Not long ago I took my trusty Honda Civic in for maintenance. The dealership graciously offers a shuttle service and so I was able to get a ride to work.
“Bob”, the shuttle driver was probably in his late sixties and I was his only passenger this morning.
I don’t recall how it happened, perhaps something was mentioned on the radio, but the topic of conversation turned to professional athletes who kneel as a form of protest during the playing of the national anthem.
It took only a few words for me to know where Bob stood on the issue.
“If they stopped and thought for just one minute about how many soldiers died for their..”
“for their what, Bob? Their freedom?” I interjected.
“Yes!” The word was said with much conviction and energy.
In the very next second though, I saw a cloud of uncertainty wash over his face. Bob looked like a man certain he had been standing on solid rock only to discover it crumbling beneath his feet.
I could tell that the crumbling stone had been some cornerstone of Bob’s belief system. I threw him a lifeline….
“Bob, I served four years in the Marines. I trained for months on how to evacuate American embassies. We did not train to rescue only some Americans. We trained to rescue them all, regardless of their beliefs. I’m a veteran and I have no problem with these guys kneeling during the national anthem. If I don’t, then why should people who never served?”
I have no way of knowing if Bob continues to understand the contradiction and logic errors in his old way of thinking and turned a corner in his life that day, or if he has slid back into the comfort of his old self.
Had I been quicker on my feet that morning, I would have given one more example to Bob. I would have said that if something similar to professional sports existed during Colonial times, I am sure Bob and his brethren would have had no problem with someone refusing to stand during “God Save the Queen”. The only difference between then and now is the oppressor.