United We Stand, United We Kneel

For roughly the past week the topic of standing or not standing during the national anthem has been a hot topic. Unfortunately the fact that some are protesting during the national anthem is a hotter part of the topic than the reasons they are protesting. Personally I’m not a fan of the protests, but understand why they are taking place and believe the issues leading to them need to be addressed. At the same time I believe if you are going to protest during the national anthem doing so by taking a knee is one of the best ways to do so. (If the real concern with those opposed is standing versus kneeling, another good option would be to stand facing the opposite direction). Either of these would be silent, non or minimally disruptive, and clear ways to protest.

In reading several days worth of Facebook philosopher posts, there doesn’t seem to be much all sides agree on. If anything, there are only 3 things I can think of:

  1. In a perfect world everyone would stand for the national anthem
  2. In a perfect world the issues of racism and inequality leading to the protests wouldn’t exist
  3. We don’t live in a perfect world

That’s about it. My hope is the outrage people on all sides are expressing lead to action. The unfortunate ironic part of all of this is it won’t for most. Someone will post countless quotes on Instagram about the wrongs of actions taken this week, but not get off the couch long enough to make progress toward correcting any of them and the same person that’s been using Twitter and hammering at people about disrespecting the military by kneeling during the national anthem and their counterpart that’s been hammering back just as hard in attempt to remind people it’s not about the military will move on to the next hot topic next week. They won’t find a way to support a cause, the President, the military, the protest, the issues surrounding the protest, or anything else that doesn’t involve social media.

I have a couple disappointments with the recent happenings. The first and most significant is the President having harsher words for those kneeling during the national anthem than those marching in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. This one is hard to wrap my head around.

Another is the number of players and owners that didn’t get involved until now, coinciding with statements being made that could impact their wallets. I can’t imagine those that don’t support the current administration believe recent comments are the worst that have been made, but the recent ones led to action. There have also been enough games played since Kaepernick first took a knee to decide if you wanted to join him before this weekend. It makes me wonder what they are truly uniting for.

What Happens When Online Shaming Spirals Out of Control by Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson presented What Happens When Online Shaming Spirals Out of Control as a TED Talk.

How the Internet has Made Social Change Easy to Organize, Hard to Win by Zeynep Tufekci

Zeynep Tufekci presented How the Internet has Made Social Change Easy to Organize, Hard to Win as a TED Talk.

Friends Without Benefits

Vanity Fair published  Friends Without Benefits talking about teenagers, social media, and sex. Read it.