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It isn’t about anthems or football.

September 12, 2016

This isn’t about kneeling or sitting or even fists raised in the now well understood gesture during the national anthem.

It isn’t illegal to disrespect this country.

Unlike some countries, the United States doesn’t have any laws compelling citizens to show respect for national symbols like the national anthem or the flag, and it isn’t illegal to call the police murderers.

And even though you may loathe the wishy-washy “I respect your right to express your opinion” as a short way of saying “I hate what you are doing, but I support the laws of the country that gives you the right to do it as long as you don’t hurt anyone.” it is still the truth.

Try this sort of protest in a nation like North Korea, which recently banned “sarcasm” or any one of several countries where the penalty just for criticizing whatever dictator is in power or advocating for women’s rights or owning a Bible can result in prison time and/or a death sentence.

In the larger and more theoretical context, perhaps Colin Kaepernick’s protest is an affirmation of the country that he disrespects so easily.

But underneath all the nicey-nicey rhetoric, what’s really going on?

If you are an optimist, maybe you think it’s about an attention–seeking, grossly overpaid and apparently bored athlete who reportedly signed a six-year contract worth $114,000.000 with  $61,00,000 guaranteed, and who is being paid $14.3 million dollars to watch 16 regular season football games from one of the best seats in the house.

If you are a bit more realistic, then you might see it as a minor footnote in a concerted campaign to “…fundamentally transform America.”

In 2016, that campaign promise seems to mean something somewhat less noble and inspiring than it did when President Obama used it in 2008.

At worst, Mr. Kaepernick is simply an example of the result of a few decades of racially motivated brainwashing.

There are countries, lots of them, where the police are simply government enforcers paid to stifle any action or protest against whichever warlord or dictator or local crime boss is in power.

That isn’t the national identity of America.

The NFL website quotes Mr. Kaepernick’ explanation for his actions of August 26 this way:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,”

Maybe he really believes that. He’s the right age to have grown up with that meme ringing in his ears since the day he was born.

In all fairness, there are places in the U.S. where it’s pretty hard not to feel oppressed.

To deny the existence of poverty, crime and yes, even police bias and brutality is to deny reality, and poor and oppressed seem to go hand-in-hand.

There are poor people in every city, town and hamlet in the country. Not all of them are people of color. Every city, town and hamlet has it’s “below the tracks” neighborhoods.

If Mr. Kaepernick was living in 1816, or maybe even 1916,  his remarks might have more validity.

The only thing that’s valid about his viewpoint today is that people mentally trained the way he has been are a big part of the reason any of this still continues.

It’s just so damn easy to be a victim in this country.

If the highly paid athletes and celebrities of this country really wanted to effect change, they could begin by playing or performing for a normal middle class salary.

They could live in the neighborhoods that deal with real world problems like how to pay the rent or fix the car or keep from being shot while walking to register your kids in school.

Erie (city), PA may have to close its four high schools because the city can no longer afford to provide even an average education to the students. Erie, where there used to be 40 manufacturing businesses, and now only three or four still survive.

Perhaps Mr. Kaepernick could drop $50 million or so out of his salary there for the last four years of his contract, and he wouldn’t be left in the poorhouse either.

That would at least  provide a lasting impact of the positive variety.

It’s easy to make this football player a scapegoat in this progressive ideological conflict.

It isn’t about him or the flag or the national anthem at all.

It’s about the generations of today and  the ones yet to come who are being trained to be victims.

Now that’s truly oppressive.

From → op-ed

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