Have you ever, prior to physically disciplining your child, told them that not only will this spanking hurt you more than it pains them but that the discipline itself is done out of love? If you haven’t, it’s likely you know someone who has.
At first glance, the act of physically disciplining a loved one to correct their behavior may not seem like love at all, but a closer and more focused glare at the occurrence will show that, more often than not – and excluding the cases of blatant child abuse wherein the parent shows contempt for their offspring – the disciplinarian is, indeed, acting with love in their heart; for if genuine love wasn’t present than, instead of teaching an individual right from wrong and stressing consequences, the guardian would be indifferent, displaying a rather cavalier attitude towards those whose care they’ve been entrusted to ensure.
Discipline is the embodiment of tough love, and it’s a kind of tough love now being shown to America by Mr. Colin Kaepernick and his peers who have followed his lead and are refusing to stand for the national anthem before football games in order to bring attention to a social ill which reeks havoc at the intersection of police misconduct and institutional racism.
Mr. Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers whose love of country has been called into question following his perceived defiance, could have been indifferent to America’s deficiency and allowed problems to persist without voicing objection. Yet he didn’t. He made a statement, albeit a discreet one at first, in order to display his displeasure.
Though unsaid, and like the parent(s) who claims their dishing out of discipline is paining to them, too, Mr. Kaepernick I assume is on some level experiencing discomfort, for the targets of his protest shouldn’t exist in its current mass form in the 21st Century – wouldn’t you also be dismayed and disappointed if you had to publicly rebuke what was believed to be an outdated action wherein the actor(s) clearly knows their act is deplorable and yet it continues still?
It takes much more effort to struggle against government malfeasance than it does to turn away from it. Dramatic efforts to bring America to its best-self are, in real-time, unsung acts of tough love.
The tough love of country, and moreover the country’s love of the protester(s), traditionally doesn’t become illuminated until long after the rebellion has concluded. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ms. Rosa Parks and Congressman John Lewis, who was perceived as a young rebel when he began to agitate the system in order to renovate it, are all now treasures of this nation, though the public at-large didn’t always view them favorably.
In 2016, Mr. Kaepernick is perceived by his critics as a troublemaker whose anti-police, anti-veteran stunts are negatively impacting others in, and outside, the sport. Decades in the future, however, Mr. Kaepernick will likely enjoy mass appeal as a catalyst for social change, an athlete who not only put his money where his movement is but who encouraged others to do the same.
In addition to Mr. Kaepernick’s plan to donate one million of his dollars to various social justice organizations, Mr. Eric Reid, a safety for the 49ers who was among the first to join his teammate in protest, announced he’s working with his hometown church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to renovate a facility that will serve as both a housing facility for women and children and a safe place where youth can congregate after-school. Mr. Reid, a father of two, is also working with a family friend who spent 30 years in law enforcement to attempt to strengthen police-community relations.
This modern-era of celebrity consciousness wasn’t started by Mr. Kaepernick but he certainly took it to the next level with a combination of bold activism and altruism. When first asked about his protest, Mr. Kaepernick never said he didn’t love America but rather he acknowledged he wouldn’t show “pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Isn’t it normal that one could love another while not in the moment being proud of them? Isn’t that the paradox most parents find themselves in sometimes?
In this context, the roles are reversed, as Mr. Kaepernick is a son of the nation and the nation is, via a system of government, his guardian. It’s the son now dishing out the discipline to authority and he’s doing so out of tough love, and its likely hurting him more to do than it’s paining you to watch.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo: Getty Images