Different Custom

In the midst of this election cycle, I’ve tried to remain patient, analytical, honest, and kind. I’ve not gotten in the middle of the controversy if I could avoid it. When I’ve seen provocative social media posts, I’ve chosen not to comment, especially when I saw no way for a positive outcome. I’ve tried to extend grace to those who have “baited” me with controversial comments.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve not been paying attention!

There was one matter that came up that I had to intentionally avoid. It infuriated me! When a football player in the NFL chose to kneel, rather than stand, during the National Anthem, I became livid. That was nothing, however, compared to how I felt when others began to blindly follow suit. Then the Millikin University football team decided to stay in the locker room, rather than to participate in the ceremony of the National Anthem, with only Connor Brewer showing the integrity to stand alone on the sidelines during the song.

I’ve been quiet long enough.

What on earth are you people thinking? America actually is the greatest country in the world. We have safer streets, schools, public venues, and are safer in our homes than anywhere else. Americans earn more income per capita than any other nation. Our public places are kept clean, our roads are paved, our food is safe (with few exceptions), we have access to medications and trained doctors, and our hospitals are the best in the world. I’m allowed to purchase anything I can afford, and some things I can’t. I can drive a big car, live in a huge home, and have a new set of clothing for every single day of the month. I sleep in a very warm bed every night.

We have freedoms that are not found in other countries. I can express whatever I choose to without fear of any retribution other than the natural consequences of my statements (i.e. getting trampled if I yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, or getting slapped if I say something rude). I cannot be arrested for expressing an opinion! I can carry a handgun, and I do. The police cannot kick down my door on a whim or enter my home without a warrant. If I’m ever charged with a crime, I have a right to a trial with a jury of my peers. And every two years, I get to participate in free, fair elections (all the current turmoil aside) to elect anyone I choose to govern me. Just try finding these privileges and freedoms anywhere else.

So, what are you protesting by taking a knee during our National Anthem?

No, things are not always fair in America, but I don’t waste my time protesting it by doing something rude and offensive. Instead, I show up at the county commission meeting and petition my government for a redress of grievances. I meet privately with my legislators to explain my position on issues and convince them that I’m right and they should vote how I ask them to vote on a variety of bills. I sign petitions, make phone calls, and send emails when I’m unable to meet with those in authority over me. I use the press to my advantage and call out those who have usurped authority in public letters to the editor and social media outlets. Things are not always fair, so I’m doing what I can to change that by participating in the process.

Earlier today, I saw a social media post that questioned why people had such a problem with football players taking a knee during the anthem while it is customary in some churches to kneel as they entered to show respect and reverence toward Christ. A gentleman from Tennessee, Richie Davila, gave the best response I’ve seen to this question. “Different custom. Submission to the Lord by kneeling is one thing. But I stand up for my country. A free man should never be on his knees to any nation.”

Amen, Richie. Amen.

~Temerity Dowell


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