I am sure you are all aware of the political circus cruising around the NFL like a virus in a retirement home? The reason for this, in my opinion, has little to do with our American flag. In fact, I consider the flag to be the “fall-guy” for a very real situation occurring in the United States. What do you do when you have a very dedicated military veteran and his family and friends who are passionate about the flag and what they believe it stands for, against another family who has lost someone close to them due to racially targeted police brutality they believe is rampant in our country? Well, what you have is a never-ending war against each other between two parties of people emotionally ignorant of the other’s pain because of their own painful loss. Not because both reasons aren’t justified, but because both have experienced what real terror is and both are trying to make their situation better. So, we are faced with what seems to be escalating racial tensions at a time when race relations should be getting better.
So, what has happened and how do we fix it? Does kneeling for the National Anthem really do anything to improve the situation? In fact, to a certain degree we have lost sight of what the original intent of the protests were for. We have moved from protesting racially targeted police brutality to showing solidarity against our president’s goofy tweets. But let’s put that aside for a moment and get back to the real issue. The opinions of both sides of the fight will be difficult to change. To be honest, if you really took the time to understand both perspectives, you would probably not blame either of them for reacting the way they are?
I have had many family members fight in wars. They would tell me there is no description for it. My grandpa always said, “I wish people knew the reason why we still have this country. If they knew the real evil out there, they would lay the red carpet out for every soldier arriving back in the United States. They would cherish the flag and it’s meaning above all else.” Now I don’t know what war looks like myself and I hope I never will, but I do know that many hold our flag as a very emotional symbol representing what they and others have fought and died for. I’d be ignorant if I didn’t understand that. Wouldn’t you if you had friends die by your side protecting the flag people are supposedly “disrespecting” now? Hell, we even had children’s game (Capture the Flag) to establish how important a flag was. Bottom-line, most of the people kneeling in the NFL have not fought in a war to protect our country and can’t relate to the emotions involved with the American flag. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Patriotism is a key part of the fabric of our country.
However, now let’s talk about the other side. This side, which I have learned to better understand, is the side that is most difficult for many to understand and it is, in fact, despised by many Americans. The kneeling during the anthem was a movement started by Colin Kaepernick in reaction to the abuse of law enforcement in predominantly black low income areas. I want to say first and foremost; police brutality is real. If you don’t believe it, find some friends from the Hood and ask them what their experiences were with the police. I have had close friends tell me they witnessed family members get shot and killed by the police or get harassed for no reason. How can I have the right to tell them kneeling is wrong when I have never lost anyone in a police shooting? It is their right as Americans to protest what they believe our government has seemingly ignored. In those predominantly black areas, the police are viewed as bullies and not protectors of the land. If this is real or even if a large percent of the population believe it to be real, then our government should make drastic changes, don’t you think? I mean, that’s what I would do if I saw a problem big enough to disrupt an act of pride in our “PROUD NATION!”
Some would argue that more whites are shot and killed by police than blacks. And they would be right. In fact, the Washington Post has been collecting data since 2015 on police killings. Would you be surprised to know that in 2017 alone, as of 9/26/17, there have been 730 police related killings. Of those, 326 were white, 165 were black, 112 were Hispanic with the remaining unknown or other. Given that about 12 percent of the population is black, the fact that 22% of the killings were black might suggest there is some merit to the protestor’s argument.
Overall, what we can take from this is that neither side will back down and both sides have reason to be doing what they are doing. The sooner we all realize why both sides won’t back down, the sooner we can bring both sides together. Remember, most everyone has lost someone and it usually is the reason why people get so emotional on topics such as this.
Holy shit, people are getting so hysterical nowadays. It seems so many people think our country is in crisis and may possibly be doomed? Look online, so many people think this world is completely fucked. We have a crazy president... our democracy is in turmoil… we are going to be nuked…. All I can say is that it is time to take a breath America. It is time to work together and not fight each other constantly. Our media, pop-culture, and political pundits have made so much crazy noise to make us hate each other more. I look at all this chaos and I can’t help but laugh. It’s not all real. It’s hype, propaganda, hyperbole… whatever terms you want to choose… Have we forgotten that we are humans? We are supposed to think issues and situations through to create rational solutions together. We don’t just keep forcing the same stuff down each other’s throats and then scream at each other in response!
Has anyone ever asked why so many people in our country painfully refuse to compromise? I get it, some of you bleed blue or red, but come on. I mean it is such a shame when your political representatives refuse to even talk with those on the other side of the table. Talk about awful role models. It can’t be that hard to find a home in social and political neutrality. I have had several conversations with people from all walks of life and we all can’t be the only people who understand that “our opinions are not the only right ones.” Although I have several political differences with many of my peers, we get along. Not only do we get along, but we make great compromises! We do so by trying to understand the other’s perspective and not just our own. Compromises have allowed us to work better than we could have ever imagined doing the things our own way!
I can’t be the only person who can see why a guy like me growing up upper middle class in a suburb can’t ever speak for someone growing up in near poverty hood. I have never lived the way they have so how can I ever judge them for their political views or religious views? Or how could I ever force them to live their life my way. We have lived in two completely different realities. However, by talking with them and getting to know and understand why they are who they are, I became close to many of these people. I was fascinated in finding the differences between our lifestyles and upbringing. Once I sat down and learned what their problems were, I started thinking more “How could we solve the issues together?” rather than “That sucks for them.” All because I generally cared about what they thought and how we could help each other out.
We need to learn to listen. Do you hear me? Learn to listen and care and maybe some of you will stop thinking the world is going to end. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.“ You may disagree with someone else’s ideas, but you need to be able to understand and sympathize with the other person and not just mock them. “We the People,” have the power to move forward from ancient political practices and social upheaval. Grow the Hell up America. I am sick of not moving forward because of the culturally ignorant. Especially when the culturally ignorant are not the majority of this country!
Throughout our history, inventions have been created to make our lives easier. It seems we are always evolving and trying to make our lives less complicated and more effortless. So, almost every time we, as a human being, have experienced something tedious and/or difficult to do or overcome, we have created something to make it easier to manage and complete. Our history would seem to indicate that the world believes an easier life is a happy life. To be honest, I fall victim, like everyone else, to being a fan of making life easier. But my questions to you are, “Is there a limit to making life easier? And, is it possible for people to be controlled and even eliminated purely by their cravings of convenience?”
How many times have you complained about having to do something. Not necessarily because you think the chore is difficult, but because you believe it is tedious? If I were to tell you I have something to make that tedious chore go away or be done in half the time, would it excite you? Well if it would, then I accuse you of being guilty of the plague that is killing the American Spirit! Why do we get so excited when chores are made easier for us? Most would say it is because their personal time is too valuable and they crave more of it. Chances are those same people are taking their valuable personal time to watch 12 hours of Netflix. (Valuable time Chief, you sure?). So, I would challenge America to think differently and value some of those day to day tasks, because when they are gone, who will we be?
Today, the top technology companies are competing to build the best Artificial Intelligence (AI). IBM has Watson, Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri. Sounds great, but it is scary. How many more jobs will be eliminated because we are trying to make things easier for ourselves? With these companies racing to compete, some say that within 5-10 years tens of millions of people will see their jobs eliminated. So, there goes those tedious duties you all worked so hard to get rid of, huh? Recently “60 Minutes” had an episode dedicated to AI, in it we saw the robot “Sophia” interact with the host better than most people would during an interview. Today, “Sophia” seems still a little artificial and robotic, but, she is already smarter than we are and within 10-20 years, she will be better than us. She will be able to handle all those tedious and difficult tasks effortlessly and without us.
Bottom-line, we need to stop driving our economy to cater to the “user-friendly frenzy.” Believe me, I think it is great that we are being given new cool inventions to make our lives easier. What I am worried about is if America knows when to stop? I don’t know if you saw that movie “WALL-E”. But in that movie, it showed new inventions humans created because they were too lazy to walk, eat, cook, and do everything tedious. Humans (in the film) invented their own demise through their own inventions. Even though that was just a movie, we are getting damn near close to that now as a society. Shit, I just saw one of those new gadgets that you stand on and it moves you without any exercise. I mean I am sure they will come up with a pill or something that will exercise your muscles without you actually exercising. Shit, sometimes I am terrified that the “WALL-E World” will become real!!!
So, I wanted to make this post to challenge America to change their economical mindset that is creating a life of laziness! Hey, some shit is going to be tedious America, get over it. Making inventions to make those things easier is going to breed us into a weak species. AND WE ARE NOT FUCKING WEAK!! Time to be a grown-up America and understand making things easier is not going to make us better as people. In fact, I believe it is going to remove what makes us people in the first place.
Growing up, I fell victim to the media portrayal of what a “good person” or hero was. In fact, it was hard to find someone who could live up to that idealistic persona. However, eventually I, like everyone else, learned that good people are not really like the false symbolism we see in the media and/or the film industry. Good people are just that… they are REAL people who have REAL problems like everyone else. The difference is they have chosen to try to see the best in others and do the best themselves. However, that is not always the easiest thing to do.
In life (for those of us who want to be good people), we learn that having a good heart may make us more susceptible to harm from our peers. It may also make it difficult to get things done that need to be done for the greater good. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of that good heart. Basically, treating us like sheep in a wolf’s den. Sheep are good, but sometimes they don’t have the backbone or willingness to fight others to do what is right. Sometimes the “good” people prefer to just avoid the conflict and let things stay as is. So then, while they are good people with good intentions, they may not be really bringing good into this world.
In my opinion, someone who truly wants to do good to improve others and this world must have a little evil or “badness” inside of them. I know that seems ludicrous, but hear me out. Good people need to have a part of them that can be triggered to protect themselves from real evils and/or harmful situations. This necessary evil shouldn’t be something we promote or show on a regular basis because it doesn’t represent the people we truly are or want to be. It is just the part of us we need to keep us protected and to help us get the right things done. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” I believe having this evil helps us to understand and challenge our enemies so we can move forward.
Shoot, having that little evil side is the only thing that separates a lion from a herd of sheep. Both want to work to be good and do what is best for their family and friends, but only the lion bites back and attacks to save his herd. Do you ever wonder the real reasons why men and women can be both good and evil? Maybe whoever put us here, gave us that puzzle to piece together ourselves to become the best we can be?
To be good, one must have a little evil within them for protection and for the fight against true evil. So, maybe the battle hasn’t always been between “Good vs. Evil.” Maybe, instead, it is UNDERSTANDING the need for both Good and Evil and the BALANCE between good and evil. WOW, I have been watching too much Star Wars!
All in all, everyone should have a little evil within them. It is just critical to a true and healthy life. Shoot, what if more people had a little evil side? Maybe there would be more people not backing down from “the man” and fighting to change the world for the better. But unfortunately, the world all can’t be lions. Too many people choose to never bite back while often being eaten alive by wolves. Such a shame. Please don’t be that person.
Imagine a sport where thousands of men have become permanently damaged physically and mentally. Okay, I am not talking about war here, but a beloved American Sport. This sport could be considered criminal when you look at some of the intentional hits. In fact, if you listened to all of the voices around us, you would think that playing football would be one of the stupidest things a person could do. I mean how could this sport still be around? Why haven’t they banned it already? Well, I will tell you why. There is a lot more to football then just the brutalism we all hear about. Playing football will prepare you for life better than any sport or activity I know could.
Some people see stupid violence within football. I see a sport that can teach valuable lessons in “discipline, survival, victory, and defeat.” It can teach us how to work hard and how to sacrifice for a greater good. It is the ultimate team sport and it teaches us how to be selfless (Truly Selfless). Football is like a war fought on the battlefield of modern-day entertainment. Historically, our young men and women had to go off and fight to survive in the field of real war to learn priceless virtues. Today, football has given the warriors of this nation another path to manhood without war or bloodshed.
I played many sports growing up and I never found a sport like football. Go ahead, name a sport (famous in America ☺) where at the end of the game, men are struggling to walk after physically laying it all out on the line for his team? I don’t know one.
George Carlin once compared football to baseball. He said “In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line. And in baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe!“ I know that Mr. Carlin was joking, but, as a warrior myself, I certainly would choose football. In fact, I wouldn’t trade my experiences with football for anything.
Yes, I know concussions are serious (I personally had a few in college), but look at the bigger picture people. Although football has damaged some families, the sport has bred strong, brave, and tough men and families. The same families who fought to make this country so great.
Personally, I look at football as my savior. I was an only child who had little to complain about. When I was a boy who needed a lesson in humility, football gave me that lesson. When I needed a lesson in toughness, football taught me that lesson. Hell, even when I needed to relate and play on a team with people of different racial backgrounds and from different upbringings, football gave me the open-mind to understand and relate to them. You see football (to me), is not just a sport. It is a sacred symbol to every man, woman, and child who have learned the same lessons as I have through it.
So, is football dangerous? Yes, of course! But personally, I believe God and America will support anything that turns boys into good men. We must protect football from those that don’t understand the virtues of the sport. Football will continue to give generations of young kids the same lessons I learned. The same lessons that made me who I am today. So, don’t worry people. God will save football.
How many of you are getting tired of all these laws the government creates to protect us from ourselves? I like to call these the “Safety laws.” It seems every day more and more of these types of laws are showing up in our society. Laws that are intended to protect us from our own behavior such as safety belts, drug solicitation, non-smoking, riding a motorcycle without a helmet and even J-Walking, are just a few of these laws that are there only for OUR protection against ourselves. Since these laws are made for us, why does it seem like sometimes these laws punish us more than they save us? I certainly understand that there must be laws to protect us from hurting others. But if we are adults and want to take the chance in safety, why should the government interfere in our right of free will. Should we care if big brother believes if something is too dangerous to do? How far will our government go to protect us from ourselves? At what point will they make McDonald’s illegal to eat? I mean they have already banned trans fats and even Big Gulps in some cities. I guess (once again) I am forced to ask the obvious questions.
If the government continues to do everything to save us from ourselves at what point will our lives just become boring and suck? I mean, what if the government bans roller coasters to prevent heart attacks, hiking in the mountains to prevent falls, hang gliding, kite surfing, even swimming in the ocean, to prevent accidents, contact sports like football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. Remember when we had lawn darts and the slip and slide? If these were banned for our safety’s sake, would life even be worth living? Well the truth is, it is happening right in front of our eyes. We are even getting cars that drive themselves and jobs that work themselves to prevent accidents. As a country, we are seemingly writing off the fun in everyday life because of safety laws. Seems to me our government intends to continue to add more safety laws. Rather than remove some of the pointless ones they already have on the books.
I would even challenge the government and say that some of these laws that are intended to protect us may in fact hurt us. Have you ever heard of the Peltzman effect? It states that people may react to a safety regulation by increasing other risky behaviors, and/or offsetting some or all the benefits of the regulation. Maybe I drive faster because I am wearing a helmet or safety belt. Or maybe I don’t look out for cars when I am within the safety of a crosswalk. Anyway, it is something to think about, right?
I like to view the initiator of these laws as an old gentleman by the name of “Buzz Killington.” Maybe this gentleman was lazy or just had a ton of passive aggressive feelings towards people who like to “grab life by the horns.” It doesn’t take a genius to see some of these laws are against our American Freedoms.
I believe in law and order like most good-hearted Americans. The catch the government doesn’t seem to understand is that the laws must be RESPECTED for them to have ORDER. I believe laws should be made to protect people from others who may want to harm them or their property. But, I do believe our individual liberty and rights should permit us to do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t cause harm to others. Protecting a person from themselves breeds the legislation of morality and the taking away of one’s liberty. Respecting law is a must for the American people to survive. The more laws our government enacts to protect us from ourselves, the more they will lose the respect of the American people. I love my country. But I will forever hate Mr. Buzz Killington who is trying to take the fun and thrill out of our lives.
For many of us, we have spent our lives embellishing or basically “lying” to others to promote better versions of ourselves. We seem to do this to please and impress our friends and peers in the world around us. Some of you may believe you are true by nature and present a true self to others. However, I promise you that most of you are not. Believe me, I know the truth hurts. If you have a Social Media Account, guess what? You have been lying about who you truly are publicly ever since you created that profile. Most people would say I am full of shit, but if every picture is of you doing something interesting or exciting, guess what? You are presenting a false front, or (in other words) you’re lying because you probably work a normal boring job. Truth is you’re just a normal person having to do monotonous chores, common errors in judgement, and lead a generally uneventful life just like the rest of us. I know that your intent is probably not to deceive, but the reality is that is exactly what you are doing.
Now just to be blunt. You, I, and everyone are definitively “liars”. So, if this is the case, why do we continue creating these alternative perceptions of our lives if they basically are all lies? Well, quite simply, from my perspective, it is because we constantly want the world to see the best in us. Yes, most would say it is bad to lie or embellish regardless. But I see hope in it.
When people lie to promote a better self, they do it because they believe they can be, or want to be, that flawless person they show online. Although those online portrayals might be lies, at least, most of the time, people want to be seen as good people. We are humans, and I believe we are liars by nature. Maybe we are all doomed because of it, but the truth is that we are still here alive and well. So, if we are still here on this planet lying, is there still good within all of us? I believe so. Maybe those false versions of ourselves are just the personal benchmarks we all inevitably want to truly be in reality. No one should ever be punished thinking positively of themselves. Should they? Even if the truth is not the complete truth, people have the right to promote themselves as the best person they can be.
I think the core of this problem is our obsession with image and how image can impact and control a person’s actions. All of us are so fixated on how others view us. Honestly, making it nearly impossible for people to get to know who we really are. Hey, I am no angel but I promise you I won’t be showing any negative images on my online public profiles anytime soon. I mean can you blame me? I want people to see me for the good side of who I am (and nothing else). Because eventually people will remember me for that good side of who I am. That same side of me that I have promoted and protected for all these years. The same side of us we all dedicate time to promote and protect. Yeah, that side of me might not be the complete truth of who I am (or who you are), but at least we want to be good people. If we continue to want to be good people, this world will keep evolving toward the direction of good.
Personally, I always have been someone who has coped well with high-stress and uncomfortable situations. The reason for this is because I learned a very valuable lesson growing up. A lesson, I believe everyone should learn in order to live a healthy lifestyle. That is, Nothing in this life is constant except Change.
Lord knows life is not a fairytale, but we shouldn’t panic every time life sends us in a direction we did not anticipate or desire. Many people seem to love living comfortably with no surprises, and, inevitably, little progress, and to me that just seems incredibly boring. Look, I am not saying all surprises are good surprises, but isn’t that the beauty of life? If life was just constantly comfortable for everyone, where would all those emotions go that make us human? Believe me, I do understand people value their comfort. I am just saying, to live a full life, unpredictability must be present. Life shouldn’t be black and white. That is why humans see in colors.
Seriously, how can people say “YOLO” when their key goal in life is to remain comfortable? Being financially well-off and secure is key to being “America Comfortable,” but is America supposed to be comfortable? Hear me out. In our history, we have seen that when social change was needed, the people and government made changes and molded to prevent anarchy. It was not necessarily because they wanted to (at least some of them didn’t). Instead, it was because they had to. They had to change for the world to be better, rather than expecting the world to stay stagnate or change for them.
Social and economic change is a repetitive theme in American culture. So, why does everyone freak out when they find themselves in the midst of another social and economic revolution? Clearly, we have a new type of president, with a new approach to media, and yet the image most people seem to see is a country in Chaos. Instead of seeing it that way, I see a nation desperately trying to change. That is, we are just simply a nation reacting to a system failing to cater to the freedom foundation of this country.
For me, I see any change as an opportunity to make progress. Whether the change is something I want or don’t want. Change happens when change is needed. Quite honestly, that is the true beauty of change. Some people might see change as bad and I understand that. It is scary. The people who see change as opportunity are the people I relate to and they are the people who can help make our world a better place. As Fredrick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.“