By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
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Regardless of weekly content, this column is designed to help others expand their way of thinking and promote creativity, empathy, and thought in general.
If you are reading, I can assume that you are somewhat familiar with current events. I also want to state that I do not care for politics, sports, controversial events, and even further disdain writing about them, but… Well, here we go.
Recently, Nike put Colin Kaepernick front and center in one of their ads, stating to “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Regardless of your or my feelings about anything I just mentioned (including sports), we all can agree that it is a hot topic for debate that tends to be carried on consistently.
But here is what bothers me the most about controversy—I never see people speak to each other in real life the way they do over the internet. People have developed perhaps a venom tongue, as long as they have a feeling of anonymity. However, when we stare at a screen, it is easy to de-personify text on a screen, to take the words of someone else and assign them as lesser value because of not knowing the meaning behind it.
Also, while I read heated arguments online, I have never in my life been in a heated argument about politics. People tend to be more respectful when they can see a person behind the words, to see a perspective rather than what they would consider a lesser idea. When we can see that an issue can impact someone else and how it can, it helps humanize the topic for us.
I do have to say that misinformation is at an all-time high. We have the gift—and the curse—of having almost any information we want at our fingertips. However, with all that is offered, it is hard to find the truth. If we take even the simplest action, and analyze it to its core, perhaps we can find something relatable. For instance, if we take into consideration the infamous kneel and the reason behind it, instead of all of us blaming each other’s side maybe we might learn something.
That being said, I am not a fan of football (*gasp*), and I am even more not a fan of politics. I personally think that if people want to make a difference, they would do it on their own time. I can admit though, when the camera is shining on you, that is when you will get the most attention. But the whole issue of his kneeling is not against our armed forces like people believe it is, nor is it against the Police Force itself. It is against Police brutality.
Let’s be very clear here. I respect Law Enforcement Officers immensely, and I would not want to have their job. They hold a large part of responsibility in keeping the community safe. However, with any position of power a person gets into, it can cause a person to begin to act without anticipation of repercussion. Not all Police Officers are guilty of this, and someone who truly believes in the advancement of civil and human rights would never make the assumption and generalization of such.
I think we can agree that brutality from ANY source is never quite welcome. I also like to think that people are smart enough to stay educated, although that is sometimes not the case.
Here is where I tie all of this together and how it impacts our lives—I think the Nike ad is ill-worded. I understand and respect what they are trying to say, but belief in something and chasing it at all costs can be detrimental. Consider this uncouth, but didn’t Hitler believe in the Third Reich, and the superior race? At what cost emotionally, physically, mentally, monetarily, and historically did the dream he had cost humankind?*
It is time we stop living life for the sole enjoyment of ourselves. I have long believed the key to happiness in life is how we can help and positively impact the world around us for the people we know and love. The greatest impact we can have is making the sun shine a little brighter for someone else. The biggest comfort we may be able to provide others comes from a smile and kind words.
So if I wanted to believe in something, possibly sacrificing everything, I want to believe the media does exaggerate and sensationalize news, and that things are not as bad as they seem. I want to believe that we are capable of loving one another unconditionally, regardless of class, color, religious belief. For once, I want to believe in myself, and the focus on encouraging others I try to maintain. But lastly, and certainly not least, I want to believe in you, whether you choose to wear Nikes or not.
*At no point am I comparing Hitler to a football player, but if I have to explain that to keep you calm, maybe you should try to think a little more objectively and less emotionally.
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