Loyalty to Country, Loyalty to Racial Unity?
Taken from a discussion on DallasMavsBasketball.com Sports forum.
ThunderMav. First of all I truly respect your service to our country. I also enjoy your excellent (most of the time) contributions to this board. I chose not to serve in Vietnam in 1974 as we were the first class to not get drafted. We all knew numerous friends one year older than us who died in Vietnam. None of us signed up for obvious reasons. But, my brother later served for 23 years and my Father also served in Korea. I think I understand the betrayal you feel because the Flag is part of the definition of the Honor you served with.
I respect the pain you feel at others striking at you and those who have served in the worst possible way.
Here is how I have tried, with some success but not total success by any means at handling the betrayal feelings I have felt since the kneeling began. Here goes: The people who are kneeling are coming from a place of incredible emotion as well. They too have an incredibly important concern. They feel betrayed because they are losing people important to them. That dynamic may be very close to the feeling of losing friends in battle…at least I try to relate to that way. Both groups of people have understandably strong emotions.
So why did they have to choose the Flag to make their extremely legitimate point. I imagine their point of view to be: getting societies attention is best done by using the very thing that is most important to Americans, the police, white people…whoever they seek to target. Their idea was that their target audience would finally listen if they used the flag. They were hopefully not thinking about what this does to you and those who have served. Their own legitimate pain has caused any concern they may have had for those who served to fall by the wayside in favor of voicing their own painful concerns.
I would be very interested to hear the viewpoints of African Americans who have served. They, as long as they have achieved the sense of honor that goes with serving their country, would be able to relate to both extremely important concerns.(Yesterday, 10:04 PM)Reunion Mav Wrote:
I’m an African American and an American Veteran as well.
I do appreciate both points of view very much. As an African American I’ve lived long enough to experience some very, very blatant racism as well as the more subtle but just as damaging effects of racial bias expressed against us in particular. Sometimes our issues are lumped in and compared only as those of minorities, with the many shared issues of minorities, but the effect is different for African Americans.
Yes, it does go back to slavery, but also to many more years of legalized race based discrimination after slavery. Then there’s all the cascading effects that live on from slavery and legalized discrimination.
Even though the civil rights movement eliminated the discrimination on paper, African Americans carry a different mindset.
Its a community scar. Its very, very, very real. When something happens, like George Floyd, like Sandra Bland, like Ahmad Arbery, to be honest, its not just a “rational” reaction. Its emotional. It drags up decades of stuff. that’s particular to this country’s history with this race.
In my case I’m not typical in my own disposition, I’m a veteran, and I’m an ordained minister as well.
So I fully share the high sense of loyalty to the USA and the flag that represents that loyalty. I don’t at all like seeing the flag disrespected. But I also get it. Its looking for a way to make a statement, rational or not rational, because what we see done to other African Americans and being done, is also not rational.
Its not rational to keep your knee and weight on a man’s neck, who can’t breathe, and you know it, with people all around you watching, and crying out about it. So the reactions at some point become equally, irrational.
My values are spiritually, theologically based, so I’m really not in the mainstream of what has become black political thought, but at the same time I’m totally dialed into it, all the time. Its an integral part of what I do in fact.
I say that to say, you have to get the emotions on both sides of the issue to appreciate the divide. The rational arguments alone won’t cut it.
A lot of Americans don’t see loyalty to the flag and country the same way it was seen, not at all. Remember military service became voluntary all way back in 1973. An entire generation hasn’t learned that sense of obligation and responsibility to the country the way it was taught through the older military generation. The view again of loyalty is quite different across the population now. I’ve talked to young people that take loyalty as almost a bad word to bring up in this context. To who, and to what? That’s the idea I hear.
Loyalty to country vs loyalty to racial equality. Where is the line? Isn’t this essentially an argument about what is agreed to as being right vs wrong? Isn’t that what is meant by values? At one time, Americans, of all races, had more common agreement on that. Not so much now.
Right now, its a deep and wide divide.