By: Joe Cranwell
The President unnecessarily associated NFL protests against racism and support for Black Lives Matter with military issues. The players were not disrespecting veterans or current soldiers.
Colin Kaepernick protested racial injustice. He used his platform to spread awareness. He used it to speak for black Americans slain by a police that is supposed to protect all citizens. He used it to speak for the families of these men and women who had to watch as the people who killed their sons and daughters and brothers and sisters were acquitted of these crimes over and over by a justice system that has elevated police officers above the law for decades. This is an injustice that has been a part of our country since its inception, but this protest is larger than Colin Kaepernick’s message now. When the President of the United States of America called peaceful protestors “son of a bitch,” he spat in the face of free speech and the long history of peaceful protest in America. This protest is not to disrespect the military. It is to show disgust and outrage with a President who defends white supremacists that murdered a woman in Charlottesville but attacks football players who peacefully protest by saying they disrespect our military. The first verse of the national anthem is about a battle. It is about our military, but it is NOT exclusively about our military. One cannot use their service to elevate themselves to a status of supreme patriotism.
That song is about our country. It is about the United States of America. It is about all people who serve the country. Public service workers, school teachers, firefighters and disaster response workers all serve our country. The military is a big part of the narrative with the national anthem, but do not blame peacefully protesting football players for disrespecting the military. Real disrespect comes from a government that has failed to provide veterans with adequate support upon their return. Twenty veterans kill themselves each day and the focus of our president is on battling the NFL and NBA. Our military lost 300,000 soldiers during the Civil War, yet there is no outrage from veterans when they see white Americans proudly flying the Confederate battle flag, a symbol of treason and division.
Take your outrage and put it toward something productive for your cause. Tell the President and the Republican Party that controls Congress and the Oval Office to put their $600 billion military budget to use and help the people who served. Tell the President to reprimand Confederate reactionaries whose most recent protest led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Colin Kaepernick is not the one who said John McCain is not a war hero because “he was captured” and attacked the Khan family for speaking at the DNC. It was the man that 62 million people voted for that sits in the “dump” called the White House. Sad!