Politics, pop culture

OBAMA’S COMMENT ON COLIN KAEPERNICK AND THE NEED FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Written the day after re-watching Scooby Doo the movie for the first time as an adult. I’m changed.

I’m in a coffee shop—asshole—and I have two hours of free WiFi and I’ve spent roughly 30 of them to read the recaps of RuPaul’s Drag Race AllStars (Allstars?), the Real Housewives of New York City “Reunion Part 1”, and the latest Difficult People. I have diverse interests, but they’re all terrible and classless.

So now I’m going to make a complete…hold on (looks up 360+180)…540 degree turn (THAT’S HOW DIFFERENT THIS ARTICLE IS GONNA BE FROM ITS INTRO; also does anyone know how to do the “degree” symbol on the Mac?) and discuss the latest in the Colin Kaepernick timeline.

While at the G20 in China, Obama said, when asked to comment on Kaepernick, that “he is exercising his constitutional right to make a statement…Sometimes [an active citizenry] is messy and controversial and it gets people angry and frustrated but I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.”

A little background: In the preseason games, Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat during the National Anthem, saying that he would not support a country that he felt oppressed minorities and people of color, citing particularly the recent instances of police violence and the subsequent lack of strong response towards those offenders. Since then, he has either sat or knelt during the National Anthem.

Interestingly, his team has widely supported him, saying that it is his choice whether or not to participate in the anthem.

On the opposite end, the Santa Clara Police Officer’s Association threatened to boycott offering officers for the games. They were insulted by the perceived insults that police officers were getting “paid leave for murdering minorities” and that if the “49ers employee” (Colin Kaepernick) was not properly disciplined, it could result in “police officers choosing not to work at [the 49ers’] facilities.” America’s least-favorite citrus product, Donald Trump, took the opportunity to suggest that maybe Kaepernick should leave America if he didn’t like it (which is every bitchy eighth-grader’s response when they don’t agree with something).

Others have claimed that Kaepernick was insulting veterans—he wasn’t—and that he was being disrespectful to them. In response, veterans have started the hashtag “VeteransForKaepernick.”

The first veteran, Marcus Newsome, to use the hashtag felt that people were using the veterans as a vehicle for venting their anger. One veteran tweeted that they never served to “protect a song” but rather the “right to protest and free speech.”

As a journalist, I obviously care about free speech and everyone’s right towards free speech. But beyond that, as a human, I think it’s important that people with platforms use those platforms to bring attention and light to issues that they care about. Kaepernick is probably a multimillionaire. He is firmly ensconced in one of America’s most popular sports. He could easily take a back seat to politics and stay muted and safe. But what’s important in America, especially in periods of turmoil like this, that everyone use their voices to speak up.

People who have reacted to Kaepernick’s stance make me so mad because it’s interesting to see what is acceptable in America and what isn’t. And what I mean by that is what people will get upset about and what people won’t.

A few years ago, when Ray Rice beat and abused his wife, he was given a short suspension, switched from a couple teams, but largely maintained his same level of popularity. But when someone like Kaepernick takes a strong political stance for the good of people, everyone gets foaming at the mouth. We care more about the santicity of some stupid fucking song than we do about a known abuser. We will forgive rape, drug abuse and violence, but we won’t forgive “upsetting tradition.” We are so sunken into tradition that we’re choking on it.

giphy8

Source: Giphy// Metaphor for “cutting ourselves free of malignant traditions???

These people who are so angry at Kaepernick are angry that anyone would dare question the “greatness” of America, angry that anyone would remind them on the ugly and unpopular issues going on. These are the people who would sacrifice Brock Turner’s victim to stop his horrific crime from ruining his life. There are so many terrible things that Americans will excuse and allow, but it’s sickening to see what they find to go too far.

I think my response would be different if Kaepernick’s actions were different, but at this point, I agree with him. He respectfully sat during the anthem. He gave concise reasons as to why he would not stand. He wasn’t belligerent or rude or disrespectful, and if you disagree with him, then you should behave the same way.

If you stifle freedom of speech and the right to protest, if you think that Kaepernick should be let go from the NFL, then you are acting directly antithetically from the America that you say that you are trying to protect. The America that started was not static or steeped in tradition. It lived and breathed as something that relied on checks and balances, on the passion of the people to shape it. If we squelch people today who are trying to shape America for the better with passion, then we’re fighting to protect something that’s already dead.

I don’t want to get all emo, but that’s how I feel about it. And if President Obama has the same sentiment as me, then I’m fucking golden, hunny.

On a lighter note, reversing that 540 degree turn, I’m sitting in the café and originally the table I’m currently at had no chair. I went up to the guy sitting at the table next to mine—who had two chairs—and asked if I could borrow one. Kind of rudely, he said no, that he was waiting for a friend. After I eventually found a chair, I sat down and started writing. A few minutes later, after the recap of RuPaul and midway through the recap of Real Housewives, another man came up and tried to take the chair. Even more rudely, the guy sitting said that the chair was not up for grabs. The man backed away.

Not ten minutes after that, the guy sitting packed up his stuff and left, HAVING NEVER HAD ANY USE FOR THE OTHER CHAIR. Now, I’ve done some bad things in the past—lying, cheating, hustling—but I’ve never done anything as karmically bad as that. Good luck, dude. Good luck with your fucking life.

Was it sacrilegious to use such silly gifs for such a serious article? Am the one with bad karma??!

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