I was infuriated last week when 10 New Orleans Saints took a knee during the playing of our national anthem. Ten guys, earning a collective $35 million, protesting a nation that oppresses minorities. Really? How ungrateful, uninformed and childish. My first thought was how dare these millionaire-spoiled athletes who have been treated so well by their country show such disrespect for the flag.
But now that time has passed, my anger has turned to sorrow. My sadness comes from my sincere, heartfelt and deeply held belief that so many Americans have been tricked into thinking they live in a country where the odds are so stacked against them that there is little or no reason to dream big and go for it. It’s such a debilitating belief system producing anger, bitterness and hopelessness. Seeing oneself as oppressed and a victim will shortchange anyone and block them from reaching their potential.
This is not to say we all start with a level playing field. Of course not. A poor child raised in a dangerous neighborhood going to a lousy school has to try much harder to make it than a kid raised in an affluent neighborhood attending a prestigious private school. But in life, perspective is everything, and even the poorest and most disadvantaged among us still have a much better shot at a life of comfort, happiness, and wealth than the vast majority of people on the planet.
What if that became our new paradigm? What if those who’ve been told they are victims rejected that nonsense and instead realized they are so far ahead of the game compared to the rest of the world solely because they live in the U.S.?
According to the Economist magazine, the bottom 10 percent in America have it better than the top 10 percent in Russia, Portugal and Mexico. America currently has more job openings than ever. More than 6 million jobs are open, right now. They may not all be high-paying jobs, but as you make yourself more valuable to your employer by working hard and smart, your pay will increase and so will your chance for advancement. This is the American way, right?
What if instead of preaching the victim message, the media and Democrats started talking about the unprecedented opportunity available to all Americans not seen since the beginning of time.
Economist Walter Williams writes, “In America, it is impossible to be poor if you do three things, graduate from high school, get married before you have kids, and get and keep a job.”
We are currently living during America’s golden age. History will not remember well those who viewed themselves as victims while living in such prosperous times.
We’ve reached our greatness thanks to the sacrifice of so many willing to die for our flag and by embracing the free market. Our pre-eminent threat comes from within, if we continue to elect politicians who at every turn attempt to suffocate the free market. The beauty of the free market is it responds to demand and rewards excellence, ingenuity and risk.
A week has passed since the 10 Saints took a knee disrespecting our flag and our nation. I suspect they don’t hate their country. They just don’t get how great it is. My hope is they realize it and in the future, give America’s flag, and those who died for it, their due respect.
Dan Fagan is a former TV and radio broadcaster who lives in Metairie. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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