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We've Forgotten How To Listen

Brad Fanning
September 25, 2017 - 12:44 pm
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The President and much of America is missing the point of NFL players protesting our National Anthem.  Players are protesting police brutality and social injustice.  The President and much of America believes they’re protesting our military.

Why?

I think it’s because we’ve forgotten how to listen because we’ve gotten in the habit of being in a hurry.  We hurry to get to work.  We hurry to get dinner on the table.  We hurry to get the kids where they need to be.  We hurry to see how many “likes” we have on social media.  We hurry to be the first with a witty response on twitter.  We hurry, hurry and hurry some more. 

And we hurry to form opinions.  When we do that we don’t stop and listen.

I understand the urge of seeing something and getting angry.  But the older I’ve become the more I stop and think before I react. 

My initial reaction when I saw Colin Kaepernick sit during the National Anthem was anger.  My uncle Pete fought and nearly died in Korea.  My father guarded nuclear weapons in West Germany while the Berlin Wall was being built.  My grandfather was a mechanic in World War II.  I thought, “How could Colin Kaepernick show such disrespect for the men and women that have served and died for our country.”

But then I listened to his point of view.  I took the time to find out why he was doing what he was doing.  I found out that it had nothing to do with our military.  Nothing.

My opinion changed from anger to support.  I support the idea of a peaceful protest.  I’m against social injustice and police brutality. 

I support the NFL players for standing up, by kneeling.

The flag and the anthem are deeply personal to me.  But the flag and the anthem mean different things to different people and I respect that.

You may ask, ”Fanning would you stand or kneel?” Fair question.  My wife asked me the same thing.  The answer is that I would stand with one hand over my heart and the other hand on the shoulder pad of a teammate that was kneeling. 

You don’t have to agree with me and I’m perfectly fine with that, but I would encourage you to do one thing.

Listen. 

Listen to those you disagree with before getting in a hurry to judge them and/or their cause.

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