Monday, September 5, 2016
Kaepernick Sitting Stands for Disrespect
Kaepernick Sitting Stands for Disrespect
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 5, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, and gentlemen, please remove your caps as we honor America with the singing of our National Anthem.
We’ve heard this request countless times at sporting events around this great nation, and whatever our collective gripes are pertaining to the ills, perceived or not, of the United States, we comply with this request. Does this make us mindless drones or thoughtless lemmings bowing to a red, white, and blue cotton idol? Certainly not – especially those of the American citizenry of the Jewish and Christian faiths who abide by the Ten Commandments to have but one Deity – that of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
No, no – we the people honor this great nation for the opportunities it has afforded us – opportunities – not guarantees – opportunities to work hard and achieve our goals. We honor this nation by giving back to it for the freedoms it affords us – and yes, that even includes the freedom to speak out against this country.
One such outspoken figure, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has opted to sit during the playing and singing of the Star Spangled Banner. That is his right. That is his expression of the freedom of speech as outlined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. A right that thousands upon thousands of men and women have died protecting. A right that thousands of men and women in uniform – be it the armed forces, police, and fire no longer have the option to enjoy due to the debilitating and crippling injuries sustained protecting Kaepernick’s right to express. A right replete with consequences such as losing endorsements, being cut from the team should his personal choices prove detrimental to the environment surrounding the 49ers, and having his issues of concern overshadowed by his poor choices.
Millions of us will use our same First Amendment rights of free speech and expression to call Kaepernick a recalcitrant, sanctimonious, ungrateful malcontent; because he is just that and more. Fox News and Fox Business reporter Dagen McDowell called Kaepernick “a hot, steaming bag of garbage.” And that is her right in accordance with the United States Constitution.
Kaepernick claims he is sitting out the National Anthem as a way of garnering attention for issues of concern to him. Instead what Kaepernick is doing is demonstrating disrespect for the symbol of the country that affords him a great living as a professional athlete and disrespects every man and woman that has worn the uniform of the United States past and present – regardless of color; and color seems to be an issue with him.
“I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick.
Black people and people of color are being oppressed? Where? How? This is the country that elected a black president – an election that could not have been won without support and votes of white people – votes cast using a secret ballot. The current and most previous Attorney General of the United States – black. The two people who served as Secretary of State in the previous administration – black. Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, General Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice all required approval via votes by an almost all white United States Senate – and bipartisan at that.
Is there still racism and bigotry? Sure, there is, and it probably will never be eviscerated. And when we begin to deny people the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment – even Kaepernick’s right to be a pinhead, we fail as a civilization.
I don’t approve of Kaepernick’s stand on sitting – I think it diminishes his argument. He, as a professional athlete, has a fairly large stage from which to opine – certainly the San Francisco Chronicle would publish an op-ed from Colin Kaepernick sooner than one penned by Colin Smith.
As for Kaepernick’s assertion that black people and people of color are oppressed in this country, he may have a point, but he won’t like the explanation, for it will damage his narrative. Blacks are oppressing other blacks in this country – in the killing fields of the inner cities where black on black crime, especially murder, is out of control and has been for decades now. That’s oppression.
Blacks are oppressing other blacks in this country – in the classrooms in those same cities. As an educator having taught in Elizabeth, NJ, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC, I have seen first-hand the disasters masquerading as inner-city schools. A student who wants to succeed, go to college, make a better life for him/herself is held back by those students who perpetually disrupt classes, threaten students who dare to aspire to something beyond an underserved neighborhood, and shorten the time on task by creating a need for more time on discipline instead of on learning. It is frustrating for those students who want to get ahead and it is frustrating for those teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of those students. Far too often those teachers leave inner-city schools for greener pastures or leave the teaching profession altogether.
And with the dearth of education in far too many black communities, comes more black oppression – the lack of employment opportunities. For this form of oppression, blame the Democrat Party for their incessant lack of support of school choice. The lack of legitimate employment turns some people toward illegitimate employment that oftentimes leads to prison or worse, the cemetery. When poorly educated black men are in prison, single mothers are left to raise children on their own, prohibiting them from a proper education and possible ascension up the employment ladder.
And because of the educational crisis, for decades there has been affirmative action to assist people garnering acceptance into college. This form of assistance is not oppression, Mr. Kaepernick. On the other hand, affirmative action has been deleterious to minority communities. While it helps people get into school, it does not help people remain in school in order to learn and earn that coveted degree – and that is oppression.
That Barack Obama supports Kaepernick should surprise no one. This is typical of Obama – when given the choice of two roads, he opts for the road less patriotic. But at least Obama is consistent in continuing to walk the path established for him by Saul Alinsky and his Rules for Radicals.
Kaepernick went on to say “I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country.” Sitting during the National Anthem hardly proves that respect.
No one I know thinks the United States is perfect. We all take issue with something we believe could be improved upon in this country. Yet, we support the concept of the United States “for which it stands, one nation, under G-d, with liberty and justice for all.” We support the premise for which the country was created – “to form a more perfect Union,” because it was not perfect in 1787 when the Constitution was penned – the Bill of Rights soon after amended that great document. It still wasn’t perfect then either in 1791 and an additional 17 amendments later, the most recent ratified in 1992, this is still not a perfect Union. However, we the people continue to strive for a “more perfect Union,” but we do it in a respectful manner, using our influences, our appropriate forums, and our civilized forms of communication to garner sway with our audiences.
For all of the pitfalls and foibles the United States may have, it is still the greatest country on G-d’s planet. If Kaepernick feels so oppressed here, good luck finding a less oppressing country to call home. The NFL has already demonstrated its disrespect by remaining silent on Kaepernick’s antics and by opposing the small decal with which the Dallas Cowboys wished to adorn their helmets in memory of the five murdered police officers. (http://sanfordspeaksout.blogspot.com/2016/08/nfl-throws-flag-on-dallas-decal.html) The league will play its first Sunday slate of games this week on September 11 – let’s see how disrespectful Colin Kaepernick will be.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.