If there is something a narcissist loves, it is a mirror. They gaze at them and see an image that is perfect in every way. As the vain gaze at the reflection, they ask themselves, “Who could not adore that image of perfection reflected in the glass?”
All of us look into mirrors on a daily basis. What do you see when your gaze catches your reflection? I glimpse the portrait of my grandfather. The resemblance is eerie at times. I saw something yesterday I did not particularly like seeing. I saw a hypocrite.
Sometimes the mirror is metaphorical, and someone holds one’s image that is uncomfortable to see. That happened to me yesterday as I sat stewing in my righteous indignation at the NFL and their decision to try and blunt African-Americans from protesting a national anthem that glorifies the killing of slaves.
My indignation at the League was further inflamed by the recollection that just a few short years ago, the same fans that are ridiculing Colin Kaepernick and his colleagues for taking a knee during the anthem before games were praising Tim Tebow for the same behavior.
Quarterback Tim Tebow knelt during the games too. Many fans adored his gesture which was to put his religious beliefs on display during games. In fact, he knelt so often that the practice became known as “Tebowing.” There were praises for Tebow as “A model citizen,” by many of today’s critics of Kaepernick.
There was no talk of an NFL fine for proselytizing, and those whom today decry using the workplace for political protest seem not to be able to find their voices when the cameras turned on Tebow who was using the workplace to promote his religion. “He has his right to express his religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment,” the Tebow supporters said.
Many of those same supporters are quick to point out that Colin Kaepernick has no such right to protest at the workplace under the same Constitution.
I had my ammunition now. I prepared to confront those hypocrites and their First Amendment double standard. Remembering Tebow was so good that I started searching Getty Images for two images I could buy, one of Kaepernick, and another of Tebow, so I could mount them side-by-side for visual evidence of the hypocrisy of critics.
Then, it happened. As I was researching past stories on Tebow, it triggered the memory of my own words about the praying quarterback. “Fire him, he’s proselytizing, he’s trying to turn the Sunday football game into Sunday School,” were some of my favorite phrases at the time.
I was showing the same zeal against Tebow that opponents display against Kaepernick. This marionette was dancing as the political puppetmasters pulled strings.
Ethics in America are situational. Consistency is not our strong national suit, but we have hypocrisy down in spades. If we are going to allow the workplace to be Tim Tebow’s place to exercise his First Amendment right to practice his religion, then we must extend the rights under the law to minorities for peaceful protest.
Those that argue private enterprise has the right to stop such behavior at the workplace have the right argument. What the NFL lacks is consistency in its application of the rules. The League’s case will be there are a lot more African-American players in the league who will protest then there are Christian proselytizers. Maybe, but are rules only about numbers of people?
I looked into that mirror and saw myself wearing a cloak of hypocrisy. It does not fit well, and I think at least in the case of Colin Kaepernick it is time to put it away.
That does not mean that I’m abandoning the cause of pointing out the racist nature of our national song. That is a debate we need to have and to resolve, but we need to take out of the football stadium and to the halls of Congress where it belongs.
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