For months, the battle was fought on TV and social media about kneeling for the National Anthem by the NFL. I do not wish to talk about that, but I do have something to say related to it. For months, old-time fans and non-Disney-beholden analysts figured out, by NOT listening to the conservative side of your fan base, the NFL would lose fans and still not please the protesters. The fact that the majority of protesters rejected the sweetheart deal the NFL worked out with the "player representatives" and the empty seats I saw Sunday in Kansas City- a city that used to hold records for sell-outs- on a day the team was trying to clinch their division, pretty much proved that those predictions rang true.
Another story: I was reading the report on a woman who had a United ticket to go back home, but when she got to the airport, United claimed "the passenger had cancelled it by app, and the seat went to the first person on the waiting list". Who just "happened" to be Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Problem here isn't her affiliation, nor whether the person rally cancelled the seat or not. But the problem comes when the woman took a picture of the Congresswoman to post on her social media as she battled with the airline over the situation. Jackson Lee, asked for comment later, opined that the woman "thought that I, as an African-American, would be an easy victim." More on this later.
Story three involves a two-day long twitter battle I watched between William Shatner and a group of people I might have defended a few months ago. Shatner had made a friend in Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olson, a nominee for Walter Payton Man Of The Year. (BTW, a non-kneeling white guy, for those that think that makes a difference.) The NFL and the players association have teamed up to provide a way for fans to vote via hashtags, and Shatner had been beating the drum for Olson. And for his efforts, which if successful would mean a windfall for Olson's children's charity foundation, he was- and is being- attacked by a group of people so incensed over the kneeling mentioned above, that they think supporting ANY NFL player for ANY cause is an "insult to the flag"- and an insult to the flag is far more important than any child that Olson's charity can help. Olson is an NFL player- he is therefore evil- and thus so is Shatner.
This is where we have gone wrong. Nobody can hear beyond their set of causes and sound bites. No, strike that. They can hear, they just don't want to.
Yesterday, on a nice Christian post by a relative of Laurie's, an atheist commented in amazingly polite opposition, citing that "If God was all you claimed, why wouldn't He want to show Himself?" and continuing with that Christian interference in the nation's laws makes us somehow the bad guy. Even though I knew what to expect, I relied on God's inspiration to give him a polite response, pointing out that God HAS shown Himself- the Word, the Prophets, the pastors we have and the opportunity to share that word- if not to his expectations, well, Jesus didn't perform signs for unbelievers. I also explained to him that once you make that decision against God, He respects your decision and closes your ears, and thus what is a Living Word to Christians is a book one can't understand to unbelievers. His reply, as usual, was the third pillar of atheist excuses- the Bible is "full of contradictions" and thus not worth looking into. Thus proving my point, but I knew he wouldn't catch that either.
Because he had made his decision. He can NO LONGER listen.
The NFL was not long ago the foremost brand-protective enterprise in the world- "Protect the shield" was the mantra. But now, because they would not listen past their own POV, they are being discussed as a case study in brand destruction by reputable business schools.
Sheila Jackson Lee didn't listen either. She heard all her usual rhetoric, that if a black person is involved in anything, the "cause" is white privilege and white prejudice. Despite the fact that a clear thinking idiot would realize the woman wasn't upset at losing her seat to an African-American, but to a privileged big-shot. Didn't matter if it was her, or Donald Trump or George Soros or Jeb Bush. They had money- they got the seat. But SJL can't hear things that blame herself or her OWN privilege; it must be because the woman's a racist.
The people attacking Shatner have a cause, some would say a good cause. I myself would say a good cause. BUT, they are fighting it in an arena just as poorly picked as the one the protesters chose, and look just as stupid doing it. And they aren't hurting the protesters or William Shatner one bit.
Here, people, is who their idiot battle is hurting.
In 2009, after watching his mother tackle and survive breast cancer, Greg Olsen founded Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation. The Foundation's Receiving Hope program focuses on cancer research and education programming. The program has distributed over $524,000 to six hospitals and foundations nationwide, with funding generated by events executed entirely by Greg. The program's most notable and largest fundraiser, Kicks for a Cure, has raised over $850,000 in its eight year history.
In early 2013, Greg and his wife Kara founded the HEARTest Yard Fund after a routine examination of their unborn son, T.J., revealed the infant had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital defect marked by an underdeveloped left ventricle and aorta. The HEARTest Yard Fund is a family service program administered in conjunction with Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. The cutting-edge program provides families of babies affected by congenital heart disease with services including in-home, private nursing care, physical therapy and speech therapy, all at no cost to the families or hospital. The program provides about $25,000 - $30,000 worth of nursing care (approx. 460 hours) per family during the first six months of the baby's life. Since its inception, the fund has distributed nearly $1.7 million in support.
There are people, like the guy on FB, who cannot listen. But people like the NFL, like the Shatner attackers, like SJL, they COULD listen. If they would quit clogging their ears with sound bites, slap themselves a couple of times, and LISTEN to what they are saying.
They claim to fight hate and prejudice, but foster it. They claim to be inclusive, but they are anything but. And it all starts when you let your ideology work your mouth, rather than studying a matter to its fullest.
And I am far from innocent. After ending one week with a tired tirade over something stupid at work, I posted a Bible verse the next Monday on my scoreboard. A verse, when I read it that night, made me drop my head in shame. It went like this:
37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?
So if I could give that one gift to the world this Christmas, it would be simply this:
Listen. Not to the stuff playing in your own head, but to what the other person is saying. To what GOD is saying. Listen, and make it a better world.