“Bag lady, you gon’ hurt your back draggin’ all them bags like that…”
I haven’t been watching football this season. Part of it has to do with my frustration regarding the fact that Colin Kaepernick has yet to be employed by the NFL. But mostly, I’m just tired. My Sundays have been replaced by good food, minimal company, and a continuous playlist of Erykah Badu (‘Bag Lady’ stays in rotation).
I haven’t been watching the news. Every day since the beginning of 2016, each news outlet has made a daily routine of showcasing the circus that this nation has now become. America is a Mary-go-round that I am no longer excited by. I’m tired. I haven’t posted on Instagram or Facebook in months. Whenever I would log in to scroll through my timeline, all I see is friends, family and strangers screaming to be heard.. The crazy part is that we’re all arguing over the same things.
“One day all them bags gon’ get in your way…”
Have you ever woken up one morning, rushing to make the most out of each minute of your day, and JUST as you're about to leave you can’t find your keys? Have you ever turned over every piece of your furniture and suddenly realized how much of a mess you’ve made to find them? It’s a random analogy, but I truly believe this country has lost it’s house keys and is currently flipping over the furniture.
In the case of Colin Kaepernick, he made news by calling attention to an issue that has been swept under the rug for quite some time. In the Declaration of Independence, it was written that all men are created equal. It is also written that each human has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those who oppose the former 49er quarterback argue that kneeling during the anthem disregards the blood of the fallen soldiers who stood on the frontline for this country. Supporters of Kaepernick are saying that the red on flag we salute represents the blood of fallen soldiers from the likes of Tamir Rice and Mike Brown also. The main difference between them and army veterans is that they were kids who didn’t sign up to defend the country that repossessed their lives. Kaepernick has decided that he won’t stand for it any longer.
With that being said, I don’t think this country is a bad house to live in. All I believe is that we’ve acquired too much furniture and lost sight of our values. How are police officers legally murdering civilians and receiving paid leave with no indictment? How has the most divisive presidential candidate of the 21st century been chosen to lead the United States of America? How does Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, make the decision to not hire Colin Kaepernick, but he releases a statement saying that he supports the current demonstrations of the Ravens that choose to kneel during the anthem?
“I bet you love could make it better...”
The decision I’ve made in the midst of all the noise has been to spend more time listening than talking. I’m working to understand people with different views while not compromising my own. Even though I’ve listened to the new Eminem freestyle at least ten times today, that language and aggressive energy will only make us tired. I need to sit and understand how scary it can be for my cousin to risk his life as a police officer, just like I currently understand the frustration of my friend who's the son of Keith Lamont Scott.
That’s what I believe this country needs. Understanding. There are a lot of people screaming over one another right now. Listening is the only way unpack all of this baggage and get back to the keys we came in the house with. We need love.
Banner Photo by Gerry Melendez for ESPN