Posts Tagged ‘activism’

By R.C. Seely

COLIN KAEPERNICK CREATED a sense of notoriety for himself when he decided that he wouldn’t stand for the national anthem. Since then, the NFL and many of the owners have sanctioned the idea and made it the new policy.

Besides the original protests, Kaepernick joined with the Native American “Unthanksgiving” movement. There has been enough discussion on this matter, so I won’t further engage in it (besides at this point I find it simply boring). Critics of Kaepernick and the other players have called him ungrateful, which got me thinking about gratitude … What is it? How does it affect us?

Author Melody Beattie, has this to say:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” 

    

As appealing as that literary declaration is, does it have anything more substantial to back it? According to a Forbes article by Amy Morin on the subject, yes it does. Here’s a sample:

… In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools [for improving health] that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesnt cost any money and it certainly doesnt take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits: 

1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does sayingthank youconstitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2104 study published in Emotion

2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular checkups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.

3. Gratitude improves psychological healthGratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and wellbeing. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression

4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggressionGrateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky

5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and WellBeing

6. Gratitude improves selfesteemA 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes selfesteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance

7. Gratitude increases mental strengthFor years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma…”


     Kaepernick and the rest of the NFL need to learn a lesson about gratitude, being grateful for their audience. That’s what the major issue has been. Other celebrities have done their protesting at inappropriate times, on the audiences time, and paid the price for it as well. Linda Ronstadt did an anti-bush tirade during a performance in Las Vegas and was booed. That’s not giving gratitude to those who came to hear you sing. Then there are bands like Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold, who can get away with it, but why? It’s more acceptable because both have social and political activism built into their songs. It’s a part of the show that the audience paid for.

    More specifically to the NFL, they not only disrespected the audience, but demonstrated they’re out of touch with them. Many sports enthusiasts are conservative patriots, who view such actions as intolerable. Yes, the players have a right to free speech but at times expressing your views does have consequences. 

    If the NFL wants to gain back the support of their audience they will have to demonstrate they are willing to listen them and the sponsors. Others wise it appears they don’t appreciate them and aren’t dependent on them–which they are! For starters, publicly apologize and don’t let the players protest before the games, save that for their own time.

    As for the issue they are protesting, this is not an effective way to reach people; when a group of rich athletes do a stunt like that they appear out of touch. If they want to demonstrate they truly care, they have to donate their money and time to make those areas of economic turmoil better. Or use your assets to fight against the laws that keep those who live in squalor out of modern slavery–policies such as, the “War on Poverty,” government run Indian reservations or the social welfare programs. 

    I don’t know if Kaepernick, or any of the NFL protestors for that matter, are doing this for themselves or to help others. Fighting against police brutality is an admirable cause but not if you alienate those around you. If you don’t see what you have to be appreciative, you can’t see clearly how fix problems in your life, let alone the world. Gratitude clears your mind and body, making everything better. If Kaepernick had been more grateful he wouldn’t have dropped the ball in his career or his activism.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.