Updated: Jan 22
NOTE: This goes back to the opening week of the NFL season in 2020 and refers to the kneeling during the National Anthem issue we still see. Enjoy.
We all know the old physics expression, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It is basic science, if you push anything too hard it’ll come back just as hard. This works just as well in society as it does in physics.
This brings us to recent times. With the political and social strife happening around our country, we all need to not get lost in the extremism of it all. We need to remember a few simple rules.
1- Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
2- If you tell someone not to do something, that is the first thing they are going to do.
3- If someone is looking for attention in a negative way, don’t give them that attention.
Doesn’t this sound so easy? It really is. Teachers across this country and all over the world tell this to small children and they seem to grasp it. And yet, here we sit and all of these “educated” and “civilized” adults break these rules every day.
Let’s take these three incredibly simple rules and apply them to a very divisive topic, kneeling for the National Anthem before a sporting event. And watch this, i will apply it to both sides of the argument. Let’s go rule by rule shall we:
Rule 1: Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction
Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the National Anthem before every game he participated in. He did this to protest police brutality. It was all over the place. You couldn’t avoid it. It was on political shows, sports talk shows, and even local news. It was an incredibly controversial move. Nobody can deny that.
Let’s pause for a second. I’ll just give my opinion on the matter real quick. I choose to stand for the National Anthem. I do this because both my grandfathers were in the military, I have a very good friend who was in the National Guard and my father was a first responder for over 30 years. That is my choice and i’d like think that is what my grandfathers fought for. My right to choose what i want to do. That is why I am not bothered by people kneeling during the anthem.
Back to the rule.
After Kaepernick did this, the country exploded in two directions. Those who supported his move, and those who despised him for the move.
Those who hated the move were the most vocal. They screamed and yelled all over the place “Kaepernick hates America!” “He’s hates the veterans!” “He’s scum!” We heard this for months in the very conservative world of professional football. Looking at it objectively, did screaming these things do anything? No, it just pushed him further and further. To the point he was wearing t-shirts supporting Fidel Castro. Which then pushed his haters even further the other way. See where I’m going here? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Makes you think about how you react to things doesn’t it?
It gets even simpler as we go on here. Let’s move to the second rule.
Rule 2: If You Tell Someone Not to Do Something, That is the First Thing They Are Going to Do
So, how did the National Football League respond to their conservative base screaming about Kaepernick? They made it mandatory to stand for the anthem, started fining those that didn’t and the networks stopped showing the anthem. Hindsight is 20/20 but, did that work? Here we are today and it is more prevalent than ever. Even entering other sports and aspects of our lives. That is pretty obvious, even to a blind guy like myself.
Have a look from the other side. The kneelers and more liberal folks in the media have been shrieking for years “It is these players right to protest!” “They have a platform, and something to say!” “You can’t silence these players!” Well, here we go again. What did the conservatives do? Tried boycotting sports leagues, kept silencing the protests, continued to not show the anthem. You told them not to do it, and what did they do? They did it. This all goes back to my first rule as well, you tell them not to do something extreme, they do it.
Honestly, this is human nature. We were all teenagers and rebelled at some point. Someone telling you not to do something, or that you can’t do something is one of the biggest motivators for people. So why don’t we realize this and stop telling people they can’t do something they clearly can, and will do.
Rule 3: If Someone is Looking for Attention in a Negative Way, Don’t Give Them that Attention
Ah here we are. A rule we have all broken and will continue to break because it is quite difficult to follow in the moment. I remember when i was a youngling who experienced a tad bit of bullying, my mom told me to ignore the bullies and they’ll stop. I think we’ve all heard that one. That is a logical response to something that is perceived as negative actions.
Let’s apply this to the kneeling issue shall we. Again we come back to it, how did the conservatives react to all of the displays of unity that they perceived as negative? Look at last Thursday’s football game in Kansas City. The players came together for a “show of unity” at midfield. The clearly more conservative fans showered it with boos.
If these fans perceive this “show of unity” as negative, then they should have just sat on their hands and not said a word. By booing, they gave the players, and the liberals who were very excited about this, exactly what they were looking for, attention.
As for those liberals who responded with hate filled responses to those who booed, they just fell right into the same trap. The conservatives got the attention they were looking for.
Both sides are responding to actions they perceive as negative, by giving the other side the attention they are looking for. Not only have both sides done it, they keep doing it. It is the definition of insanity here folks. Repeating the same actions over and over again expecting different results.
All we need to do in this country is follow these three very simple rules, and we will be a lot better off. Now, it isn’t going to fix the very obvious problems we have, but it will make it a hell of a lot easier to have discussions about them.
Now, i’m just a simple gym teacher, so nobody will take my advice, which is fine. But years from now, you all will be sitting around wondering why our country is still dealing with the same issues we have been dealing with for hundreds of years.