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Thread: "That Other Thing" (From Mags blog)

  1. #1

    "That Other Thing" (From Mags blog)

    Warning: Politics here, involving football.

    Mags, first, thanks for doing your blog. I really enjoy reading it and find a lot of great insight. I wanted to talk a bit about your recent blog post, where you wrote:
    "That Other Thing

    So I know most of you are conservative leaning, probably opposed to "this whole Colin Kaepernick thing". Well, from the time I started prepping for this game to now, the President is kinda openly feuding with first players, then some owners, and I assume today's response before kickoff from players will escalate things further.

    The first amendment is a cornerstone of democracy. It's faced challenges from the initial moment it appeared, and some stiff ones along the way (Alien and Sedition Acts, McCarthyism). We don't always have to agree with it. Hell, we never do.

    But, if/when this starts to happen around the league - I don't know if it will in Carolina at all - consider that they're doing that for a reason. Not to make you mad. To bring attention to something that matters to them, to something that happens to people that could easily be them. And when you see that, think of that in context. Think of it from someone else's context."


    I do like what you say here, but felt it might be good to clarify a few things so we better understand each other. I have two main issues with Colin Kaepernick.
    1) Kneeling during the anthem
    2) The obvious attack on police (pigs on socks) and glorifying of Fidel Castro, who was indisputably a brutal dictator who committed numerous human rights violations

    I have no problem with people protesting and 100% think they have the RIGHT to protest, even during the anthem, in whatever way they choose. Heck, CP has the right to wear the socks and shirts he chooses. I would die defending that right, as I have taken an oath to do. However, I dislike the time he chooses to protest (and other NFL players), that being during our anthem. Our flag should be a unifying thing, a symbol of what we strive to be, not the failings of what we've been in the past. I think it should be honored, on behalf of all those that have given their life defending our country, and that is why I dislike the timing of the protest.

    If the players could share with us specific instances of racism or specific laws that were racist, I'd join them in protesting! But I wouldn't do it during the anthem. Everyone deserves equality (fairness of opportunity) but I do not support equity (fairness of outcome). People who work harder and do the right things deserve to get further and have nicer things than those that don't. I want everyone to have the same opportunity no matter where they start, so I'm all for that.

    Before I get to the second part, I want to publicly say I disagree with Trump and condemn his statements that led to this weeks protests. It was unnecessary, undignified, uncalled for, and out of line for the President of the United States. He's supposed to unite, not divide. If he really had to say something, he should have left it as "NFL Players have a constitutional right to protest and kneel, and I support that right. I would prefer they do it some other time during the anthem, which is when we honor our flag." But really, he should stay out of football altogether.

    This was the one week I didn't have any issue with players protesting, because what Trump did was bad and should be protested. It was dumb of Trump and only inflamed the issue. He lost points for "his side" and was not just wrong, but dumb politically. Anyway, enough of that.

    For the second point, I specifically dislike CK not because he was the first person to protest (because there have been many) but because of the targeting and name calling of police. Just as I disagreed with Trump's name calling, so I disagree with CP's namecalling and stereotyping of police. Making people angry at the police in general is bad, dangerous, and will only lead to more senseless deaths (we can have a full conversation about that if you like). Targeting specific instances of bad policing is 100% good and I do that myself. I hate it when police are racist, commit crimes, or do evil things. But calling all police shootings "racist" or "unjustified" is flat out wrong. If anyone wants to go through them one by one I'd be happy to explain things from a police point of view. Some are bad (like the one in SC), some are instances lawful shootings where there was probably a better outcome that could have happened due to either bad training or belligerent people, others were 100% justified. To characterize all as any one of those categories is naive and dangerous and leads to more anger and ultimately, more people getting hurt.

    I don't want to hurt anyone, bad guy or otherwise, and I don't want to get hurt doing a job where I do my best to serve all I come in contact with, even the criminals. That is why I and others have the reaction they do to CP and the protests in general.

    Again, thanks for your words. Like I said, I 100% support free speech and hate racism, but I will not support CK.

  2. #2
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    I agree that our President should have remained silent on this issue. I think it was delivered in a very inappropriate manner and only fanned the flames.

    I also think the NFL is burying their heads in the sand, as they dole out fines and penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct when players are caught disrespecting the refs or other players. We have the freedom of speech but we also have rules for what is appropriate and what is not.

    To dishonor the flag is the epitome of unsportsmanlike conduct to me.
    Last edited by KY-Cat; 09-25-2017 at 08:05 PM.

  3. #3
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    I support the right of American citizens to use their First Amendment rights to protest the actions or inactions of the government.
    I swore an oath to defend the US Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, the 1st Amendment is part of the Constitution, and that oath had no expiration date.
    That 1st Amendment does not protect the freedom to protest on someone else's private property or while on the clock at a job where the boss forbids such activity.

    The NFL already has a rule forbidding protesting during the anthem but has chosen so far to not enforce that rule.
    According to Jeff Saturday, former center for the Colts on Mike and Mike this morning, until 2009 players were still in the locker room when the anthem was played, so the rule about standing for the anthem is of only recent vintage.
    If the NFL reverts to tradition and doesn't bring teams onto the field until after the anthem is played, this situation may resolve itself.

    I have family members who are not white, family members who are in law enforcement, and family members in the military.
    I have family members who have faced real (not perceived or assumed) outright discrimination.
    I have family members who have been mistreated by law enforcement officials who abused their authority.
    I also know law enforcement officers who have been falsely accused of racism by minorities and then were told that they must not defend their reputations or they would face losing their jobs.
    I have also traveled to unpleasant places in the world often enough to know what true political oppression looks like.

    I personally like Robert Kraft's approach. He told his players that instead of complaining about conditions in a way that wouldn't solve anything, they should devote their time and money to trying to make life better in impoverished neighborhoods, and that he would match all of them dollar for dollar in their efforts and see that they were given the time to carry out their plans.

    While I understand President Trump's anger, I wish he had taken the time to express his thoughts calmly and considerately instead of provoking predictable knee-jerk responses that, together with his own poorly-chosen words, have politicized something that people enjoy as a way to escape from politics and the other stressful drama inherent in the modern world. Trump wasn't the first to politicize it, but he is such a polarizing figure that inserting himself into the situation in any way on any side was bound to be more divisive than helpful. I would hope that our president has more important things to do than worry over how millionaires entertain people.

    I get that many people in America with brown skin think of themselves as being oppressed by America in general and by law enforcement specifically. I'm on the front lines every day in the fight to try to educate young adults so that they will actually live up to Martin L. King's mandate that we judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I daily encounter, deal with, and attempt to correct racist attitudes by white, black, Hispanic, and Asian students. What I try to impress upon them all is that the world is full of people who are jealous of them all for the opportunity to have those attitudes or any expressed opinions in a land where our poorest people still eat every day; but the world is also full of people who want to kill them just for being Americans regardless of skin color, ideology, or political affiliation. If we cannot agree to disagree with civility while appreciating that the only reason those of differing opinions and ethnicities are not butchered to extinction (as happens in many other places on earth) is because of the values and political system that flag represents, then we have no basis for discussion at all.

    Team owners and the players' union will decide what matters more to them, profits or certain political principles. I just watch for the entertainment and distraction of football, but there are other uses for my time and money. I would like to continue setting projects aside so that I can spend three hours each week watching the Panthers. I know that big decisions like the one the NFL is facing are not done well when they are done quickly, and I am willing to be patient for a bit while it all gets sorted out. However, if the NFL decides as a policy that they will continue to allow millionaire players to disrespect the flag that covered the coffins of my friends who died defending those millionaires, then I will spend my time and money elsewhere in the same manner that I have never watched a film with Jane Fonda in it.
    "I don't know whether the world is run by smart men who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    Thanks for reading.
    I'd agree that he shouldn't be belligerent toward police. I think if we're willing to discuss people using their platform improperly, that while the President is both unlawful in his calling for people to be fired, that he's offender #1 in inappropriate use of his platform. Kaepernick is trying to do good things. Hundreds of NFL players are trying to create better. The President is being willfully divisive, I just can't figure whether he's being intentional to cover up things like health care, or if he's just a person who can't help himself. To be clear, Colin Kaepernick did nothing illegal. Donald Trump has, though I wouldn't anticipate action.

    It's worth remembering that the NFL players who choose to do so, are not protesting the flag or the anthem. They're not intent on disrespecting the country, the flag, or for whatever reason it gets brought up, troops. I find the troops thing specifically disingenuous. The flag and the anthem aren't synonymous with the country, it's not a military anthem. It's easy to use the troops, they're generally unassailable unlike police (right or wrong) in public opinion. But we're saluting the country. Not the military.

    Just as players are protesting something other than the flag. We know what it's really about. It's not about the flag. They don't hate music. They're not against patriotism. What they're doing is unironically very patriotic (much more than looking around and judging, or since praising NASCAR fans is en vogue right now, my childhood is rife with memories of anthems full of people keeping their hats on, smoking a Winston, possibly eating a chicken wing, fresh off yelling profanity at a driver they hate while standing next to a 6 year old).

    Things happen. We won't agree on this. As long as we don't get like that off topic forum where all the Jets fans berate that one non-conservative Jets fan, I'm OK (what's really great is, Kaepernick is undisputably better than anything they could field at QB). And I'll talk politics, if there aren't objections, in this thread, provided we can keep it to this. I'm OK hearing I'm wrong in private, too.

    For what it's worth, it might be worth considering - why do we provide the Anthem at sporting events? Is it necessary, to treat sporting events as statements of loyalty to country? If it's because the competitors are from here, what about the ones that aren't?

    And once again, for the concept of boycott, why now? This is a franchise that's dealt with death, murder, attempted abortion, and domestic abuse. Why are those excusable, but Julius Peppers standing in a locker room is a more deadly sin? I am certain, faced with a choice of one done against me, Julius Peppers standing in a different room than me is the one I'd have in my life.
    Last edited by magnus; 09-26-2017 at 01:05 AM.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the response KY-Cat, Denny and Mags! I'll keep the political conversation to this one specific thread and go football only in the other ones.

    I'd like to respond to a few things Mags said, mainly because Denny worded his post so well I don't have any way to improve upon that.

    In regards to Trump, I pretty blatantly condemned his words in my OP. One political commentator also made a good point which I hadn't thought about before, which is if Barrack Obama had gone on TV and condemned Tim Tebow for kneeling to pray and said Tebow should be fired most of us would have been irate at Obama (and rightfully so). The President shouldn't be telling private organizations who to fire or what to allow, in terms of speech. I want LESS government in my life, not more; that's true if there is Democrats or Republicans in the white house.

    Yes, CK hasn't done anything illegal, but I can't agree about the "good things" part. If you pour some sour milk into good milk, would you call it good? Or would you throw it out? Pouring some of the bad into the good makes it bad. CK's bad has destroyed whatever good he may have intended. Other people in the NFL haven't drawn the same ire as CK...why is that? The only guy I really dislike as much as CK is Michael Bennett, he of the infamous recent lie accusing cops of bad things when all they were doing was their jobs (and the video shows his story to be false).

    About the Jets guy... geez, that's terrible. If you ever left, Mags, I'd be sad. I don't dislike you or think you're a bad person because we have some differences of opinion. Just the opposite, the ability to talk about things in a calm manner showing dignity to each other shows good character! (Especially in this political climate which devolves to screaming at each other so quick) I'm glad we can discuss freely, even if we disagree.

    I think you bring up good questions about boycotting and the anthem at sporting events. I'd guess the anthem is sung to show everyone that we're united under something more important than a game where we root for big, strong, fast men to rip each other's heads off ala a modern day gladiator event. I think it's supposed to encourage sportsmanship, that even though we're going to try to knock each other around, we're still in the end, countrymen. That's just my thoughts though and I wouldn't have a problem with them either cutting out the anthem or having the teams stay in the locker room.

    And lastly, I agree with you that the litany of issues the franchise has dealt with are much worse than any of these protests. I read the article about Peppers and have no problem with what he did. Like I said in my OP, Trump's comments were out of line, inappropriate, etc, so I have no issues with players protesting him. I still would prefer they stand, but linking arms, staying in the locker room, I'm fine with. LeSean McCoy was blatantly disrespectful though and drew attention to himself instead of standing with him teammates, that I don't agree with.

    One last thought...what is the protest really accomplishing? Is it helping kids in poverty get out? Is it providing more jobs, feeding the hungry, or bringing the country together? Has it stopped police from shooting people? Is there a better way to bring help to those that need it and actually make a difference or is this just virtue signaling so that half the country salutes what they are doing and brings attention to them (While making the other half angry)? I can't answer any of those and won't presume to judge someone's intentions, but I think they are valid questions.

  6. #6
    remsponge
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnus View Post
    It's worth remembering that the NFL players who choose to do so, are not protesting the flag or the anthem.

    I would like to believe that is true. The players made that association for me by their choice. However, as the players seem to be thinking their way through this, the Cowboys all kneeled together before the anthem and then stood together during it. I can respect that. I might still disagree with their notions about what they are protesting, but the manner of protest seems more civil and less disrespectful, and therefore more likely to produce meaningful conversation instead of bipolar invective. I think most Americans are aware that problems exist but disagree on the right solutions. We've faced bigger issues before together as a nation, but that can only be done again when all sides are willing to talk and listen to each other instead of yelling past each other. When this started with Kaepernick, his socks showing policemen as pigs and later his tee shirts supporting Fidel Castro and Che Guevara signified that his personal protest was about much more than simple racial injustice (Castro and Guevara had no problem massacring black Cubans who didn't want to go along with communism). I think the players got sucked into joining his protest as a means of expressing their unhappiness with last November's election results without thinking too deeply about what they were identifying with or against.

    What they're doing is unironically very patriotic (much more than looking around and judging, or since praising NASCAR fans is en vogue right now, my childhood is rife with memories of anthems full of people keeping their hats on, smoking a Winston, possibly eating a chicken wing, fresh off yelling profanity at a driver they hate while standing next to a 6 year old).

    I've never, ever been a NASCAR fan, and part of that is because of the other flags that show up there quite often. I've seen plenty of fans at plenty of events display shockingly rude behavior during the anthem. They have the freedom to make that choice, and I have the freedom to politely address them on the topic. There are some people, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, who have principled reasons for not respecting flags, anthems etc. and there are some people who just don't understand things or simply have an opinion divergent from my own. The difference is that the players are the ones asking me for my money, attention, and loyalty as a group, while the fans are not. If fans are obnoxious, I can address them directly and/or move to the concourse to watch the game. Players are inaccessible to me. My choice to give their organization money, time and attention is tantamount to endorsement of their choices and policies. My wearing of their team apparel is an advertisement of my support for how they do things.

    Things happen. We won't agree on this. It's OK. I doubt any of us always agree 100% with our wives, but when a relationship is valuable enough, tolerated disagreement is expected and can even be healthy. Nothing is more boring and more dangerous than an echo chamber where people reinforce each others' biases.

    For what it's worth, it might be worth considering - why do we provide the Anthem at sporting events? I'm not sure. I think it is supposed to establish a basis that the sets of players on the field and the sets of fans in the stands may despise one another in terms of the game or event, but should still be able to shake hands and walk away afterwards in peace because we all share the same unifying nationality as symbolized by the flag. The people in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico still suffering from storm damage are getting loads of help from people in other parts of the country because of that concept. It shouldn't take natural disasters for people to be kind to one another without regard to race, etc., but the fact that when times are at their worst people still seem to drop the race nonsense for a while means that the concept that flag symbolizes is still alive.

    And once again, for the concept of boycott, why now? I stopped watching major league baseball when the owner of my favorite team married Jane Fonda (my dad did three tours in Vietnam and was in South Vietnam when she visited North Vietnam). I stopped watching the NBA when my favorite team left Charlotte and moved to New Orleans. I didn't stop liking baseball or basketball, I just had enough other stuff to do with my time that watching those events was already a sacrifice of time and attention for me, and I wasn't willing to invest that much in an organization with values contrary to mine. The Panthers would be just another page of the same book for me. If that amounts to a boycott, so be it, but I have not asked anyone else to follow my course and nobody I respect much has recommended that course; it is just mine. One person doesn't make much of a boycott. If millions of others make a similar choice for reasons that make sense to them, I won't care because I wasn't watching anyway. I'm not really into doing things just because others are doing them. I stand when the flag passes in a parade, when the national anthem is played, and when the pledge of allegiance is recited whether others do or not. When the cause of my standing is done, I may or may not choose to sit separately from those who sat, just as they may or may not choose to sit separately from those who stood. Freedom of speech comes with freedom of association. Sometimes sitting with those of differing opinions is instructive.

    This is a franchise that's dealt with death, murder, attempted abortion, and domestic abuse. Why are those excusable, but Julius Peppers standing in a locker room is a more deadly sin? Each of those actions were undertaken by individual players without the blessing or support of their teammates, the organization, or the league. Any group will always have the odd knucklehead here and there, and that isn't usually the organization's fault. I didn't catch all of what Peppers said, but I've heard that he was quite specific about what he was and wasn't protesting for or against, and that it had nothing to do with a flag, anthem, patriotism, etc. Considering that players have only been standing out there for an anthem for the last decade or so, and Peppers has been around longer than that, and he thoughtfully explained his intentions, I'm willing to give him a pass. Like I said above, the Dallas model seems to me a compromise that can make everyone happy, and maybe Peppers was already thinking along those lines.

    I am certain, faced with a choice of one done against me, Julius Peppers standing in a different room than me is the one I'd have in my life. I've never stood in the same room with him ever, but I've always respected him and still do.
    Responses are in red above.
    "I don't know whether the world is run by smart men who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

  7. #7
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    I find the troops thing specifically disingenuous. The flag and the anthem aren't synonymous with the country, it's not a military anthem. It's easy to use the troops, they're generally unassailable unlike police (right or wrong) in public opinion. But we're saluting the country. Not the military.

    I agree that we are saluting the country and not the military, but I think that some family members and people in general can see how or why many would be so disgusted with the timing of the protest.

    The flag and what it represents might be a little more significant to most that have served. I personally have been deployed twice to Iraq, my last deployment in 2011 my secondary duty was a Mortuary Affairs Officer, school trained, since my section had the only Mortuary Affairs NCO, we ran the only Mortuary Affairs Collection Point still open in Iraq during the withdraw. So after my experiences, inevitably I take this time (and many other times too) to honor and remember those lost forever to us and those that are currently in harms ways, defending what the flag represents.

    So this protest while peaceful, lawful and completely protected, it disgusts me, like many other things in life.

    People tend to distance themselves from people, places and things that disgust them.

    I am grateful that the Panthers have remained respectful and I fine with them, but the NFL as a whole, I dont know what I'm going to do? But I am Less interested and spending less money as a result.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan4GS View Post
    Yes, CK hasn't done anything illegal, but I can't agree about the "good things" part. If you pour some sour milk into good milk, would you call it good? Or would you throw it out? Pouring some of the bad into the good makes it bad. CK's bad has destroyed whatever good he may have intended. Other people in the NFL haven't drawn the same ire as CK...why is that? The only guy I really dislike as much as CK is Michael Bennett, he of the infamous recent lie accusing cops of bad things when all they were doing was their jobs (and the video shows his story to be false).
    Hard to say. As a lifelong Republican, I believe Obama has been much better and much more respectful of the office than Trump has. Good isn't undone because someone doesn't like it, I believe. I don't think we've hit a point where "half the people don't like it", or "I don't like his socks/T-shirt" mean it washes away anything good. But, the focus is also basically only on the bad.

    I don't believe Obama would've done that, but I get the analogy. Certainly, zero people had any concern for the sanctity of the anthem when Tebow did his. I honestly do believe there's a double standard there.

    One last thought...what is the protest really accomplishing? Is it helping kids in poverty get out? Is it providing more jobs, feeding the hungry, or bringing the country together? Has it stopped police from shooting people? Is there a better way to bring help to those that need it and actually make a difference or is this just virtue signaling so that half the country salutes what they are doing and brings attention to them (While making the other half angry)? I can't answer any of those and won't presume to judge someone's intentions, but I think they are valid questions.
    Very little - and I think we're to blame, to a point - focusing on the what and not the why. But Colin's branding in this has been very poor, too. Getting tangled up in Castro because he wants to wear a Malcolm X t-shirt, for instance. The branding has to be clear, because even now, we're not talking about how POC are disparately dying at what should be routine traffic stops. We're talking about socks.

    It's intended to start a dialogue, but for the most part, nothing has changed. You could say, nothing will. That'd be sad, but it also feels true. If I had a platform, I would struggle with the weight, but I think there'd be a want to make things better.

    To further the idea of "why is a sporting event also a patriotic event", to a point more ambiguous - why at any point did the NFL become, and attempt to embrace, the concept of being the nation's moral compass? As has been said, these are guys who are paid to beat their bodies into other bodies, violently. Somewhere the line went from, "don't be terrible, kids are watching", to this idea that NFL players are the ones who have to set the moral agenda. I'm not pretending I want murderers for hire, but I'm expecting absolutely nothing about life to be learned from anyone on that field.
    Last edited by magnus; 09-26-2017 at 06:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by denny View Post
    I would like to believe that is true.
    Peppers specifically stated so. I think there has to be, more universally, an openness to be willing to hear what's being said, and not how. I get how matters. I just think we've talked a lot about the how. I don't expect CK to be popular (and I restate, I believe his timing was poor, relative to his career). Muhammad Ali is more revered than CK will ever be, and he was remarkably unpopular during his stand. Jackie Robinson didn't even really take a stand, he just showed up. It wasn't to universal acclaim. I'm proud of Julius, either way.

    I do want to go back to the idea of real versus perceived oppression. Having more freedom here than, say, Kurds have in Iraq (and trust me, I've got my eye on it) or women have in many arabic nations, doesn't mean things are perfect or right. I agree perspective is valuable. I also believe that if I believed I could get pulled over based on my appearance, and that people die at traffic stops, I'm feeling that oppression. People of color, in general, I'd call a level of oppressed. Right now in the basic ideals of the republic, we're fighting gross under-representation of people of color in the police force, gerrymandering to cancel votes, and a recent election that saw a massive wave of racial nationalism. I'm appalled. And I'm not the one they're after.

    I think the players got sucked into joining his protest as a means of expressing their unhappiness with last November's election results without thinking too deeply about what they were identifying with or against.
    the protest happened in August '16, to start, and Kaepernick hasn't (to my knowledge) addressed the current President. If that's what this has become, now, then I get that - and I'd see a more direct link between "the President" = "the government" = "the flag". There's a very, very logical tie there. Moreso to me, than "flag = military". I was a scout, I was taught what to do and not. I get there's a link. But that specifically, to me, is representative of country, not military. The military aren't pawns. You don't trot out "we should help homeless vets" because you got manipulated into a facebook meme about not wanting Syrian refugees (and then immediately do nothing about troops, current or past).



    I think you get my point, in general. Someone disagreeing with me has never bothered me, but I'd never want my friends, loved ones, hated ones beaten, raped, murdered. I support the right to boycott, but I think this is less offensive, severe, than other things that would or could rankle me. What I'm getting out of this, possibly, is the difference is intentional action versus mistake of passion, to a point? I've found a rational, reasonable person here, and I can't expect you to answer for all the "woooo we got Frank Clark, but if they sign Kaepernick I'm gonna burn my jersey" wasters.



    KY, thank you for your service and your perspective (I am, of course, well overdue to restate same for Denny).
    Last edited by magnus; 09-26-2017 at 06:49 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by magnus View Post
    I also believe that if I believed I could get pulled over based on my appearance, and that people die at traffic stops, I'm feeling that oppression. People of color, in general, I'd call a level of oppressed. Right now in the basic ideals of the republic, we're fighting gross under-representation of people of color in the police force, gerrymandering to cancel votes, and a recent election that saw a massive wave of racial nationalism. I'm appalled. And I'm not the one they're after.
    I think some of where we disagree comes down to the very facts of the matter. For example, you mention the under-representation of people of color in the police force. I have several good friends in recruiting here in Charlotte so I'll speak to that, but I bet other departments have the same issues. The problem isn't that we aren't recruiting minorities, it's that they don't want to join. The stereotyping of police has cast such a negative image to the majority of minorities that those who do wish to join are often castigated for wanting to do so. Even showing support for the police has resulted in negative consequences for certain minorities from their immediate family members. I was thinking about getting into recruiting but told to not bother applying because the recruiting department would only take minorities to better try to recruit more minorities. Meanwhile, I've been told that white people are a "dime a dozen". It took me, as a white male, twice as long as it took the minorities in my recruiting class to get in. While I was waiting, I was working for $11.72/hour with no benefits (vacation, health care, etc).

    You mention gerrymandering. It'd be silly to say that doesn't happen, but it also happens on both sides. Both sides should be condemned for it. Just so happens in NC the legislature is currently Republican so they are the latest offenders.

    You mention a "massive wave of racial nationalism." I don't agree. I think that was very largely overblown. Facts say that Trump received less votes in key northern states (I think it might have been Wisconsin and Michigan but somewhere in that area) than Bush or Romney did, and while Bush/Romney lost those states, Trump won. I think Republicans held their nose while they voted for Trump while Democrats decided Hillary was so reprehensible they wouldn't vote, period. The numbers back that up. Trump was NOT popular and the Republicans I know that voted for him strongly disliked him but disliked Hillary even more. That's not to say that there aren't legitimate Trump lovers out there, but to say it was "racial nationalism" that got him in doesn't seem right. It was his opponent being more reprehensible than he was that got him in.

    Lastly, you mention that people get pulled over for the color of their skin and killed because of their race. I don't doubt that there are times the color of their skin is a factor, but the % of stops that actually happens is so tiny. It gets overblown because of the stereotyping of police. When a white person gets pulled over and confronted by a jerk officer (and there are plenty of jerks), they don't say it's because of the color of their skin, they say it's because the officer is a jerk. If a black person gets pulled over and confronted by a jerk officer, they claim racism. But what if it's not racism and it's just that the officer is a jerk? Jerks are equal opportunity! So the narrative becomes that cops are racist and target people of minority but the fact is people don't understand police work and what constitutes a lawful stop. I've encountered this DOZENS of times in my career.

    As to people being shot for the color of their skin, this is another narrative the media wants people to believe but just isn't true outside of the exceedingly rare occurrence. Again, this comes down to people not understanding how law enforcement operates and what constitutes probable cause/reasonable suspicion, etc. I think the shooting in SC was bad. The one where the black man trying to assist the mentally disabled person and clearly had his hands up was bad. Most of these other ones are either legally justified or, once the whole story actually comes out, the majority of Americans agree was totally justified (meaning, not just legally, but it SHOULD have happened instead of "it was a bad decision but it was legal.")

    There are about 8-10 police shootings a year that are even discussed as being potentially racist/clearly wrong. Although one bad shooting is wrong and a travesty, given the MILLIONS of times police interact with civilians, especially minorities, claiming this is an epidemic is just not true and hurts minorities because it creates a mistrust that shouldn't be there and leads people to act differently than they otherwise would. Now instead of people obeying law enforcement and things staying calm, people believe the police will kill them no matter what so they disregard lawful orders and escalate the situation to where the Officer MUST act just so he can do his job and/or go home at the end of the day.

    Police are far from perfect and I readily admit my experience comes from Charlotte, specifically the Steele Creek area (SW Charlotte). But I know the situations I've been in and based on conversations with other Officers elsewhere in the country, policing is the same pretty much wherever you go. Smaller departments don't get as much training as some of the larger ones, but all in all, it's really very hard to say statistically that police target minorities and there is a wave of unjustified killings. It's just not true.

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