TAKING A KNEE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA…

September 3rd, 2017

170903 mad magazine norman rockwell runaway militerized police
Last Fall I wrote quite a bit about Colin Kaepernick, Rodney Axson and a movement in protest of police murders of black men. Kaepernick, and others, continue those protests this season as they should because the murders continue unabated in Northeastern Ohio and around our nation.

We can only expect the extra-judicial execution of people of color to grow worse thanks to the decision by President Donald John Trump’s Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to toss out President Barack Hussein Obama’s post-Ferguson decision to stop equipping police with heavy military equipment. At that time, President Obama said:

We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like [police are] an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.

Yesterday, while running errands I listened to Performance Or Politics?, a Scott Simon interview with Colin Fleming, author of the New York Times Op-ed piece Maybe Colin Kaepernick Is Just Not That Good. Fleming examined whether or not Colin Kaepernick was benched for his political actions, for his playing abilities or for some combination of factors. He wrote:

Whether or not Colin Kaepernick plays another down in the NFL, I’m going to say that he can achieve more off a football field than he—or anyone else in the sport—can achieve on one.

Football, in the larger scheme of things, is not that important. Kaepernick, meanwhile, has a message about crucial aspects of our frayed but hopefully repairable nation that will continue to grow. If he has the devotion to work for change, he could outclass Tom Brady, or any player you might name, as someone who did something that truly matters for future generations.

But I thought it might be useful to at least consider something. The conventional wisdom is that Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after last season and has yet to be signed by another team, does not have an N.F.L. job on account of his politics. In protest against racism and police brutality, he won’t stand for the national anthem, and he’s increasingly outspoken on social issues. Earlier this summer in a tweet he likened the police to members of the fugitive slave patrol. N.F.L. owners, the thinking goes, must be racists who don’t like his politics—or cynical pragmatists who don’t like that their racist fans don’t like his politics.

What seems to me more problematic than Kaepernick’s not having a job is the general unwillingness to consider that this situation might be justified on the merits, given Kaepernick’s current attributes, or lack thereof, as a quarterback, rather than assuming, as part of a kneejerk gospel of victimhood, that persecution must be the cause.

Kneejerk or not, the protest resonates in Middle America as evidenced by a tweet from an Ohio Supreme Court Justice and the decision of my local weekly newspaper, The North Royalton Post, to make I don’t care about them anymore after the shameful kneeling stunt they pulled one of five possible reader responses to the question: What kind of season will the Browns have this year? As of this writing, that response is No. 2 by a large margin.

Xenophobia, fear of the other and the prejudice and bigotry they engender are far from gone.

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