Taking A Knee … or Not   Leave a comment

I stopped saluting the flag about four years ago when someone I respect pointed out that it really does look like idolatry. I thought about it a while and agreed with her, so ….

I still stand, in deference to my fellow Americans and respect for veterans like my brother. I hold my hands respectfully in front of me, but I don’t speak the oath and I don’t cover my heart. I am respectful to those who respect the flag, but I’ve drawn a line on idolatry and that includes the flag. I never really cold sing the National Anthem, as I’m sure Robert Goulette and a host of other famous singers who muffed the Star-Spangled Banner can agree. I do still sing the Alaska flag song because it’s a cool song written for people who aren’t opera stars and nobody is asking me to swear allegiance to it.

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee rather than salute the flag last year, I was irritated by it not out of any respect for the flag or disagreement with free expression, but because he was protesting “white privilege” in America while earning more per year as a professional athlete than I will earn in a lifetime. I was born in poverty and that was with a father who was so white he made Casper look tanned. We may have “wealth privilege” in this country, but poverty hits all colors of skin. And, clearly, wealth is also visited upon quite a number of people of color. Is there some sort of black privilege going on with the NFL? Ever look at the starting lineup of any team? Yeah … I’m just saying.

And, Kaepernick himself has ZERO room to complain. He was raised in an upper middle-class family and went to a good college. Clearly, being half-black didn’t hurt his prospects in life. Maybe he’s pissed off at his white adoptive parents or his white biological mom because he doesn’t feel it’s acceptable to be pissed off at the black father who abandoned his bio mom when she got pregnant, but news flash, other white people didn’t do that. And, ultimately, Kaepernick  was rewarded for being a big strong, part-black athletic male with $39 million dollars over a three-year career of declining performance. While I’m sure he’d like to blame his not being called out of free agency on racism, I suspect it has more to do with stunts like his girfriend’s tweet comparing Ray Lewis, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, to a slave owner while Kaepernick was in negotiations with the team. Slaveowners don’t give you millions of dollars to run an oddly-shaped ball up and down a field and, any sane person, when compared to Simon Legree, will chose to gift some other, less contentious athlete with those millions.

Trust me, if someone had given me $39 million when I was 25 years old, I’d not have to worry about money for the rest of my life because I know a thing or two about living in poverty. I could live a nice, comfortable, middle-class existence on $39 million dollars and probably leave more than that to my heirs.

So, Kaepernick has ZERO room to complain about “white privilege”. His kneeling is about wanting attention and nothing more, from a young man who may see racism behind every bush because he’s been taught to look for it, but who has never experienced a hard day of living in his life. Notice that he didn’t do his kneeling under the presidency of Barack Obama. It’s not about racism. It’s about politics.

Now, if he’d been protesting the killing of civilians of all colors by police, then he might have had my support … I who have been quietly not participating in flag worship for nearly a half-decade now.  But as long as he’s only upset when cops kill black people, I think he’s showing his racist knickers and I’m not going to stand … or kneel … with him.

That said, President Donald Trump needs to learn to control his comments about other people’s right to free expression. Kaepernick has a right to protest. So do other NFL players. They have the same right as Trump supporters do to put their opinions out into the public square … to be challenged or supported as the case may be. That’s how freedom of speech – a cornerstone of liberty — works. I am free, even as one who declines to worship the flag, to criticize Colin Kaepernick for his motivations. He’s welcome to an opinion, but others are welcome to point out the fallacies on which his opinions rest.

 

Posted September 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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