Stop Lyin' to Yourself: American "Patriotism"
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
- Emma Lazarus
In light of recent events I think it's time I set America straight about patriotism.
San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to exercise his rights as an American and sit out the National Anthem during the third week of the preseason. An act that he had exercised two times prior without any media attention. When asked why he has been sitting out the nations anthem he expressed his displeasure in America's lack of discipline and justice with police officers who kill people of color. A sentiment that has been on the lips of many people since the shooting of Mike Brown and countless others before and after Ferguson. What has occurred since then and when every single person of color speaks out against brutality is a constant backlash from either talking heads of the media or racist social media trolls.
What's worse is the countless number of African American athletes who never spoke out against police brutality, domestic violence, concussions, or steroids but had more than two cents on Kaepernick's stance and being American. Which leads to the task at hand, America needs to stop lying about patriotism.
Every now and then Americans pick and choose when they want to be red blooded patriots, most notably every four years during the Olympics, during times of war and international conflict, and more recently when people of color remind them of their culture of oppression. Yes I said culture and not history because history would indicate that these things are behind us and indeed they are not. When we bring up things like police brutality or unfair sentencing we are constantly told that we are the cause of all our transgressions. And while this isn't absolve everyone from their sins, we have to be aware that the same people who are claiming these things are behind us, are the same ones behind the gun.
Personally I agree with Colin's stance because it is his right as an American to organize in civil protest. He is a recognizable athlete and he is using his platform justifiably so to voice his concerns. However speaking out against injustice is considered to be unpatriotic. Not saluting the flag of a country that has done a great deal of false advertising of "liberty and justice for all" leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths. Even when that country parades around the world under the guise of liberating oppressed people it wouldn't dare blink an eye at the oppressed, impoverished, and marginalized citizens that it holds. Patriotism should come with a disclaimer or an asterisk next to it because it only applies to certain people under certain conditions. Get with the program or you can leave, or "go back to Africa" were only the few sentiments hurled at people who dared to stand with Kaepernick. "All lives matter" or questions of his blackness, monetary advantages and even his faith were topics of debate. None of which have anything to do with being American. You see the truth of the matter is, to be a patriot, to be an American; you have to go to church on Sunday's, grill on holidays, love the police, stand behind the military, and not ask questions. To most Americans patriotism is nothing but blind, deaf, and dumb loyalty to anything and everything red, white, and blue. Patriotism doesn't like to be told the truth and the truth is the most patriotic thing one can do is stand on his or her beliefs.
That's exactly what Colin Kaepernick did and will continue to do, because that's what being a TRUE patriot is. Standing up in the face of fear, with more to lose than to gain, and believing in doing what is right regardless of what the masses think. Some of you may not want to believe this and this is where the lie should stop.