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August 2018

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NFL Kneelers Don't Understand WHY the Anthem is Played

Just had this one published in The Daily Caller which you can find here or you can just keep reading…

NFL kneelers have started a firestorm regarding our National Anthem and article after article have discussed what the National Anthem means.  Although perhaps well intentioned, most of these discussions miss the main issue.

The issue is not what the National Anthem might mean to this or that individual but rather why the National Anthem, or in smaller settings the Pledge of Allegiance, is performed before public gatherings.  And that why is unity.

Before the city council meeting or before a town hall or even yes, before a sporting event the National Anthem is performed as a sign of unity.  Before we start debating this or that point, before we perhaps engage in heated debate, and yes before we go out on the field and try to beat the tar out of the other guy we pause for and acknowledge our collective unity.

The fighting can start after that but first comes a communal declaration that we are all one; unified as Americans.

This is why the NFL kneeling movement is so divisive.  The kneelers might think they are making a point about this or that injustice but viewed from the true meaning as to why the Anthem is played, they are directly challenging the unity of America.

They are making a declaration that they are not united with the rest as Americans; that we and they are not first and foremost Americans.

Whether this is their intent or not is irrelevant.  They seem to think that because a football game is about to start, we just happen to play the National Anthem.  The why seems to be lost on them.

For an individual the meaning of the National Anthem might vary greatly.  But regardless of how we might feel about the meaning, the why it is performed, generally by all in attendance, is very clear.

Standing and honoring the National Anthem isn’t about its meaning, it is about unity.  And not surprisingly, it is by its very nature disruptive when one actively protests during a brief period of collective unity.

Whatever these kneelers desire – and that seems to cover many disparate issues - attacking unity is never going to be a unifying event.  Just ain’t going to happen.

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.

NFL Kneelers - How About Standing For School Choice?

Just had this one published at The American Thinker which you can find here or you can just keep reading…

Hey NFL kneelers.  So you are upset far too many poor black and brown kids are getting screwed by “the system”?  Me too.  Although I am a person of pallor, in my business travels I’ve been to some of the toughest neighborhoods in this country.  I’ve seen the reality these kids face.  Far too many are literally screwed from the womb and other than a minuscule chance of making it to pro sports like you all have, the opportunity of a quality education is their one and only hope.

Yet the schools they are forced to attend are a national and moral disgrace.  Their young lives are being destroyed before they even have a chance.  What future awaits a 12 year old who has terrible reading, writing, math, and language skills? These kids aren’t stupid; they know and they act accordingly. 

If you want to end “police brutality” and various criminal system problems that plague young black men, end the driver of these behaviors which is rooted in this obscene failure of public K-12 education.

Do you know the average black kid graduates high school with what is in effect an 8th grade education?  Only 1 in 20 black students, 5% were rated college-ready in the four areas of English, reading, mathematics and science.  Do you think all of this this might affect their lives in a negative fashion?  Do you think this might only re-enforce racist beliefs?

Talk to one of your fellow super star athletics, 4 time Olympic gold medal winner and the star who almost single handedly made the new WNBA, Lisa Leslie.  She was the most heavily college recruited woman of all time.  She tells a heartbreaking story of her ordeal in passing college entrance exams.  She was one of the top students in her high school class yet she initially failed these exams.  As she notes, she’s not stupid it’s just that she was never even exposed to the words and thoughts on these tests. 

She also notes she was pissed off when this happened as she discovered just how badly the school system had failed her and thousands like her.  I’d guess many of you have had similar experiences.  This is called the bigotry of low expectations and it too helps damage far too many young lives.

Imagine what would have happened if a hundred years ago it was decided those Irish or Italian or whatever were just too dang stupid to learn proper English so they were taught a “dumbed down” version.  Do you think this might have impacted their ability to advance in society?  If this had happened it would have guaranteed they and their off-spring would still be occupying the lowest economic and social rung.

Yet how many of you can have a future in broadcasting and communication or do your poor language and speaking skills take you out of the running regardless of what intelligence and insights you might bring to the table?  The schools failed you and as you live every day, the damage goes on for a lifetime.

School choice is the only solution to it all.  The way to end unwanted police attention is to end the sad state of black criminal activities  and the way to end many of those is by giving these kids a chance at a better life through a quality education.

Few parents would voluntarily send their children to these schools if they had other options.  If parents were given control of all the money spent to educate their kids – in some sort of state-regulated environment of course - it would be a game changer.  And since the schools in the hood almost always spend far more than average, almost $30,000 per pupil in DC, for the first time in history poor parents would actually have MORE money to control than their rich suburban neighbors. 

Think of it, YOU could be the catalyst to make this happen.  Your actions could forever change the trajectory of young black and brown lives in this country.  You could take your place among the greatest Americans of all time.

Rather than taking a knee, how about raising your voices for school choice and to at least give these kids a chance at a better life?

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, www.eicenterprises.org, a USA-based 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education.