Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem the other day in protest to the injustices suffered every day in this country by people of color.
A lot of Americans are pretty pissed about that, but those same Americans will ignore or excuse the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of cops.
They say nothing as dozens of veterans commit suicide every day because they can’t get the care they need after four, five or six deployments to war zones.
They remain silent as the maternal and infant death rates go up because access to women’s health care is shut down by people who call themselves “pro-life.”
When the courts find that the new voter “protection” laws actually were written to make it harder for black and brown people, students and the elderly to vote, these same people claim those laws are fine. “Surgical precision” was the way the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals phrased it. The people who wrote North Carolina’s voter law actually requested and reviewed statistics on black people’s voting habits and wrote the law to maximize the hurt. I know because I was in the courtroom when the state’s lawyer reluctantly admitted it.
When transgender people are singled out for discrimination in “bathroom” laws, these same people who hate Colin Kaepernick turn the other way because it doesn’t affect them.
We complain about people “taking” from the government. “Something for nothing,” we call it. But at the same time, we refuse to pay people a living wage for 40 hours of work.
“Get off your lazy ass and work,” we say to people who hold down two and three part-time jobs because huge corporations don’t want to help people get health care, so they only hire part-time workers to avoid offering health care, sick time and other benefits.
But when a football player — someone they love because he provides them with entertainment — has the temerity to bring these injustices to their attention, they just hate him.
“He’s a coward,” they say.
Really? He’s willing to sacrifice all he has to make this statement.
The national anthem is a song, a symbol; the people Colin Kaepernick stood up for by staying seated are very real, as are the injustices they face every day in our society.
In my book, whether I agree with his action or not, he has courage.