Welcome to Do The Hard Thing Episode 6. I am Jason Archer… creator, freedom seeker and leader of self | full time student and part time teacher of self mastery, and today’s theme is “Trump And The NFL Are Proof Freedom Is Ugly”…
So, turn up the volume, put down the distractions and let’s kick this off…
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Have you ever started a project that you felt held a great deal of meaning for you, and then for whatever reason you could not move toward the outcome you wanted to create. Whether it was a Mental, Physical, or Spiritual target you sought, it didn’t matter… there was some part of you who refused to move. This podcast is born out of that specific idea. Do The Hard Thing is an exploration in human movement.
Well, seemingly a firestorm of rhetoric and facebook vitriol was unleashed today, as NFL players took a knee for the National Anthem in response to Trump’s remarks calling for owners to sack up and get rid of players who disrespect the symbol so many men gave their lives preserving.
In what basically amounted to a contest of “fuck yous”, people both pro and con picked up their phones as they sat lazily enjoying their free time within the borders of the US to “virtue signal” and/or shout “patriotism!” between grabbing for that next chicken wing and trips to pisser to return that beer they rented to the sewage pipes from whence the filtered water it was made originally came.
As comments racked up, and no progress was made by either side… It was clear that the only winners in the exchange were the media who grasped at the opportunity to boost their ever sagging ratings by exacerbating the conflict.
While self proclaimed patriots vowed to never watch the NFL again… Those in support of the kneeling players began to chime in with their belief that the NFL wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and scoffed at the notion that some would keep themselves away from football on any level; completely ignoring and uncaring for the cries of those who frequent the game and patronize the stores that carry the overpriced NFL licensed product.
The die had been cast so to speak.
You were either a patriot who supported the troops who “gave us our freedom” or you were an unpatriotic spoiled athlete making more money per game than the average person will see in a lifetime.
And, who could forget this: no matter who you talked to, their side was 100% right and justified in their beliefs and actions.
But how can that be? You have 2 diametrically opposed sides who firmly believe they are correct in their stance.
They all saw the same series of facts take place, so why did opposing sides develop in the first place? Why didn’t everyone just arrive at the same conclusions and move on?
Well, if you remember from the previous episode… we jumped into worldview and beliefs. And, this happening couldn’t be a better illustration of the idea that we create our stories around factual happenings based on our worldview… our beliefs about our understanding of “the way it is.”
Every serviceman and every child of a military family within my timeline on facebook, saw the kneeling as a direct slap in the face to those who’ve served in the armed forces. Many had lost friends and family in war. And, the way they look at the flag and the anthem is that it’s a symbol of the freedoms that their loved ones fought and died for.
The opposition, of course, believing that the various historical atrocities happening under the flag and the anthem preclude the need for any respect or shows of patriotism… many of whom feel they or their ancestors suffered under those symbols and that suffering continues today.
It just comes down to your worldview and the stories you make up around the facts.
And, this is the hard thing… first, to recognize that the significance you assign to a particular event: like standing for the anthem in this case. It’s just that. It is the significance YOU’VE assigned. And, you’ve done this based on your view of the facts… your truth, if you will.
Which brings us to the point of today’s lesson: Freedom Is Ugly.
Freedom means that no matter what side you come down on, your view is your view and anyone opposed to your view has to just deal with it. In a free society, you don’t get to force your beliefs on another individual. And, that is how it should be.
If a man chooses to exercise his freedom, and it has no bearing on your physical safety… in other words you are not being threatened to comply by force with the actions another takes, then you have an obligation to live and let live. To simply move on. To allow that circumstance to exist.
However, there is more to it than that. With freedom comes responsibility… In an environment where you have the ability to exercise your free will, your freedom of expression or speech in this case, you are also obligating yourself to accept whatever consequences your expression generates.
Put another way, being free to express yourself does NOT give you freedom from the consequences of your expression. Just like Karma… when you put something out there, it will find a way back to you. And, that you are responsible for.
In this scenario, which started with Kaepernick taking a knee way back, you have players and some observers who are legitimately shocked that there were any repercussions as the idea spread and grew. They expressed genuine disbelief that this simple act would create such a firestorm of anti NFL sentiment from other players and fans. Many of whom support Trump.
So Trump fired back and took a shot at the owners saying they should get those sons of bitches out of there!
Not a very presidential thing to say, and at the same time he used his platform to express the thoughts of many of those in opposition to the kneeling during the anthem…. calling the action disrespectful to the men and women in uniform.
The fact that the president took time out of his day to call out the protesters, created a new set of protesters who spend most of Sunday September 24th dreaming up ways to respond in kind. And they did… either by not taking the sideline for the anthem or by getting groups of players to kneel to drive home their “fuck you” to the president.
So this basically devolved into a situation where it was tit for tat… Some players chose to complain or protest, Trump chose to respond, the players responded to Trump, then Trump responded to the players and owners.
Such was Sunday Wordy Sunday.
Neither side acknowledging their roles in escalating the problem, neither side truly taking responsibility for what they created… But they were responsible nonetheless. It got ugly.
Freedom can be that way. Freedom can be chaotic… and most people do not want to look at ugly. This is why we have things like HOA’s who guarantee your neighbor doesn’t paint his house florescent pink and green and plant a junk car on cinder blocks in the front yard.
At the end of the day, a little bit of free expression… even when it’s ugly has the power to spark debate. To make people think twice. Today’s events pushed thoughtful people into doing some soul searching, into really diving deep into what it is they believe around the power of the symbols used in American culture, and in a few rare cases they bridged a divide when those thoughts were shared in debate.
All because the freedom of expression largely still exists in the US, despite efforts to kill it when it doesn’t fit the leftist narrative by media and large IT companies like Google and Facebook.
When things are hard, when disagreements come about, freedom to discuss and express the hard things is paramount. The founders understood this and wrote it into the Constitution… but they were hardly the only ones to recognize the importance of protecting the individual.
Lord Acton wrote the following on the topic of individual liberty:
“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather if that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”
(And of course, the smallest minority is the individual.)
He went on to say this about the founding of the US:
“Washington and Hamilton…Their example…teaches that men ought to be in arms even against a remote and constructive danger to their freedom, that even if the cloud is no bigger than a man’s hand, it is their right and their duty to stake the national existence, to sacrifice lives and fortunes…to shatter crowns and scepters and fling parliaments into the sea. On this principle of subversion they erected their commonwealth, and by its virtue lifted the world out of its orbit and assigned a new course to history.”
I won’t cop out here and leave you wondering what my opinion is.
Today’s exchange was juvenile at best, yet it served a purpose… it got people talking, thinking, looking up information. All in an attempt to understand the ugliness that was today’s freedom of speech. And, that is a good thing.
Personally I fail to see how protesting, destroying, or removing inanimate objects serves any purpose. For the reality is this: both good and bad has happened under all symbols. To focus on and give power to a symbol from only the negative it has seen is foolish. If the symbol in question has any negative significance, then by default it must also have positive significance… You can’t separate it without being logically inconsistent.
And, because all significance is assigned, you get to choose what any symbol means to you. Do that. It’s where your power lies.
That’s it for today! Thank you for listening, and if you found value in this message be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google, Castbox, or Stitcher | Share this with those you know need to hear it on social | And I’ll see you back here in the next episode | This is Jason Archer signing off | Now… go, and DO THE HARD THING.
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