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The Kaepernick Mess

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First, let’s dispense with the whole canard about criticism of CK’s protest being an affront to freedom of expression.  There is nobody – nobody – suggesting that CK didn’t have the right to do what he did (and what he apparently plans to continue doing).    It’s actually more of an irony that CK is exercising this Constitutionally sacred right while crying “oppression.”  Let him try this stunt in Saudi, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, etc.  He might get an idea of what real oppression is.

Second, it is perfectly reasonable to question the patriotism of someone who shows such contempt for our country’s sacred symbols (the anthem and the Flag), just as it was perfectly reasonable for people to object to the burning of the Flag back in the day.  (I guess by Abdul-Jabbar’s logic, CK burning a flag while the anthem played would be an even more admirable form of protest.)  Why?  Because the anthem and the Flag represent America as a whole, warts and all, and respect for those symbols reflects respect for the country – that is, patriotism. And, of course, just as CK has the right to do what he did, other Americans have the right to criticize him for doing it.

Look at it this way. I’m sure CK thinks his cause is just, and to a point it is.  I am really quite passionate about the issue of legal injustices perpetrated against Black Americans. That said, I have serious questions about the scope and nature of these purported injustices.  The statement “there are bodies in the street” is, based on the statistical evidence, nonsensical.  It also ignores the crucial distinction between unwarranted use of force by the police and justified use of force.  Many of the cases cited by activists as proof of racially-based police misconduct have proven to be justified (the most obvious example being the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, which prompted the whole “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” meme).  However, there is clearly significant harassment of law-abiding Black citizens throughout America, and as such, I agree with CK and many others that this issue must be addressed immediately.

But that doesn’t justify showing contempt for America by dissing its most venerable symbols publicly.  For instance, I am also passionately pro-life.  I believe that the legally-sanctioned destruction of over a million unborn children each year in this country is an unspeakable atrocity.  Millions of other Americans believe the same thing. But I would never condone my fellow pro-lifers effectively rejecting America and its people by spitting on its symbols because of this grave injustice.

The point being that America – indeed, the very concept of America – is bigger than any single issue.  This nation, recognizing all of its problems and all of its past sins, has provided more freedom, more wealth, more hope to the world than any other country in history.  It also Constitutionally ensures the ability of citizens to attempt to rectify injustice.  So, to publicly pronounce that "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for [our] country” is an act of both self-negation and self-indulgence.  As such, it should be condemned.

Again, CK and folks like him have the right to do stupid things.  But Americans also have the right to say “stuff it.”     

 

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Angus DuBois
Angus DuBois
Contributor
Angus DuBois is the nom de plume of an entrepreneur of 20 years who, in cowardly fashion, prefers to keep his/her business identity a secret. Comments can be forwarded to angus@nexxuspublishing.com.

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