Colin Kaepernick and I have never met, although we have some things in common. He is an NFL quarterback and I am an NFL unsigned free agent. We share many of the same physical attributes. (See post entitled Quarterback Material). If I meet him at an NFL activity, such as a game or NFL Player Association meeting or party, I would probably like him.
Watching him sit during the national anthem, I don’t like him so much. It seems disrespectful. Actually, he himself says it is intended to be disrespectful. He says:
“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.”
He has the right to say whatever he wants, of course. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.
We Americans have other amendments in our Constitution too. The Fourteenth Amendment says:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
I, like most of you, am opposed to oppression and racial prejudice, and unfairness of any kind. It appears that the authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were opposed to the same things to which Colin is opposed. Not all the same things, of course. As far as I know, they were not ashamed of our flag. We probably did not have a national anthem yet.
I, like Colin, and all of you other Americans, have the right to freedom of speech. That includes the right for me to say I don’t agree with Colin’s symbolic speech by him sitting during the national anthem. I don’t agree with disrespecting our flag.
I think his sitting does not make his message clear. Many football fans who see him refusing to honor the flag have not read his words of explanation. I have read those words and still do not understand. He himself does not seem too oppressed. He could do more to improve our nation by positive example than simply pointing out the obvious that racism still exists, despite such progress as the election of a mixed race President, who has appointed two black Attorneys General. There is racism even in Denver, where we have a black mayor and a black chief of police. My point is that, despite progress in fighting institutional racism by changing laws to ban discrimination, there are people who are still prejudiced. Ironically, Colin is one of them, apparently, because he has judged from afar whether cases in which he did not participate are being handled under due process of law. Colorblind law.
Colin seems to be saying that Black people have been killed by police who, in his opinion, should not get paid leave during an investigation because he already knows somehow that the police were not justified in using deadly force. Maybe he doesn’t want the police to get due process of law per the 14th amendment. Maybe he wants to be the one to decide from afar, without participating in the legal process.
Colin’s example of sitting has nevertheless influenced me to emulate him. My wife has requested that I mow the lawn. I mean no disrespect towards her, but it does not seem right for me to blissfully mow the grass when there is crime in our nation. Sure, we have passed laws against crime, but people still commit crimes. Until there is no crime, I refuse to mow. Oh, and until there is world peace too. I will make the world a better place by sitting. It would be selfish on my part to mow during these troubled times.
Would someone please explain my constitutional rights to my wife?
Posted in cultural commentary
, Political commentary
and tagged 14th amendment
, civil rights
, colin kaepernick
, free speech
, quarterback material
More Laws! That’s the Ticket!
America needs more laws. That is obvious to those of you who pay attention to news outlets.
Some of my ideas are not wholly original. I have been influenced by politicians who solve problems with more laws.
For example, there are representatives in Congress today who demand that new laws stopping the use of certain guns will save children from future tragic shootings (by those guns). Why stop there? Let us ban anything that can be used to kill children, such as any gun, knife, baseball bat, bomb, etc.
And why limit it to protecting children? Adults are being killed too. Recently, there was a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. It should be against the law to kill gay people. The shooter there is non-binary. If only a law was in place making it illegal for a non-binary person to shoot gay people, that tragedy could have been avoided.
Sure, we do already have a law making it a crime to commit murder. As I recall, Moses came up with that one for those of you who read Hebrew. But it hasn’t really worked as a deterrent like better laws would. Clearly, we need to be more specific, such as a law stating that transgendered men who were formerly women may not shoot up innocent children and staff at a Christian school. That specificity was missing.
When a person is issued a speeding ticket, the accused offender often tells the officer who is writing the citation that he/she/they did not see the sign with a posted speed limit. It has been said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Still, it is human nature to use the excuse that one did not know one was breaking the law. At least there are signs posting speed limits. There are few, if any, signs that say, “Thou shalt not murder.” How is a person contemplating murder to know “they” would be “breaking the law”? No fair telling them after the fact.
That irrefutable logic extends to U.S. immigration laws. There should be signs at the border clearly stating that only American citizens or persons with valid passports and visas may enter our country — or else. And, because some of the people who migrate to the U.S.A. illegally do not read English well, all signs SHALL be written in Spanish and Chinese as well as English.
I have another idea. In addition to banning tools which could cause harm to persons being murdered, perhaps there are ways to protect the public from those who are attempting to harm members of the public, including, but not limited to, schoolchildren, gay nightclub attendees, concert-goers, mall shoppers, and even those who benefit from white privilege. Maybe we hold off on defunding the police, Maybe it would help to have armed security guards protect us from those who did not get the memo that murder is a bad thing to do.
Denver East High had a student fatally shot outside the school, and a couple weeks later, another student shot two school administrators at the school. Then he shot himself. Consequently, for the remainder of the school year there will be “school resource officers” at Denver schools again.
Law enforcement should not be a despised term, especially when we all are safer when qualified officers “serve and protect.”