We’ve all heard about the Great Controversy Of Our Time, or really, the day. The hour, maybe. Honestly, it’s impossible to keep track these days. I feel like maybe we should be keeping some sort of permanent, up-to-the-minute record for future generations, but I’m not sure there’s even a data center big enough to catalog and store them all.

We used to just limit this sort of crap to Christmas and maybe whatever ridiculous space vagina meat suit Lady Gaga was wearing at any given moment, but now it’s all the time. And that’s not even counting literally everything Trump puts on Twitter, because I’m pretty sure World War III is going to start over Kim Jong-Un throwing some shade in a subtweet since that’s the world we live in now, but whatever. This is just about one specific controversy people wouldn’t shut up about over the weekend.

You know the one I’m talking about, where the Mother of Dragons recruited a new army of no-neck dudes in shoulder pads and then had everyone bend the knee, which pissed off the Lord of Light or whoever the fire god is, and okay fine, it’s not that – but shut up. Game of Thrones abandoned me this past season, and I’m still a little sore about it. Don’t judge.

Of course, I’m talking about the overwhelming display of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick made by a ton of NFL players that literally set my computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone, and Playstation on fire with ALL THE RAGE OF A FURIOUS INTERNET.

All right, maybe not literally. But I’m still stuck on that whole Daenerys thing.

Back to the football controvery.

Here’s the thing about the whole outrage over outrage movement that I’ll never understand. WHY THE HELL DO YOU PEOPLE EVEN GIVE A CRAP?

Seriously. It is possible to not support the protest without having to spew your righteous indignation all over every single screen I own. It’s not a zero-sum game. You could always just ignore it. That’s an option I think people tend to forget about these days when it comes to outrage over outrage – and that’s all I’m talking about here. It’s not The Cause or The Protest that I have a problem with, even all the ones I think are stupid. It’s this weird compulsion people have to be angry about other people being angry that confuses me.

Why can’t we just let people be unhappy and express themselves however they want, as long as whatever they’re doing isn’t hurting anyone? (I mean literal hurting here. Butthurt crywhining does not apply.)

I guarantee that a bunch of thick-headed lineman taking a knee during the national anthem didn’t hurt anyone, except maybe themselves because, honestly, have you seen some of those dudes? Their knees are all doing the heavy lifting, is all I’m saying. Kneeling for any reason can’t feel good.

But did it hurt you? At all? Did it take anything away from your life, or do one single thing other than just annoy you a little bit?

I can understand religious people getting their holy knickers in a twist whenever some wackadoo artist decides that putting the baby Jesus in a bucket of pig manure is a good idea, but someone kneeling during the national anthem? How the hell does that even remotely affect your life? It’s not like anyone was trying to make you kneel or anything. Calm down.

At least the religious people might be legit freaked out that their all-powerful sky god is gonna send down a rain of horny toads or something as punishment, but dissing the freaking Star Spangled Banner? What unknowable cosmic horror is that possibly gonna piss off?

You know where things like the national anthem and flag are revered as holy iconography? ALL THE PLACES YOU WANT TO BOMB THE SHIT OUT OF BECAUSE THEY DO THINGS LIKE REVERE THEIR NATIONAL ANTHEMS AND FLAGS AND PICTURES OF DEAR LEADER RIDING BAREBACK THROUGH A STREAM LINED WITH NUCLEAR WARHEADS AND TANKS ON EITHER SHORE.

Or maybe not that specific example, but you get the idea. This is America, kids. Not North Korea.

This is the home of the free and the land of the brave, after all – so how about you snowflakes swallow a courage pill and stand up for that whole freedom part of the song you love so much talks about?

Freedom is ugly. People are going to do and say things that make us want to murder them in the face for being so stupid, because that’s what freedom is all about. People pissing each other off, but somehow still having each other’s backs. You know, like with family.

If people are only free to say and do things you agree with, then you’ve got some Joseph Stalin level bullshit you need to work through, because that crap don’t fly here in the U S of A.

So why all the outrage over other people being outraged? If you don’t like it, just ignore it. IT DOES NOT AFFECT YOU.

Granted, it’d be nice if you’d just stop for a hot second and maybe consider another point of view for once in your miserable, judgmental life, but I know that’s a long wait on a train that don’t come, shepherd. (Great. Now I miss Firefly again.)

But how about instead of being mad at the woman who found Hobby Lobby’s cotton decoration offensive, we just let her be offended and move on with our day? Why do we feel compelled to leave nasty comments on someone’s Facebook share, or post our own furious screed about how stupid and awful this person none of us have ever met must be?

Am I personally offended by cotton stalks being sold as decoration? Nope! I don’t care – but I’m also a palefaced white dude who has no reason to be offended by a tangible reminder of centuries of my people being raised, sold, and killed in bondage to other people. I get the luxury of certain imagery not being a painful reminder of the not-too-distant past on account of how the random accident of my birth had me slosh out of a white lady’s baby hole rather than a black mom’s uterus.

But do I completely understand why someone whose ancestors were victimized and persecuted and enslaved in service of the almighty cotton plantation might take offense to such a thing? Yep. And so, I let her be offended.

By the same token, am I offended by that stupid artist who put the baby Jesus in pig shit (and was probably Yoko Ono but I can’t prove it)? Nope, not at all. I think it was kind of a stupid thing to do and nobody wants to see it, but I’m not offended by it because I have no skin in the holy roller game.

But do I completely understand why someone whose entire life is intractably tied to their faith might take offense to such a thing? Yep. And so, I let them be offended.

What I don’t do is go all Facebook Bugfuck and start posting eight million status updates about how a bunch of football players peacefully protesting the very real problem of systemic racial inequality and societal injustice should be fired or shot, or fired then shot, or any one of the many other horrible things I saw people writing this weekend.

I don’t post a thousand insipid memes whenever some suburban soccer mom gets miffed because her Starbucks cup doesn’t say what she wants it to at Christmas. I let her have her outrage, maybe I snicker about it for a minute, and I move on. As a free American, she has every right to be offended, and it doesn’t matter at all how silly I think the whole thing is.

BECAUSE I LET PEOPLE HATE THINGS.

It’s not hard.

Besides, if you want to stage a counter protest to this whole kneeling business, then the only sensible thing to do would be to stand up during the national anthem. Which is perfect, because it’s not only what you’re supposed to do while the song is playing, it’s also the exact opposite of what the people you hate are doing. Everybody wins!

Next time you start to take offense to someone else taking offense over something, how about you try pouring an ice-cold glass of calm the hell down, and then shut the fuck up. I promise, it’ll be a whole lot more refreshing than that bottle of ragebile you keep gargling.

Of course, this entire essay is basically just me being outraged over outrage over outrage, so what do I know?

I should probably just take my own advice and shut up.

© 2017, Kristian Bland. All rights reserved.