Unless you live under a very large, very dense rock, you've likely heard about the outrage and controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. In the event you have somehow missed it, here's the tl;dr summary for you:
This high-profile, stupid-rich, professional game-player refused to stand for the national anthem during two separate NFL preseason games as a show of silent protest and plans to do it again Thursday night. People. Are. Pissed.
The neopatriots of America have decided that this blatant and overt show of disrespect to Kaepernick's country is an unforgivable, personal attack.
The irony of this certainly does not elude all of you, right? The NFL is a cesspool of real attackers. Men whose physical superiority supersedes laws, rules and basic human decency. Rapists, abusers, thieves and cheats. Many of them are standup guys; many are not. But the bad apples are still given the opportunity to plant their tainted seeds in this league. Human beings who have inflicted intentional pain and distress on other human beings are allowed to continue to rake in millions of dollars each year to play a fucking game when they should be rotting in jail.
And you're outraged because Colin fucking Kaepernick chose to SIT during a song!?
When protesting turns into riots, which turns into looting, which turns into violence, White America's outrage sounds something like this: "What about black-on-black crime!? What does looting from your own neighbors accomplish?! Protests can be peaceful! ALL LIVES MATTER!"
Colin Kaepernick decided that he could no longer stand for a country that refuses to stand for him, a biracial man. Yes, he is afforded some respect because of his athletic prowess, but, off that field, he gets the looks and jeers just like every other person of color. And even if Kaepernick does not experience racism as often as less affluent black Americans, he knows that his brothers and sisters do. Not everyone has it in them to stand idly by while witnessing oppression that does not directly impact them.
Kaepernick's protest was possibly the most peaceful in all of history. He simply did not stand. That's it. He remained in the sitting position. Not a single living soul was hurt in any way by his show of solidarity. And yet Twitter, Facebook and those neopatriots I mentioned earlier would have you believe that this man was sucking the marrow from the bones of puppies while standing on a pyramid of the dead babies aborted by Planned Parenthood wearing a Hillary Clinton button.
The irony lies in the fact that what Kaepernick did was SUPER American. Like, majorly so. He exercised his American birthright and stayed. fucking. seated. The freedom they all drone on endlessly about was at its most powerful during that first night's protest.
You hear things like, "My _______ died in _____ war so that you could stand!" Or, "You're no American, get out of this country!" Or, "What a privileged asshole! He has no respect for our nation or her traditions!" Or, "What's wrong with the NFL that they haven't kicked him out of the league yet?!"
And yet ... I've seen many, many tweets and posts from former and current military men and women who completely support Kaepernick's protests and the cause for which he sits for.
Blind patriotism is not a prerequisite for American citizenship. You do not have to walk around constantly waving American flags or painting the back window of your over-compensating-for-something pick-up truck with a bald fucking eagle to live in, and love, the good ol' US of A.
The neopatriots remind me of those parents that truly believe, and therefore instill, in their children the idea that they can do no wrong. That, should a real obstacle arise, it's the fault of someone else and not them. That's not love; that's enablement. And, just as enabling our friends and family does nothing to help them, we do America a disservice by acting like ostriches with our heads buried in the sand. The ONLY way to resolve a problem is by acknowledging it and facing it head on. Ignoring the problem in the hopes that it will simply work itself out is harmful in nearly every sense of the word.
Colin Kaepernick is not a traitor. He is not a terrorist. He is not un-American. He is not racist. He is a public figure, who decided to use his platform to further a movement he believes in. So few of us have the power or reach to influence real change -- but Kaepernick is the star player of a team that plays in front of millions of eyeballs a week, for 20 weeks (taking into consideration preseason and bye week). Millions of people watched him keep his ass on that bench when the anthem started, and, thanks to social media, everyone else in the first world knew about it not long after.
You may not agree with his message, but you cannot honestly tell me that what he did was in any way un-American. Recognize that part of living in a free nation means that you'll inevitably interact with people that you disagree with on a visceral level. This isn't Pleasantville. Decide whether or not you can handle that, and, if you can't, then maybe it's time for you to get out.