Kaepernick and The Flag

“And the big thing that hit me through all of this is that this is a backup  quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows and get the starter ready to play week one.”
– Trent Dilfer
“I think it’s the most pathetic thing in the world and I think the people that support people like Kaepernick are really sick people, and they ought to take a trip somewhere else.”
– Mike Ditka
“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.”
– Donald Trump
“Your actions were shameful, disgusting, despicable and disrespectful.”
– Allen West

All of these people are complaining because a young man decided that even though he was fabulously wealthy, he should not ignore those who aren’t. He decided to do it in the way our Constitution says Americans should do it. His concern for the lack of concern about Americans being killed by the government because of their skin color led him to quietly and without seeking notice to sit and then kneel during the national anthem. To not participate in the forced demonstration of worship of our national idol.
Those people disagree that these government sanctioned murders are worthy of protest. Mr. Kaepernick and millions of other Americans disagree. Kaepernick is using his celebrity to shine the light of truth on this madness. They are saying that the life of an American is not as important as the flag. Let that sink in for a moment.
The life of an American is not as important as a symbol whose values they do not believe in. That a 12 year old American gutshot and slaughtered like an animal matters less than a pattern on cloth which some of them are not reluctant to make bathing suits out of and wrap their sweaty asses in.
Or to throw their garbage in.
Or to help in recruiting more people to the cause of denying Americans their rights as Americans.
Or its use as a weapon to keep Black kids and White kids from going to the same school.
None of them are confused about what Kaepernick is saying by this protest. Nor are they mistaken in their understanding of whether this protest is in keeping with the Constitution. They do this with the full knowledge of what he is protesting. They are against what he is for: the equal and humane treatment of all Americans by the police.
They rail against the very thought that all Americans should be given equal consideration, respect and be subject to the same rule of law. They rage against the very idea that Black Americans might have the temerity to quietly ask that their rights be respected. They ask with their hands raised. BANG!

Not enough

They’ve gathered in their places of worship and begged God to help them. They did it  sitting quietly in pews for hundreds of years. Over and over again. Praying and singing. Asking the Lord to help them while they were here and to welcome them into heaven once they pass. Welcoming all who came to join them. Even a strange young White man who came on a Wednesday and sat through Bible study. BANG!

Not enough

They listened as people told them how one receives a ticket from the police in order not to antagonize the officer. Window down. Hands on the wheel. Speak only in even, flat tones. Without emotion. Make no sudden movements and always announce your intentions and the purpose of any movement. Don’t look him in the eye. Follow all commands. Especially if he tells you to get your license and registration. Do it. Do it immediately. BANG!

Not enough

They obeyed when an officer tells them to lay on the ground. Arms spread. Don’t move. Even as you try to calm the mentally disabled man next to you. Laying in the street as still as possible while telling the young man you are responsible for that all will be fine. Don’t move. Listen to the officers. Don’t move but yell out to the officers that it’s all under control but to watch out for your young charge because he is…. BANG!

Not enough

Handcuffed in the back of a police car? BANG! Shopping in WalMart? BANG! Walking down the street? BANG! Deaf? BANG! Autistic? BANG! Protesting? BANG!

Not enough

And now comes a millionaire. One of America’s elite.  An NFL quarterback. Not demanding the rights he is entitled to. Not shouting about them being taken away. Not howling about the rights of those who share his heritage being ignored. Not doing any of the things his very humanity demands that he does.
Instead, he comes on bended knee. Begging America to stop killing its own just because of their color. On bended knee. Begging them to stop killing the people that it brought here to build this country. To make the very American dream possible by laboring without compensation build wealth that they were prohibited by law from taking part in.
Some Americans join him in the begging for the never-ending dream that Black Americans have had since December 6, 1865. Too many others simply answer…

Not enough

– Eliot

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