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Enough already. Aren’t the protests getting old? We know, you don’t like what you’re seeing. And yes, we are aware that it keeps happening. Shows no signs of stopping, in fact.

Seems like every week another young black man goes down.

But c’mon. We both know you are blowing this out of proportion. You can’t actually be this offended at what’s going on, can you? Well, even if you are, this is not your moment. So give it a rest.

We know, people have died. You just want to bring attention to them. Because if not you, then who? I have news for you: People die all the time. It’s an imperfect world. They will get the attention they deserve, no thanks to your protests. But does it have to be during those two minutes? There are like 1,438 other minutes to stand up for those folks every day!

You are angry. We can see that. You think the world is against you. Against your values. But the problem isn’t the world.

The problem is your particular brand of patriotism. It’s shallow. It’s ignorant. It’s depressingly unimaginative. And it’s getting in the way of important conversations that need to happen.

No, I’m not talking to the folks out there “pulling a Kaepernick.” I’m talking to the Rob Lowes, the Trent Dilfers, the Jerry Joneses, and the Kate Uptons of the world. And yes, even the Ruth Bader Ginsbergs of the world, who just this week weighed in on the subject by referring to the protests as “dumb” and “arrogant.”

I’m talking to the folks who have taken it upon themselves to define what patriotism is supposed to look like for the rest of us.

The folks who have a hard time grasping that “love of country” might be as complicated as all the other kinds of love we have.

The folks whose conception of the world is so fragile that one man, in one stadium, on one day of the week, sitting out of one song, is enough to push them over the edge.

The folks who are already riled up on Facebook having just learned that Colin Kaepernick is slated to start at QB this week against the Bills.

Hey, look, I know you are scared. Watching a few people sit out of that sing-along makes you feel really strong feelings. Big feelings. Uncomfortable feelings. What if everyone decides to sit down? What if we forget? We promised to #neverforget.

It’s like I tell my 3 year-old son, it’s OK to have really big feelings. We all have really big feelings sometimes. Like when I watched the video of Terrence Crutcher being shot dead by the cops who are charged with protecting us. Like when I read David Brooks’s tone deaf op-ed piece on how the solution to our current problem of racial injustice is for people to just sing that song a little louder – you know, like you mean it. And when I read Kate Upton’s comment that sitting down during the national anthem on September 11th is “horrific.” (For the record, Kate, actually dying in 9/11 was horrific. Watching a few football players kneel during a song being played 15 years after 9/11, who explicitly stated they did so for reasons very clearly having nothing to do with disrespecting the fallen of 9/11, that’s, I dunno, a mild annoyance?)

Anyways, guys and gals, we all feel big feelings sometimes. For my 3 year old, that is where it stops. He doesn’t have the ability to think rationally about those big feelings and try to put things in perspective.

But you? You are grown men and women. Feel your big feelings. But then stop and think about them. Ask yourself, is refusing to stand during the anthem, however offensive you may personally find this action to be, really a problem on par with the things we are watching unfold in the streets of Tulsa, Columbus, Charlotte and all the many cities that came before?

By all means, stand up during the anthem. Do what you want with those two minutes. But the rest of the time?

Try to have a little perspective. If you don’t want to take part in the national conversation about racial injustice some folks are trying to have – that’s OK. This is America after all. But the least you can do is stop creating unnecessary distractions.

Jesse Stone

Jesse B. Stone loves science and writing. Apologies if you were looking for the "Jesse Stone" played by Tom Selleck in the CBS movies.

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