to change. They are doing this for a reason, even if it is the wrong way to protest, even if it angers you to see someone not standing for this country. To be honest, this country is falling apart. This year, there have been more murders in Chicago alone than both New York and Los Angeles combined. Kaepernick sits, we get angry, and another black man is shot while reading a book.

This is why he sits; this is why we must pay attention. Yes, he should stand for his country’s flag and national anthem, but when that country cannot even keep its citizens safe, when police continue to fire guns at people unarmed, when neighborhoods are becoming more and more dangerous, we need to do something. It doesn’t matter if he is sitting if this country has nothing good to stand for. I am not saying it is bad everywhere, or that all police are bad, or that black people are the only ones getting killed, but if we are going to be so serious about the national anthem, then we should be serious about the Pledge of Allegiance, and that states, “One Nation.”

We are one, we are the people of the United States of America, it doesn’t matter our skin color, our religious beliefs, or any other nonsense. We are one.

We need to start caring about each other, not getting offended at every little thing someone else does. We need to start looking out and protecting one another. We need to actually focus on the reason why these athletes are taking a stand and not standing, and not overreact to the fact that they are sitting during our countries anthem.

Are we so focused on the fact that they are sitting because we do not want to focus on the fact that we do have a problem, that something needs to be done or else there is going to be an all out war? People are offended, I get that. Almost everyone has a brother, sister, father, son, daughter, mother, or someone fighting for us in another country. But a lot of them support Kaepernick; they are fighting for our rights, to keep us free and to allow us the freedom of speech. They are fighting to keep our country great, if we can still call it that. What we must do now, is fight too. Fight for everyone’s freedoms, fight for every person to be equal, to be safe, and to be able to stand proudly for that flag.

I will always stand for my flag and national anthem, but I think it is time we start focusing on the reasons WHY someone refuses to stand rather than the fact that they will not stand.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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