Those Without a Voice
After reading and listening to both sides of the Colin Karpernick controversy I’ve decided two things: I don’t mind Colin Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem in protest. That's his right, and I especially don't mind if he is protesting a cause important to me.
The second thing I’ve decided about Colin Kaepernick, is that he has no idea exactly what he is protesting. He just knows something is wrong in this country, and he's right --- something is wrong.
When this first became a controversy I was angry. I saw Colin as just another American hating brat that didn’t know how good he had it in the United States. Why wouldn’t I think that? Hating America is extremely fashionable these days.
Then I started to think. What if Kaepernick was protesting the war in Afghanistan, and he was going to sit until our troops are brought home, or what if he was protesting the fact that not a single banker went to jail after the housing crisis, and he was going to sit until there were indictments? How would I feel about his protest then?
I realized that it wasn’t so much that he was protesting, or how he was protesting. It was what he was protesting that was important. Be honest, if Colin Kaepernick said he was sitting during the national anthem to protest the injustice of Hillary Clinton walking free for crimes anyone else would be convicted of, most of his haters would love him.
Well, that’s what he did say; in part.
When Kaepernick gave his locker room interview he said, “There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren't being held accountable for, and that's something that needs to change."
When asked what specifically needed to changed he said, “A lot of things need to change, but one specifically is police brutality.”
This immediately aligned him with the Black Lives Matter movement and protest that have been sweeping the nation; blocking traffic, rioting, and so on. He did specify police brutality as an example of what he was protesting, but it was only part of what Kaepernick claimed to be protesting. As he said, “A lot of things need to change”.
He said he was protesting oppression, and that “freedom, liberty, and justice” is not equal for everyone. He said soldiers are dying in vain because those ideals are not shared equally, and he even complained that vets who come home from war are not cared for and have been mistreated, even murdered.
Kaepernick addressed poverty and poor living conditions in America, but the media continued to bring it back to police brutality and make it an issue only about black people being abused by the police. Kaepernick would play right into their hands, but would also continue to insist it was about much more.
He said he had been gaining more knowledge about things that have gone on in this country in the "past", and he believed America had a history of injustice and oppression that has never been addressed. He claimed to be protesting on the behalf of the oppressed and said he would continue to protest for those who don’t have a voice.
When the interview moved into the topic of our current president and the two people seeking to replace him, Kaepernick said Donald Trump was openly racist. That’s all he said, without one example of Trump’s open racism.
For Hillary he offered two examples of why he felt she was an unfit presidential candidate. He said she called young black teens “super predators” and that she had deleted emails and done things "illegally".
“That doesn’t make sense to me, because if that was any other person you’d be in prison. So, what is this country really standing for", he asked?
The question and answer that followed are extremely telling for several reasons. A reporter asks, “Well, this is a country that has elected a black man president, twice, Colin. I mean, can you see why people say why the outrage in a country that has elected a black president?”
The media wanted to continue to steer the discussion back to the narrative that sells, race. Kaepernick had just issued a damning accusation of Hillary Clinton. It had nothing to do with race. Kaepernick was using Hillary Clinton being above justice as an example of the injustice he was protesting and the media brought it right back to race. What the hell does this country electing a black president have to do with Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of sensitive information and her obstruction of justice?
Kaepernick’s answer was telling as well, because he played right into their hands again. “It has elected a black president”, he said, “but there’re also things, a lot of things that haven’t changed. There’re a lot of issues that still haven’t been addressed. And, that’s something over an eight year term, there’s a lot of those things that are hard to change, and there’s a lot of those things he doesn’t completely have control of.”
What? He is basically saying, ‘Nothing has changed under Obama, but that’s not Obama’s fault’.
This is my only problem with Kaepenick's protest, and Black Lives Matter, for that matter. Kaepernick allowed his protest about injustice, poverty, police brutality, the lack of care for veterans, and all the other important issues he mentioned become a protest about race, further dividing the nation. Injustice affects every American. It should anger every American that Hillary Clinton is walking free for crimes anyone else would go to prison for. It should anger every American when a man is choked to death on the street as he grasps and begs for air. Injustice is not something that just affects black Americans, any more than poverty, police brutality, or anything else. Americans of all races deal with these issues, and when you make your movement or your protest only about black people suffering under oppression, you weaken your movement and create a tribal instinct where you have oppressed black people fighting with oppressed white people, and the two never join together to focus on their oppressor.
To say Obama is not responsible for the lack of change after eight years in the White House is extremely ignoant. Would Kaepernick have cut Obama the same slack if Obama were white? I doubt it!
It was Obama’s Justice Department that decided not to indict Hillary Clinton, on the recommendation of Obama’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Americans of all races are suffering under Obama’s economic policies.
Americans of all races are suffering under Obama’s endless wars and foreign policy blunders.
Americans of all races are being spied on by Obama in his militarized security state.
Americans of all races suffer from police brutality and deaths at the hands of police in Obama’s militarized security state. In fact, police kill white Americans far more than black Americans; almost double the amount in 2015. Many of them would probably join the protest against police brutality if they felt their white lives matter too.
I’m actually really happy that Colin Kaepernick is using his fame and voice to speak out against oppression, not necessarily for himself, but as he said, “for those who don’t have a voice.” Yet, there are many white Americans, and Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans, and Americans of all stripes that have been left behind without a voice in the 21-century.
Divide and rule is one of the oldest plays in an oligarchy’s playbook. They love Kaepernick right now because his protest is further driving a wedge in this country. However, if Kaepernick focused his protest around issues of oppression that affect all Americans and started uniting people for real change, he will become the oppressor’s number one enemy.