Choose Love

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” -Ghandi

Me and Ghandi aren’t necessarily on the same page with a lot of things, but I have to agree with him here. Occasion demands I write the whole truth.

My post went viral yesterday. Many thousands have read it, and several hundreds have commented. I read most of them.

Many comments were in support of my post and the players.

Many others wrote that they could not and would not tolerate anyone kneeling during the national anthem. For most of those people, respect for the flag comes first, above anything or anyone else.

I love our country, too, but in this particular instance “Respecting the Flag” is sidestepping the actual issue.

Ask yourself this question:

“Do I think standing during the National Anthem is more important than the way hate groups marching on the Ole Miss campus in support of confederate relics and emblems made my black friends, Ole Miss players, neighbors and co-workers feel?”

I do not.

I know most of you are good, Bible-believing southerners like myself that don’t miss church on Sundays if you can help it.

The Bible is really clear on this.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Bible has a lot to say about love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Funnily enough, the Bible has NOTHING to say about a national anthem, kneeling, standing, an anthem or a flag.

A few brave Ole Miss players have given us a chance to finally be on the right side of history, and I would also argue, the right side of eternity.

I am 100 percent certain that our God in Heaven is not going to choose a flag, a song, a statue or even a country over one hair on the head of one of his children — black or white, red or brown, kneeling or standing.

Love says that outrage about a flag or an anthem is misdirected.

If you choose love for your neighbor, then your outrage will be directed at anyone who would make one of our black brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors or PLAYERS feel hated, unloved, unlovable or pained because of the color of their skin.

I know that probably (hopefully) most of you agree with me about this, but there is a vocal minority that do not. I cannot stay silent about something this important. To do so would be cowardice and I refuse to be a coward even if it means losing Facebook likes and Twitter follows.

On Wednesday night, Ole Miss will face Tennessee. It’s a huge game all by itself, but after all the national headlines from Saturday, you can bet that the sports world will be watching to see how Ole Miss fans respond to what happened on Saturday.

Thanks to those Ole Miss players we have a moment that could allow us to turn history on its head. We have the chance to do what’s right and be the change.

What’s right is to support the players who did something really brave in the face of hate and in the face of a lot of ambivalent white people who don’t want to take the time to empathize with what it might be like to be a black man on a campus with racists marching through it (If this was you it’s not too late to change. It’s never too late to change).

I would submit that you almost have a moral obligation to go buy a ticket or give yours to someone that will use it. Because what is right is to unite behind the players and yell, “Go Rebels!” at the top of your lungs on Wednesday night. Let those players feel your love and support, pack the Pavilion and beat Tennessee.

Choose love.

Hotty Toddy.