There have been plenty of reasons to wear red, white and blue lately.
The most obvious, of course, was Independence Day but not too long before that, the U.S. men’s national soccer team brought together not only 20,000 fans to watch World Cup action on the big screen at AT&T Stadium, but the nation as a whole.
It happens every couple of years when the Olympics roll around and we cheer for everything from curling to skeleton to diving - sports most of us would admit we know nothing about and certainly don’t follow on a regular basis. But this World Cup captivated even the most non-chalant of soccer fans. One of them being our publisher Lance Winter.
But this column isn’t about why you do or don’t like soccer, it’s about coming together as a nation for one common goal, no pun intended. It seems that it took only a matter of minutes before those hugs and high-fives to random strangers as we celebrated goals or breathtaking fireworks displays became bitter arguments and hateful speech on social media platforms about one thing or another.
Let me clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with differing opinions or beliefs, that’s what we just celebrated the right to have, isn’t it? But what is wrong, to me, is the absolute intolerance of other people’s opinions or beliefs if they don’t happen to agree with where you line up. The words and actions some individuals resort to is downright evil and certainly goes against that short-lived unity during a soccer match or on July 4.
As a journalist, it is my job to report the news and let you decide how to feel about it. In this day and age, that line is crossed more than it should be and journalists inject their opinions and beliefs into stories where it has no business being. Sadly, that practice has caused many people to disregard the media as biased and uninformative and surround themselves with more like-minded individuals, which in turn, creates the intolerance of others and the polarizing divide that exists in our culture today.
All that being said, I am proposing that we should all look at life’s issues and political differences as one big soccer match and come together for a common interest. Some of us may be rooting for a different side and that’s OK but, in the end, let’s congratulate the winners and maybe swap jerseys as a show of gratitude. Idealistic, you say? Maybe so but it’s something I would like to see more of, though I admit I probably never will.
As for being patriotic, I want to thank those who fought for the freedoms we have today and I steadfastly support everyone’s right to feel and believe how they choose to, whether it’s something I would choose to do or not. But that’s the beauty of freedom, we can decide that for ourselves as long as we don’t harm others in the process.