My thoughts on the Kaepernick protest . . .
for those of you who asked.
So, last Friday, before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Colin Kaepernick sat down during the National Anthem. It’s interesting to note that Kaepernick sat down through the anthem on two previous preseason games but for whatever reason, this time the world noticed. At the end of this game, which the Niners lost, Kaepernick was swarmed by reporters to which he gave an 18 minute interview. You can find the video here and the transcript of the interview here. In the interview, Kaepernick explained, with simple eloquence, the reason behind his “stand.”
People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.”
He, of course, went into greater detail as the interview progressed but I’m not here provide an analysis on what he said but more on the response it received and my thoughts concerning it as a whole.
So, first things first, do I agree with Kaepernick’s overall message? Yes.
I agree that as of late, this country has definitely had some problems in its execution of its “freedom, justice, and liberty for all” mission statement; a sentiment that it champions across the world but fails to achieve here in its own country.
Do I agree that police brutality is an issue that needs to be addressed? Yes.
For the past year, we have watched countless news stories that show that some of our police are becoming judge, jury, and executioner in a matter of moments. These instances stand as egregious violations of the 5th Amendment but here we are having to explain why people should be concerned about police brutality, in any form.
Do I agree that Kaepernick has the right to protest in his own country about the injustices he sees? Yes.
We constantly parade the fact that our soldiers leave their homes and families everyday to fight for “our” freedoms but as soon as one exercises those freedoms, which include freedom of speech, people bash them and call them un-American, un-patriotic, and suggest that they go back to where they came from. (Don’t even get me started on that argument.)
The negative backlash surrounding Kaepernick protest kind of amuses me. It speaks more to the fact that the public is fickle with their admiration. Just a few months ago, we were mourning the death of one of the world’s greatest athletes and humanitarians, Muhammad Ali. The same Muhammad Ali who refused to fight in a war for a country that did not treat his people with any kind of human decency. The same Muhammad Ali who joined the Nation of Islam and became an outspoken Muslim. The same Muhammad Ali who upon returning from the 1960 Olympics threw his gold medal over a bridge because he still wasn’t welcome at a lunch counter in his own hometown.
The public and its fickle admiration extends also to everyone’s favorite person to quote in matters of civil disobedience, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The same MLK Jr who was much more than “I Have A Dream” and bit more critical of Americans than we care to remember.
“ . . . Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. The comfortable, entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change of the status quo.”
And, as people go to dissect the reasons behind Kaepernick’s protest i.e. previous lackluster season, desire to be traded, a need for attention, having a girlfriend of Arab descent, etc; the message seems to get lost in the circus that has been created around this protest.
I don’t believe that I need to re-explain what he said, because if one had simply been listening with open ears and not throwing straw man arguments (i.e. he hates the military, he disrespected the country and the anthem, he’s bashing police), they would have seen that none of what he said that far-fetched. We love the idea of people fighting for their rights just as long as that fight doesn’t affect our benefits and comfort and just as long as we don’t have to come to terms with our own bigotry.
People pretend that they care about the disrespect of soldiers and veterans but many of you pass them everyday on the street, since there are at least 50,000 homeless veterans currently in the US, and don’t even extend a hand in gratitude; let alone offer them a dollar or a meal. If you cared so much about these soldiers that fought for your freedoms, maybe you should be spending your energy into making sure that veterans have the proper funding for medical treatment, therapy, housing, and rehabilitation programs. But, you don’t really care about veterans. It just sounds like a good argument to throw into someone’s face to shut them up when you don’t agree with what they said or want to face the truth.
Secondly, how is the perceived disrespect of a country and an inanimate object more cause for concern for you than another human being gunned down in the street? What kind of person are you that you believe that a piece of cloth has more value than a human life? What kind of person are you that you believe that a country that you own no parts of is more deserving of respect than a fellow American citizen? Who raised y’all?
And, bashing the police? You guys really need to read up on your logical fallacies and work on your comprehension. Criticizing poor behavior is not equivalent to “bashing.” Without criticism of governmental structures and actions, you probably wouldn’t have a Constitution (that you guys clearly don’t read) or an Independence Day to celebrate. And, you call yourselves “proud Americans.”
I understand that sometimes facing the truth can be hard. And, God forbid that the guy that you expect to throw a ball and entertain you decides to make you face it. But, such is life. You might hate Kaep’s protest but it’s as American as throwing the pigskin, apple pie, and baseball. So, you can either grin and bear it or maybe you can go back to where you came from. ’Cause this is ‘Murica.