Rick Monday’s Patriotic Act In 1976 vs. Colin Kaepernick’s Inaction In 2016 Illustrates How Much “Change” We’ve Made In Just 40 Years
In April of 1976, Gerald Ford was our President the day two protestors attempted to burn the U.S. flag in center field of Dodgers Stadium, before thousands of fans who had come to see the visiting Chicago Cubs play the L.A. Dodgers. Before the two were able to light the flag on fire, Cubs center fielder Rick Monday swooped in to save the flag, as you see in this historic video clip from that day at Dodgers Stadium.
1976 was the bicentennial year, and national patriotism was high. Our nation was healing after the Watergate scandal, but the spring and summer of ’76 was helping to heal a nation, bringing us together to celebrate our heritage and our freedom. Enjoying America’s pastime of baseball was the perfect place to escape the realities of life back then, and enjoy time with friends, family and heroes on the baseball field. Rick Monday proved that day that he was that generation’s Joe DiMaggio.
Rick Monday saved one American flag that day from the hands of two self-loathing protesters. While it was carried on the nightly news, President Gerald Ford made no mention of it in his weekly address. Unlike today, Presidents back then rarely reacted publicly to the daily goings on in American life. They only reacted when it was deemed important to the welfare of the nation. There was no press conference, no statement issued to the press, and (thankfully) no flippant tweet or social media post, condemning or condoning the incident.
That Was Then. This Is Now.
Conversely, this week, President Obama did comment publicly on San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s public act of choosing to sit, rather than stand, during the National Anthem. Many condemn his actions as a sign of disrespect toward our nation; some support his actions; some are neutral; and many couldn’t care less.
Unlike President Ford, President Obama did comment publicly. CNN’s headline reads, “Obama says Colin Kaepernick exercizing his Constitutional right.”
“I gotta confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been follow this closely,” Obama said Monday during a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 summit in China. “But my understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.” – Barack Obama
So This Is the “Change We Can Believe In” Mr. Obama Promised Us? Yes It Is.
The past eight years of lawlessness and disrespect give us a glimpse of what our future could be like, if we keep acting more like Colin Kaepernick, and less like Rick Monday. It’s our choice. Looking back in history helps us gain perspective on where we are today. Ask youself, if President Ford had responded in 1976 like Barack Obama responded in 2016, how would U.S. citizens have responded to their President? I believe if President Ford would have condoned such an act, Rick Monday would have been on a flight to D.C. that night to have a little chinwag with Gerry and his crew. Then, there would have been protests, if not riots in the streets of major cities and small town communities.
Letters to the Editor would have flowed in from patriots across the country, calling for the resignation of yet another scoundrel in the White House. Gerald Ford would’ve never, ever uttered such a thing, nor would his successor, Jimmy Carter. Somehow today, we’ve given President Barack Hussein Obama a pass to publicly and without remorse, disapprove of America, and encourage others to do the same. What’s particularly evil and twisted in his rhetoric is that he uses the very freedoms the Constitution guarantees (to choose whether or not to be loyal to our nation) as his own talking points to back-handedly disrespect our forefathers, with no attempt whatsoever to place Colin Kaepernick’s act of defiance into historical or moral context.
The least he could’ve said was say nothing, like President Ford. The least he could’ve stated was, “I disagree with what he did, but I support his Constitutional right to do so.” A terribly un-American thing he could have said was precisely what he did say. That’s change I’ll never, ever believe in.
Today, it’s a mere blip on the 24 hour news circuit, with plenty of angry response blogposts (like this) and social commentary; but no action, no protest. Worse yet, the millionaire entitled little baby who cries “inequity” gets a nod by our elected commander in chief, while our servicepeople and their families who sacrificed their lives, health and well-being to guarantee our freedoms – they get shat upon. Without people serving and sacrificing on behalf of the greater good of this nation and its citizens, African Americans would still be slaves, there would have been no civil rights movement, let alone any contractual allowance for Mr. Kaepernick to earn a multi-million dollar annual contract.
That’s the difference between Mr. Monday and Mr. Payday.
Do we still have a long way to go to empower Americans of all color? Yes, of course. But protesting by disrespecting our nation is no solution at all. Coming to the table without solutions in mind is a no-win scenario. It’s divisive and selfish of Mr. Kaepernick, and his actions only fuel more divisiveness, rather than unity and equality for all. Both he and Barack Obama owe us Americans a heartfelt apology, along with a plan on how they intend to truly overcome oppression, rather than fueling an endless loop ring of fire.
We need more Rick Mondays to celebrate, support and defend our unity, in what they say and do, and fewer posers like Kaepernick and Obama, full of intellectual pride, prejudice and venom toward the very country and its great citizens past and present who helped them reach the pinnacle of success.