Why Colin Kaepernick Failed (Bonus: Trump Still Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment)

Hey, guys!

A Note: I think I may do these shorter political commentary posts more often. There hasn’t been anything that I’ve felt like making a full-on post about for some time. Even my post on Paul Joseph Watson was sitting in my drafts for a while. So perhaps these shorter ones will be a welcome change of pace and a chance for me to make more consistent content.

So this is going to be about Colin Kaepernick and why no one in their right mind should support his current efforts, liberal or not. But first:

Trump recently went on a Twitter tear clearly directed at Kaepernick, stating “anyone who disrespects our wonderful flag or our country should be fired, yadayadayada.” And that’s ridiculous for multiple reasons, even though I don’t support Kaepernick. Firstly, the NFL choosing who it does and doesn’t keep on is allowable in the constitutional sense, but Trump’s statement is another example of someone caring far more about the legal-speak of the First Amendment instead of the point and value it was trying to instill in the American citizenry. No, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional to fire Kaepernick because he’s being politically controversial, but “make this man lose his job because he disrespects something I personally think is important” is not something that jives with the principle of free speech, and my reader-base doesn’t need to be told why.

Also, the notion that we need to automatically respect our country is stupid, and the stupidity is only increased by the notion that “respecting the country” means . . . participating in arbitrary and symbolic acts of shallow patriotism that accomplish nothing. Specifically mentioning the flag is also questionable. The flag is a piece of fabric, not something inherently warranting of respect and reverence. It’s what the flag represents that is important: freedom. And that “freedom” includes the freedom to not give any fucks about symbols we’ve associated with luvin’ ‘Murka. So, in summary: Trump proves once again that he is a bully who does not lend much credence to one of the founding values of the country. Which is more unpatriotic than not standing up while a song plays, in my opinion.

Kaepernick’s not off the hook just because Trump’s reaction to him is ridiculous, though. Colin Kaepernick is legitimately one of the worst things to happen to mainstream liberal activism in a long time. This is not the man you want to be the celebrity face of your protests if you’re a progressive. I feel bad for them because Kaepernick is a prime example of someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Here are his initial statements, that he has expounded upon many times since:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder . . . This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Everything you need to know about why he’s been put through the wringer is in that quote: He’s a rags-to-riches story of a happily adopted bi-racial child achieving his dreams and becoming a multi-millionaire in an entertainment field that has thrived off of connecting itself to American patriotism. The true American Dream (TM). And that above statement makes him seem like he’s wholly disconnected from reality and totally ungrateful for the huge opportunity he has been afforded.

Yes, continue to whine about how people of color are a universally oppressed class, black guy who was handed more money than most people will see in their entire lives to play a sport on TV, an entertainment field largely populated by other black guys given even more money to do the same thing. There seems to be some inherent notion in many modern-day activists’ headspace that if you’re not making things unpleasant for yourself and others than you’re not activist-ing correctly.

And the saddest part of all is that he even sucks as a liberal martyr, because his downfall wasn’t his passionate liberal activism. His downfall was the fact that he’s bad at it. I don’t care that he decided to sit out the national anthem. I don’t care that he grew out his natural hair. I don’t care that he wears BLM shirts on the field or references their organization during the games. I don’t care that he’s chosen to talk about these things. No one else would either if he’d taken half a second to look up what goes into effective, inspiring political/social rhetoric. But no one has bothered to pull him aside to tell him to shut up for a second and learn how to get his ideas across in a way that’s digestible to the wider public. That’s the entire point of activism–to successfully impress an idea upon the public–and he fails.

Hey, Colin! Releasing multiple statements about how the country you live in sucks and will always suck isn’t that great a way to be inspiring. Empty cynicism doesn’t really get the masses all jazzed up. He could do literally all of the same things (go around talking about “blackness,” and wearing an afro, and promoting BLM, and not standing for the national anthem) and avoid almost all of the ill-will he’s garnered if he just learned how to frame his fucking complaints.

DO NOT SAY: “America sucks, and it’s never been good for anyone who wasn’t white ever, so I’m not going to show pride in it. I’m doing my duty as a celebrity to give voice to the idea that America is awful.”

DO SAY: “I of all people know about America’s potential to be a true land of opportunity.  Sadly, for many people, that isn’t being lived up to, and that disappoints me. I’m doing my duty as a celebrity to give a voice to those people and the injustices they face so that I can help America achieve its full potential.”

Boom. No one’s mad at you anymore, Colin. Well, that’s not the case. But all the people turned off by how you just seem to hate the country that made you a rich man would no longer be turned off. You frame yourself as a true patriot who wants to see his country achieve the highest prosperity, who wants everyone to have the freedom that America stands for and that you know it can accomplish. You frame yourself as a man with goals and a love for the values his country was founded upon, not just someone who wants to bitch and moan about how bad things are despite all evidence to the contrary.

Liberals, stop defending this guy. He makes you look bad. He really does.


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