What makes the Colin Kaepernick timely is how Donald Trump proves Mr. Kaepernick’s point with each tweet. Did the GOP realize when they nominated Donald Trump for the office of President of the United States, they nominated a man who hates America? Despite all the wrapping himself in the flag, despite his misuse of the word “patriot,” Donald Trump despises America and everything America has stood for over the past 241 years. It is obvious to all who bother to look.
The flag, the National Anthem, and Institutional Racism
Colin Kaepernick started kneeling a year ago. He has been quite clear about the reasons he doesn’t like the National Anthem. It’s not about the flag. Let’s not confuse Mr. Kaepernick’s kneel with Donald Trump’s regular forgetting to put his hand over his heart when the National Anthem is played, or during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Twitter hasn’t forgotten this moment from a balcony of the White House. Watch the First Lady’s left arm in the video as she reminds her husband to put his hand over his heart.
Many supporters of Mr. Kaepernick on Twitter are trying to pass off a moral equivalency. That argument won’t fly. President Trump is an old man and is forgetful. Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling is intentional. Intentional because it is a peaceful protest. The goal of a protest is to raise public awareness to one’s cause. I would say Mr. Kaepernick has been successful in achieving that goal. In fact, he has been more than successful.
Mr. Kaepernick has shown the Nation and the World that while White Supremacy and their hate for everything not White and Protestant is a fringe of our society, the cancer of racism reaches all the way to the Oval Office. Donald Trump is their good friend. Before addressing how President Trump has made this peaceful protest into racial hate, it’s important to understand what Mr. Kaepernick is protesting.
Besides being nearly impossible to sing unless one is an Opera Singer; if you read the third stanza of the National Anthem, and if you know history, these words leap off the page.
No refuge could save the hireling or slave
From the terror of flight or gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
In the War of 1812, the British had underestimated the strength of the US Military. The British needed more troops. There wasn’t time for troops to be sent from England. According to a detailed article in Harper’s about the burning of Washington and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, author Andrew Cockburn, a relative of Admiral George Cockburn of the Royal Navy was given the orders,
“Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage. The great point to be attained is the cordial support of the Black population. With them properly armed and backed with 20,000 British Troops, Mr. Madison will be hurled from his throne.”
Slaves were promised to be freed and never returned to their owners if they would side with the British. A division of freed slaves called the Colonial Marines was formed and with the British marched on Washington and burned the White House.
The third stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner is a celebration of killing African-Americans who had freed themselves from the bondage of slavery and fought against their oppressor. Be mindful that in 1812, slavery was not outlawed in the USA.
Critics of Mr. Kaepernick wave a hand and proclaim that we only sing the first stanza anyway and he is making a big deal about nothing. The Star-Spangled Banner in its entirety is the National Anthem. It isn’t just the first stanza. It’s not a big deal to White People. Why should it be, we were the slave owners and not the slaves.
Institutional racism is a part of America to this day
One of the ways racism is perpetuated in America is by White People pretending it doesn’t exist. It certainly does exist and Mr. Kaepernick despite his good income as a pro football player sees it. Donald Trump and the GOP see it too and they exploit it for political gain.
A few years ago, actor Danny Glover, who stared or co-starred in dozens of box office hits noticed he couldn’t a taxi in New York City. White people would get a cab before he could get a cabbie to stop for him. An interview with some taxi drivers by a reporter indicated they were wary of picking up African-American males.
That is just one small example of institutional racism of dozens I could list. Think of Black stereotypes. Every stereotype is an expression of racism. That is the world in which Mr. Kaepernick and African-Americans live.
While things are better than they were 60 years ago when the Civil Rights Movement picked up a head of steam, we still have not confronted our racist past and our racist present. The fact someone makes a lot of money does not mean there isn’t a societal bias against them because of the color of their skin. Danny Glover and the taxis illustrate that point.
President Trump and the GOP know that bias too. Since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, the GOP has thrown open its arms to racists. President Trump rode into office on a wave of racist backlash against an African American President.
The response of Mr. Trump to Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Obama’s response to Mr. Kaepernick highlight clearly how Donald Trump is using Mr. Kaepernick to inflame his racist base. In this video from a CNN Town Hall a year ago, President Obama praised Mr. Kaepernick’s right to peaceful protest while acknowledging many people will find it offensive.
Compare that with Mr. Trump’s divisive, and hostile Tweets.
Why is The President of the USA trying to further divide the nation?
I can only speculate on the answer. If you look at the Trump campaign, what did Donald Trump promise? He promised a wall to keep Mexicans out for those who hate Mexicans. He promised protectionism as a method of returning jobs to the USA. He promised to strip the poor and the elderly of their Healthcare. He made promise after promise to people with minds that hate and they voted for him.
Now 8 months and 5 days into the most unremarkable Presidency in history, it is obvious Mr. Trump is not going to get any of those things. He has failed. Nancy Pelosi had her way with him. “Chuck and Nancy” are the only thing that is keeping Donald Trump out of an outright war with his own party.
What better way to mask one’s failures than to divert the nation’s attention with demagoguery? We need to impeach Donald Trump. Donald Trump has no respect for the Constitution of the USA. I am sure he honors the 2nd Amendment or he wouldn't have a base. The rest of it is something he disdains. He shows that with every tweet and every Executive Order.
While Mike Pence is vile in his own right, at least he is not willing to divide the nation on racial grounds. He has tried to be the spin doctor for his unstable running mate. Friends of mine who are friends with the Vice President tell me that off-camera he is as ashamed of Trump as is the rest of the nation.
The GOP needs to admit its mistake in nominating an Ultra-Nationalist bigot to be its standard bearer. If they don’t, then maybe the GOP is not worth saving.
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