Wednesday, August 16, 2017

An Open Letter to Anyone Mad at Colin Kaepernick

Everyone remembers Colin Kaepernick, the African American quarterback taking a knee during the national anthem, refusing to salute the flag. This was a big deal to a lot of people. Many people sided with him, joining in his protest. Many railed against him, upset with his action. Some were so mad that the NFL allowed him to kneel, that they boycotted football. I, personally didn't care.

It wasn't a debate I was interested in. I saw and understood both sides, and while I could see how some people deemed it disrespectful to those who fought for his rights in this country, I didn't truly agree; those who fight for our country are fighting for freedom -- the freedom to express beliefs and stand up for the same -- and he was exercising those rights. Either way, I could see the point. But, football season is right around the corner, and I'm fairly certain that we will see many players -- of all colors -- sitting out the national anthem this season. 

Yesterday's abhorrent press conference still makes me sick to my stomach. In a convoluted tirade, trump refused to place blame on the KKK and neo-nazis for the disgraceful protest that took place in Charlottesville this past weekend. He tried to walk the tightrope in the middle of the argument -- but in the end, placed more blame for this disaster on the "alt-left" than on the white supremacists. He tried to say there were "good people on both sides" -- but no, there is no shred of "good" in the heart of a neo-nazi. He refused to call driving a car through a crowd and killing someone a terrorist attack -- which it IS, that's a fact -- and then tried to change the subject to jobs. trump is clearly mentally-inept; the entire conference was reminiscent of an interview I watched in high school psychology with Charles Manson in prison. Charles Manson is a schizophrenic who also suffers from Paranoid Delusional Disorder. And, that's who trump reminded me of. Spewing incohesive, rambling, nonsensical bullshit. It was incoherent at best, but racist and bigoted at its heart. It was so horrible that prominent members of the Republican party immediately, and very publicly blasted their candidate and distanced themselves as far from him in the eyes of the public as they could. One went so far as to say, "I think trump's stance will be the thing that unites us."

I read the transcripts of this press conference three times. First, I searched for logic and sense. I found none. Then, I searched for a shred of common, human decency in the president. I found nothing. If you didn't see the conference, the transcripts are available online. If you're still trying to find a way to defend this display, just check Twitter, where immediately after the press conference, david duke (former leader of the KKK), THANKED trump for the support.

We can say what we want about Saturday's nazi-rally. But, Black Lives Matter showed up, and those protesters were carrying clubs and bats. 
Yes, they did. Yes, they were. But, go outside of yourself for a minute and imagine being a minority in this country right now. The KKK is a group historically known for extreme violence against black people -- you know, lynchings, dragging people behind cars, lighting people on fire. Yes, BLM showed up, and yes, they were carrying clubs and bats. They needed to counter-protest these people. They needed to stand up for themselves. And they were probably terrified. Clubs and bats don't seem unreasonable to me, when I look at the historical context. Further, BLM wouldn't even exist, if it wasn't for groups like the KKK. Think about that.

But, the KKK was there to protest against the removal of a Confederate statue. They're just trying to protest the revision of history. 
Look. We can't revise history. It's literally impossible. What happened, happened -- and that's it. Hard stop. In fact, it's usually the south that tries to revise history -- they put a winning confederate spin on some of those civil war reenactments, when we all know the confederacy lost. But further, the confederate state was a traitorous one. It fought against the flag you're currently claiming to hold so dear. You literally cannot be patriotic to America, and a supporter of the confederacy. The two are mutually exclusive. That's just a fact. And, we don't need statues to remind of us history. There are no statues of Hitler in Germany, but I doubt they've forgotten they once had a leader who committed monstrous acts of genocide.

We cannot be mad about the bottom picture without being furious about the top.

Back to Kaepernick. At this point in time -- when the president of that flag and national anthem feels no obligation to denounce a group known for lynching black people -- I no longer think it's acceptable to be upset with Kaepernick for sitting it out; in fact, I'll likely do the same. We cannot be silent about what is happening any longer. Silence is complicity; we cannot accept racism and bigotry as the undercurrent of our country. Refusing to speak up and against this is the same as aligning yourself with racists. Silence empowers the tormentor, never the tormented. We cannot be mad at groups like Black Lives Matter without being equally as furious about groups like the KKK, which BLM rooted from. We cannot be angry with Kaepernick for sitting out the national anthem, without being enraged at the racism that caused it. There's no reason to boycott football because a player is kneeling during the national anthem, if we're not willing to boycott the bigotry that caused him to kneel. We cannot ask our football players to respect our country if we don't demand and insist that our president do the same. 

That's it.

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