This week’s post is an introduction to the Rule Your Nation Awards. On the last Sunday of every month, I will highlight someone who exemplifies what it means to Rule Your Nation. Qualifications include: standing up against injustice, achieving a great milestone, acting with courage, or anything else that shows that you are just an awesome person in general. Everyone is in control of their lives and the trajectory it takes. Today, I will give credit to four people who have decided to take control of their lives and live them to the fullest.
Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter
This Marine recently received the Medal of Honor for diving on top of a grenade to protect his friend. After the explosion, Carpenter was severely injured and underwent nearly 40 surgeries. While he was being treated, Carpenter flat lined three times, but he recovered and is now retired. It’s impressive enough that this man is willing to fight for his country and keep us all safe. With this act, he went the extra mile for his fellow Marine and showed the willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
It takes a lot of selflessness, self-control, and unflinching bravery to do what Carpenter did. It is unlikely that he was thinking about his own recognition when he put his life on the line, and that is all the more reason why he deserves it. The Medal of Honor was made for people like him. Much respect to you, Corp. William Kyle Carpenter. You Rule Your Nation better than all of us with bravery. This writer salutes you.
Kawhi Leonard is a 6’7, 230 lbs. small forward for the new NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. This year marks only his fourth season in the NBA, but he was named the Finals MVP after battling the basketball behemoth that is Lebron James. Leonard is the youngest NBA player to earn that award since his teammate Tim Duncan won it in 1999. As great as that feat is alone, it’s how he won the award that truly matters. Kawhi Leonard doesn’t talk trash. He’s not all over the media. He is literally only known for what he does on the court. Kawhi Leonard let his game speak for him to the tune of 17.8 points per game on 61 percent shooting against the Miami Heat.
There is also another reason that makes Leonard’s achievement extra special. In 2008, Kawhi Leonard lost his father to gun violence; finding out about his father’s death while he was riding in his mother’s car after a high school basketball game. Losing a loved one is always tragic, but in typical Kawhi Leonard fashion, he has pushed through to where he is now. It was only fitting that he held an NBA Championship Trophy and an MVP Award on Father’s Day. Much respect, Kawhi Leonard. You Rule Your Nation through actions alone, and few athletes can do it better.
Mario Barwuah Balotelli
Mario Balotelli is an Italian soccer player who is also the son of Ghanaian immigrants. Despite growing up in Italy, Balotelli has endured racial prejudice from his own countrymen who have decided to throw bananas at him during his games; because that’s not ignorant in the slightest. Continue to play for your country in the face of such disgusting behavior is worthy of note. Still, Balotelli does not take the abuse lying down. After a loss during the World Cup, he decided to respond to some racist tweets:
“Perhaps, as some of you say, I’m not really Italian. The Africans wouldn’t have blamed one of their brothers. Never. In this, we black, as you call us, are light years ahead of you. Disgrace is not one that misses a goal or runs less or more. Disgraceful are these things (unfair criticism).”
Despite the fact that black people have lived in Italy for hundreds of years (look it up!), Balotelli apparently is not Italian enough for some people. If you don’t think that’ s insulting, try walking up to a black man in New York City and telling him he’s not a real American. This blog will always support people who speak up for themselves in the face of racial prejudice. Therefore, Mario Balotelli receives the Rule Your Nation Award. Congrats, Mario Balotelli. You are Ruling Your Nation by being yourself in the face of ridicule, and no one can take that away from you.
One of my favorite actors since she played Thirteen on House, MD, Olivia Wilde always came off to me as the kind of woman who was cool but didn’t tolerate disrespect. In light of her recent response to a movie review that implied that her “tush” was too good-looking for her to play a writer (or even a literate adult) in the film Third Person, I think my theory has merit. She replied on Twitter(paraphrasing), “Kiss my smart ass.” Not bad, Wilde. Not bad at all.
Aside from the fact that I’ve met a good number of intelligent, fine women who prove that review very wrong, the notion that being physically attractive negates the need for intelligence is an outdated relic. I personally like my women smart and hot, but I digress. The true issue here is that nobody says that a man is too good-looking for a career, so it shouldn’t be said about a woman. Kudos to you, Olivia Wilde. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something; especially if it’s because of your tush (a.k.a because you’re a woman). You are Ruling Your Nation with the confidence necessary to live by your own standards. Keep it up, and show them how it’s done.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I mean when I encourage you to Rule Your Nation. Be willing to go the extra mile. Let your actions speak for you. Be yourself, even in the face of disapproval. Live by your own standards. You don’t have to be a celebrity to do this. You just have to live your life without apologizing for it. I hope these stories blessed you as much as they blessed me. Now go out there and write your own!
Rule Your Nation, my friends.
p.s. If anyone has any ideas for the month of July, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be considered, but only four will be chosen. Fame or notoriety is not required. Awesomeness is.
William Carpenter: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/president-obama-awards-medal-of-honor-to-marine-who-dove-in-front-of-grenade/. Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Carpenter#mediaviewer/File:KyleCarpenter19m04sVideoFrame.png
Kawhi Leonard: http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/11090861/kawhi-leonard-trip-finals-mvp-dad. Photo: same link.
Mario Balotelli: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/italy/10926080/Mario-Balotelli-hits-out-at-racist-detractors-after-being-blamed-for-Italys-World-Cup-exit.html. Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Balotelli#mediaviewer/File:Balotelli_wears_the_2014_Italy_Home_Kit_02_(cropped).jpg
Olivia Wilde: http://jezebel.com/olivia-wilde-tells-gq-to-kiss-my-smart-ass-595862075.