Nonviolent Protest: A Primer

On Sunday, two dozen NFL teams demonstrated an act of nonviolent protest– and the country lost its shit.

During the national anthem (you know, that five-minute block of time when you stock up on nachos and beer), NFL players either took a knee on the field or locked arms with teammates to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick who has been taking a knee during the anthem to protest how America treats its minorities.

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“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

This totally legal, constitutionally recognized form of protest incensed our Commander in Chief so much that he Tweeted out a suggestion that NFL owners fire players who disrespect the anthem. Keep in mind, Mr. Trump has never actually read the Constitution, but ignorance is never an excuse for assholery.

Asking for equal rights is not a crime. The (mostly white) people who objected to this display seemed to forget that sometimes social change only happens when symbolic protests bring an issue to our attention.

NASCAR (pretty much the whitest sport in the U.S.) took a stand against the #TakeAKnee movement. NASCAR owners threatened to fire anyone who participated in the protest.

Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, declared that “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.”

But that’s just it. The United States embraces nonviolent protests. Or at least we should.

Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., suffragettes, Henry David Thoreau and the Dalai Lama have all used the technique to gain attention. Even John Lennon peacefully protested the Vietnam War when he and Yoko Ono spent their honeymoon having a “Bed-In” at a hotel in Amsterdam. A Bed-In is definitely a peaceful movement I can get behind.

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(I’m going to nonviolently protest winter by staying in bed until May.)

These actions have nothing to do with disrespecting the flag,  dishonoring our military or cheapening our extremely long, difficult to sing national anthem. You don’t have to agree with the kneelers. You don’t even have to believe in their cause. But you DO have to respect their right to protest.

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It’s. Still. Summer.

There are people out there (yes, I’m talking to you), who love to discuss the waning days of summer; who anticipate the slow dimming of the sun as society returns to a state of hibernation. To these people, I say, “Shut the hell up.”

The only thing that gets me through stupid Utah winters, is the idea of summer. In January, I’m already counting the days until I can pack up my heavy sweaters and run around barefoot in the grass. I’m like the Olaf of Salt Lake.

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(I’m totally cool with summer.)

But YOU. YOU can’t stop talking about pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice lotions, pumpkin spice spice or any other fall squash-related products. Here’s a clue–IT’S NOT FALL YET!!!! Give me just a few more weeks of watching summer sunsets, wearing shorts instead of parkas, being eaten by mosquitos while I munch on gooey s’mores and walking Ringo without having to wear LAYERS.

Plus, it was so dismally rainy here in August that I’m pretty sure we should get a do-over for the past month.

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(In the house. In the rain. In August.)

I’m working with local legislators to create a law banning NFL and high school football Facebook posts, discussions or games until after Sept. 22. As part of this law, it will be punishable to sell fall-related foods, clothing or craft items until the first day of autumn. (Hey, it makes as much sense as the majority of Utah’s laws.) There will be no Halloween costumes. No candy corn. No scarecrows decorations. No delightfully arranged fall centerpieces. NOTHING until summer is officially over.

Give me time to mourn the waning of warmth without your insane anticipation for the fall season.

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(My daughter and grandson enjoy summer, too.)

My mind is simple. I enjoy simple things. A fresh peach, a handful of raspberries, a BLT with real tomatoes (not grocery stores knock-offs), the sun on my face–even a few more freckles on my shoulders. On the first day of fall, I will wake up with a deep sadness, but will look forward to autumnal traditions, including enjoying the beauty of the season.

But until then, I will rage against the dying of the light!