Embattled 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has stirred up a firestorm of controversy with his refusal to stand during the national anthem, which is played at the beginning of every football game. The right-wing has erupted in the usual torrent of abuse and condemnation that they level every time a person of color dares to insinuate that perhaps the United States isn’t the most perfect nation that ever was and that minorities in America suffer systematic mistreatment at the hands of the white majority.
The right-wing’s complaints, as expressed on social media, can be categorized in the following ways:
- WELL IF YOU DON’T LOVE AMERICA THEN YOU CAN JUST GET OUT, YOU UNGRATEFUL [racial slur]! YOU MIGHT AS WELL BURN THE FLAG *burns jersey*
- OF COURSE HE HATES AMERICA HE’S A SECRET MUSLIM (He’s not)
- OH SO THAT MUST MEAN YOU HATE OUR VETERANS, YOU UNGRATEFUL [racial slur]!
- YOU WERE RAISED BY WHITE PARENTS SO YOU DON’T GET TO COMMENT ON RACIAL ISSUES, UNGRATEFUL [racial slur]!
- YOU DON’T GET TO COMMENT ON SOCIOECONOMIC DISPARITY BECAUSE YOU ARE WILLING TO COMMODIFY YOUR ATHLETIC TALENTS AND BE PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN EXCHANGE FOR SACRIFICING YOUR LONG-TERM MENTAL HEALTH FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE MASSES, YOU HYPOCRITICAL [racial slur]!
Republican nominee Donald Trump has inevitably decided it’s time to weigh in on this absurd debate, and he has chosen option 1 – get out! Given that his entire presidential platform is based on expelling people of color from the United States, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
“I have followed it and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” said Trump to radio host Dori Monson.
The hypocrisy of the so-called patriots who attack Kaepernick for “disrespecting the flag” is just obscene, because the very essence of freedom is his right to not stand for the anthem. As this veteran stated, forcing him to “respect” the flag isn’t respect – it’s fascism. And to be fair, it turns out the national anthem’s third verse literally celebrates the murder of slaves, so he definitely has a point.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.