kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick, the American flag and selective outrage

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So earlier today someone I know sent me a DM on Facebook that read, simply, “you going to blog about KaeperDICK?”

Well, yes. Yes I am.

KaeperDICK is Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who, before a recent pre-season game, sat during the national anthem. He later explained the stance to the NFL Network, saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, it’s bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

This, predictably, did not go over well with many Americans. On social media, Kaepernick was branded everything from a traitor to an ingrate to an un-American piece of [fill in the blank with myriad curses]. And, to be clear, I get it. Patriotism can be a beautiful thing. You pay homage to those who died fighting for our country by standing and facing the flag, hand over heart. You appreciate what you have, you appreciate what the flag symbolizes, you appreciate the freedoms you enjoy.

And yet ... here’s what pisses me off. In the midst of this election cycle, MANY of those slamming Kaepernick appear to be arch-conservatives who vocally back Donald Trump for president. Which means they vocally back a man who mocked John McCain and other POWs for being captured. Which means they vocally back a man who led the birther movement (based entirely on lies) against a sitting United States president. Which means they vocally back a man who said an Indiana-born judge could not rule on a case involving Trump because his parents were originally from Mexico. Which means they vocally back a man who encourage Russia to spy on us.

This sort of thing is driving me absolutely batshit nuts of late. You’re a patriot? You think it’s gross when a man doesn’t stand at attention for the flag? OK—I’m with you. But at least be consistent. At least express equal (or greater) outrage when a leading presidential contender (one who, ahem, dodged the draft with repeated bullshit deferments) says a POW is not a hero because he was captured—”and I like people who weren’t captured.” Yes, Kaepernick may well have been misguided.* But he’s the backup quarterback to a bad starting quarterback on an awful football team. His actions are relatively insignificant. I don’t care if Kaepernick throws an interception … so why should I care if he stands and covers his heart?

Donald Trump, on the other hand, wants to lead our nation.

Let’s keep it all in perspective.

* For the record, I don’t think he was misguided. Hell, I applaud Kaepernick. Freedom of speech is a powerful thing, and a person exercising that freedom to make a point he believes in should (almost always) be applauded. (I say “almost always” because I don’t applaud racism, sexism, etc. But a guy not standing for the flag? Big deal).