Like many people my heart breaks for the various tragedies and evil that goes on around the world and hurts people, destroys their families and lives and kills others. It’s something we have to face as people of faith, that there will be evil until God comes back. Do I believe that even with evil remaining we can do a better job than we’ve done? Absolutely. I believe that there’s something that each and every one of us can do to make the world a better place, one that fewer people fear for their lives or sanity and have more opportunities to use their gifts and talents in a way that builds up the world and creates a better future for the next generations.
So when it comes to the choice to not stand for the National Anthem or not supporting police officers I have a hard time making that choice. Yes, I absolutely believe that Black Lives Matter and that there are police who are completely prejudiced and that things have to change again, in line with the changes of MLK Jr’s days and even before that with the Civil War slaves’ freedom. But I also believe that we have to give Veterans and those who are in the military more respect and support than we do (I have family and friends who have served), and disrespecting police isn’t helpful either.
So rather than seeing not standing for the Anthem as (just) disrespect, maybe it’s something that’s happening because people feel they have tried all manner of other things and have not found any other way to get people’s attention on the importance of changing things and actually causing change to happen. The question is that as great as it is that people are finally noticing how not right things are and taking a stand as a result, is it really doing anything to make change happen in the people and places that it needs to? Thinking back to the big blow up with the Veterans and the VA and how it was revealed how long it was taking to be seen and get help at the VA, while some things may have improved since then, I’m sure most veterans you talk to would say that not much has changed now that a lot of the noise has died down.
The thing with change is that it only works if people agree that there’s really a problem and things need to change. Some people may say for example that the majority of black people (especially males) are out for violence and carry guns and should be treated as an imminent threat. Actual statistics may not support that, but because what’s in the news or presented as the credible threat is primarily black people, that’s what some people come to believe and get their tunnel vision as a result.
I can’t force anyone to change their opinions, even if I present credible evidence in opposition of their opinions. But I can choose to stand with those who are bullied, seen as less than important, downtrodden, ignored, abused or judged for superficial (irrelevant) factors. I believe that we should each be given the opportunity to prove who we are and our value before we’re judged by the world, and most be given a chance to start over if we fail. As for how we change things, maybe we should be looking back at the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation and what happened after MLK’s March on Washington and how the changes as a result of the Civil Rights of the 50’s and 60’s were put into place and give them a modern spin to apply to our need for change today.