Sitting With Kaepernick


cjones08292016

A few days ago the Green Bay Packers played the San Francisco 49ers in a preseason game. Do you remember the score? Do you even know who won? I bet you know about Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem.

I was never a fan of Kaepernick. I thought he was overrated and time would eventually expose that he couldn’t play in the NFL. I was right. Now I’m rooting for him.

Kaepernick, who of course is a millionaire, stated it would be selfish not to protest and “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He also said he refuses to “show pride in the flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

He also said “I’ll continue to stand with the people who are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change — and I feel like that flag represents what It’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to — I’ll stand.”

So naturally, “patriotic” people respected and valued his opinion. I’m lying. They went berserk. Demonstrations were held where outraged fans burned Kaepernick’s #7 jersey. A lot of people hate when racism is pointed out, and they accuse people who expose racism as the real racists. That’s like blaming Obama for making you a racist. Yeah, there are people out there doing that.

Kaepernick is playing in the highest money making sport in the country. A sport that’s built around brutality. A sport every American has an opinion of (they either hate Dallas or they love Dallas). This is a sport that is only popular in the United States. Canada, what you’re doing is not football. And London, you get a game or two a year that doesn’t involve bouncing balls on your head and yellow cards, which I still don’t understand. The average play in American football lasts only four seconds. This game was built for the American attention span.

So not standing for the national anthem at our favorite sport (sorry, baseball but I still love ya’) in a nation where political candidates are beaten up for not wearing a flag pin on their lapel, really pisses people off.

Memes were shared where people pointed out that he was adopted and raised by white parents, as if that means he is ungrateful for everything white America has provided for him, or that he’s not even black. Others pointed at veterans as the real heroes forgetting that Kaepernick isn’t labeling himself a hero. But what the guy has done is very brave.

Veterans fought for your freedom and apparently if you don’t exercise that freedom in the exact manner society demands then you should be ostracized, vilified, and shamed…or at least not allowed to work for a living. So much for all that freedom so many died for if you’re going to receive crap expressing it.

When I was in elementary school I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. This was in the 1970s and yes I got in trouble. Yeah, I was a rebellious kid but I always questioned authority. I didn’t really understand why we had to express loyalty to a system without any explanation other than we where supposed to. I hated the do as your told and don’t ask questions mindset. I was also a hoot in church.

You can love your country without conforming. saying the Pledge or singing the anthem doesn’t necessarily make you a mindless drone, but refusing to take part in it is also exercising the freedom this nation guarantees to all its people.

Reciting the Pledge is too much nationalism for me. In Germany everyone was required to heil Hitler. I hate nationalism and conformity.

I have less issue with The Star Spangled Banner. To me it’s more of a celebration of our nation than an attempt to control us as the Pledge comes off. I’ve also admired the various renditions and talents of those who have sung it over the years. Whoever the girl was who sang it at the Trump rally in Fredericksburg knocked it out of the park.

I do understand not wanting to sing along and finding distaste for the content of the song and the history behind it. Do you know the history behind The Star Spangled Banner?

It was written during the War of 1812. Do you know what that war was fought over? Do you even know who won? You probably think the U.S. did. Do you know which nation freed American slaves in that war? Do you know which nation demanded that “property” returned after the war? Are you familiar with the slave-owning writer of the tune or his fierce opposition to the antislavery movement?

The Star Spangled Banner is a pretty long song. It’s even longer if you have a fresh hot dog, beer, and the game is about to start. It’s actually even longer than what you’ve been singing your entire life. There are more lyrics. A lot more. The happy references to punishing slaves who left for the British have been omitted from the version you’re singing along to today.

I’m sure most people couldn’t recite all these lyrics they’re so passionate about enough to burn a football jersey over, despite singing along at every sporting event in their lifetime. A lot of people, myself included, are really good at mouthing the lyrics.

Study the reasons behind the War of 1812. Study how the United States has treated its black citizens throughout history and how it continues to treat them today.

You might come away realizing that Kaepernick has a point.

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3 comments

  1. Got no problem with Kaep protesting injustice but I’m not sure this is the place to do it. He is trying to make the team….it’s kind of the equivalent of deciding to set up your protest at your own job interview. ‘Course this was the place to get the most attention….and he sure did. I only wish his playing performance was what brought attention to him, and then afterwards show the racists what dicks they all are. I don’t hold it against him, but I was a little taken back at the timing.

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  2. I was quite satisfied with the original pledge – to country rather than a piece of fabric – but not the add-ons. I use the Constitutional Pledge: “I pledge aliegence to the United States of America, and to the Constitution which established it. One nation from many people, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” It can be said along with the anti-first amendment Eisenhower pledge. (Incidentally, I am Methodist clergy, so any reply can leave out accusing me of atheism.)

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