• Jim Costa

Jim’s Rant For The Day. Kneeling and Dr. Stephen Hawking.

When I was reading Dr. Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, which dealt with the creation and workings of the solar system, I had to set it down for a few days because it overwhelmed my mind. Looking back on those few days, I am reminded of the scene in the 1983 movie, WarGames, when the computer “Whopper” was recomputing thermonuclear war to see if it could be won. That is how my mind was working during the days the book sat.

You see, Hawking said that when you look at a star at night you are not looking at where it is, you are only looking at where it was a million years ago. This is because the light emanating from it took a million years to reach earth and thus the traveling star is actually way over there somewhere by now.

That in itself was not a difficult concept to grasp. What was hard to grasp was that before I read that I was certain I was pointing to where the star was located. If I was that wrong about such a certainty, what else in life was I capable of being wrong about that I was heretofore certain of? I read his book 30 years ago and my whopper is still computing and searching for that answer. Hawking’s book definitely changed my life.

Currently there is a lot of hoopla, press coverage and anxiety about pro athletes kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance. I have avoided those news stories because: I personally feel we are being divided with it by the press and others; the ship of state is going down and we need to focus on that and not on those individuals; and lastly, I personally crossed that bridge a long time ago and need not compute what it means to me now. I already know.

My beef with the press is that they are saying that for every ten athletes kneeling, there is but one reason why – racial inequality. My belief is that for every ten athletes, there are probably 7 reasons for their actions. We are all on our own life path and like the blind men touching an elephant for the first time, we each see things differently. Yet the press is eager to paint them all with the same brush of racial division. Couldn’t it be that one athlete lost a loved one charging up Pork Chop Hill in the Middle East in order to accomplish absolutely nothing, as ordered by his country, and that is his beef with the allegiance?

Let’s do one of Einstein’s mind experiments. Knowing what you think you know now, if you lived in Germany during the rein of Hitler, would you have given the Nazi Salute? Wouldn’t there have been a number of persons early on not saluting? Wouldn’t there have been a number of people near the end of the war giving up on that salute before others did? Wouldn’t both sets of those persons have paid some kind of a price for their decision to not conform? Lastly, in your mind’s eye, would they have been right or wrong to act the way they did?

Yesterday I heard Michael Rivero say it has been estimated that since WWII, the United States has caused the death of more than 20 million people. If one considers that true, couldn’t one be concerned that pledging allegiance to such an organization is tantamount to saying, “Atta boy, carry on.”?

I do not know what your opinion is on the kneelers, I only know mine after years of consideration on the subject, but in the end it is just that, my personal opinion. I could be wrong.

But here is my question to you. The next night you raise your arm above your head, as if saluting, and point out the Big Dipper to another, will you consider that you are conforming but are actually wrong? Will you break with conformity and say, “I am pointing this out but it is really way over there.” (Translation: “I love my country but it is now way over the line and needs to change.”). Or will you just conform and pledge allegiance to the country you knew at age 9 although you now believe that it is way over there?

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