On this Labor Day holiday, we once again celebrate work and the workers who have and will produce the products and services that make a difference to us all. But I fear we have somehow forgotten how much work it takes to keep America the blessing that it truly is.
Oh yes. America remains a work in progress. There will always be obstacles, setbacks and disappointments, but what a blessing it is to live in this great land. The opening line of our national anthem could also point to the challenge we still face—“Oh, say can you see….”
It’s clear that not everyone can see the blessing it is to live here. The columns and the talk shows have been abuzz about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem at their games until America’s oppression of blacks and minorities ends.
He certainly has a right to take that stand, but he also must face the other Americans who are angered by his decision. Many Americans are offended by how his actions dishonor the men and women who fought and gave their lives to secure the freedoms and blessings he seems to disregard. There are even videos of former fans burning his jersey.
My initial response was also anger and disappointment, but it has given away to a deep sadness for Colin, for the “Black Lives Matter” protestors, and all of those who cannot see the blessing that America is.
I have Colin’s jersey. I’m a fan and have been since the days I saw him play at the University of Nevada Reno. He was a warrior on the field with a strong arm, a fast, elusive running style, and a will to do whatever it takes to win. What was not to like? From the beginning, I was ready to applaud on the sidelines of his life.
It’s the same way I feel about every American. I don’t care what your age, race, religion or income level; I want you to be successful. This is a country founded on optimism and opportunity, not oppression. Sure, you can find examples of bias and not every citizen is a joy to encounter, but think of your own neighbors, co-workers and those you serve. This is still a melting pot that cooks up more love and support than hate and oppression. Few leave; millions work to get into this land of the free and the brave. You can look for the worst or the best in us. I stand for the anthem and proudly sing because I do see how blessed I am to be an American.
Joyce Meyer, in The Power of Being Thankful, wrote: “If you have food, clothes, and a place to live, you are more secure than 75 percent of the world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet or spare change at home, you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthiest people. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can read this message, you are more blessed than two billion people in the world who cannot read.”
Many share my wish that our national anthem could be changed to “God Bless America.” Celebrate with me the opening powerful lyrics.
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
God has blessed this country. But the answer lies not in waiting on the sidelines for America to be perfect; it lies in getting in the game with the rest of us. Colin, I want to wear your jersey again with pride. Don’t sit on the bench waiting. Stand up and work with us to keep making America live up to the principles it was founded on and the vision of what it can be.