This sestina is directed at all the high school football players around the country who are pulling a Kaepernick
Those spurning our national anthem should undergo the same intense moral
self-searching I’ve subjected myself to. Recall that this country
was once populated by men who watched slaves work and cried
into their weather-cracked hands “God,
please make me a better American.
Please teach me how to be the living embodiment of solidarity
with other white people.” I try to show solidarity
like this in the Times Cafeteria every day, to provide moral
leadership, to clear out once I’ve helped myself to chick peas. An American
like Ta-Nehisi Coates — while I welcome his having arisen in this country,
I wonder if he really understands that God
himself very likely metaphorically personally cried
tears over the very nation Coates negates the value of. That Coates has cried
for justice is fine, but one wonders: should justice trump solidarity?
Let’s try a football analogy: Think of, well, not God
so much but think of Judeo-Christian values (all things moral)
as the winning head coach of this country.
With his leadership, everything is in place for every American
to be a star player! But only if every American
listens to that coach and follows his plays. Today I cried
over inspiring photos on the IDF website, wishing to be worthy of my country.
To earn my place in this nation today I sell solidarity.
I must beg you to consider the moral
failure inherent in prioritizing your lived experience over antiquated rituals. I am aware God
is exclusionary but let’s not throw out doctrine with God:
If you want to be a good American
you must adhere to the idea that we all share a set of values and morals
He (or She) might sponsor. I know — many people have died and cried.
But injustice doesn’t entitle you to ignore rote rituals of solidarity
which we’ve all agreed are the best way to come together as a country.
And if you’re not feeling gratitude for this country
well then by God
try uttering those syllables from which Francis Scott Key crafted solidarity
It works wonders for any American!
Last night I pondered these kids’ refusal to sing our anthem and cried.
Then I realized that for a column I just needed to plumb a moral
And have two big thoughts about the country. I realized it was unlikely that another American,
especially Ta-Nehisi Coates, would ever say to these kids, “Look at all these people who cried
over your lack of solidarity.” Then I told myself “David, one thought is enough since you have a solid moral.”