“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” … Colin Kaepernick
I’m gonna bring this up once again… but take a slightly different tack on the issue this time.
Colin Kaepernick is being called out by a somewhat significant part of the football watching population, as well as some who never watched a damn second of football, for being disrespectful to the flag and the people who “fought” for the flag… that is… for what it supposedly represents… America and American values. Some say democracy but that’s a crock of malarkey all by itself that I’ll leave for another time.
Myself, and a not insignificant number of other folks, have pretty much established Kaepernick in no way, shape or form is being disrespectful to Americans who serve or have served in the armed forces. He has said as much almost from the get go when he was first being criticized for his protests.
In August 2016, in a postgame interview, he stated… “It’s a freedom that men and women that have fought for this country have given me this opportunity by the contributions they have made. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that’s not happening. There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police. So, that’s a large part of it. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable, make those standards higher.”
So, I am not going to rehash that issue except to say he ain’t disrespecting people who are in the armed forces or are veterans.
But… just to make a point about how foolish it is for people to say he is disrespectful to the people who serve in the armed forces, I will quote from a letter that U.S. Army veteran Richard Allen Smith wrote when he heard so damn much about how he… and other veterans or presently serving men and women… had been disrespected by Kaepernick’s protest from a lot of folks and politicians (including a certain candidate for the presidency who said Kaepernick needed to be expelled from the country) who had never served in the armed forces.
“In 1947, former Army officer Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson experienced taunts, epithets, and threats of violence for simply standing up to the status quo of segregation in America.
Since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick engaged in a silent protest to bring attention to the state of emergency facing people of color in America, a chorus of detractors have lined up to denounce his stand, or more accurately his sit. Fans have burned his jersey. A presidential candidate suggested he leave the country. Many have claimed his protest disrespected American veterans.
Jackie Robinson isn’t here today to tell us what he would think of Kaepernick’s protest. But he did convey the same sentiment about the national anthem as Kaepernick in his 1972 autobiography, writing, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”
As military veterans, we write to express our support for the tradition of advocacy by athletes that is embodied by Jackie Robinson and carried on by Colin Kaepernick.
For generations, American athletes have used their public voice to force our collective attention towards the crises and issues that challenge our national conscience. Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Ariyana Smith, the Minnesota Lynx, the Missouri Tigers football team, and stars across professional sports declaring that #BlackLivesMatter, are all part of a brave tradition of protest by athletes. Far from an anomaly, athletes leading on social change has been the norm in America. The right for those athletes, and all Americans, to protest is one we all pledged to defend with our lives if necessary. Far from disrespecting our troops, there is no finer form of appreciation for our sacrifice than for Americans to enthusiastically exercise their freedom of speech. (WTF’s bold emphasis)
While we would not all personally choose to protest in a manner identical to Kaepernick, we respect and honor his choice, and whole heartedly join him in stating unequivocally that BLACK LIVES MATTER. The current state of affairs for people of color in America is unsustainable and unacceptable. According to analysis by the Washington Post, black people in America are two and a half times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white Americans. Far too often, people of color are dying at the hands of law enforcement personnel in the streets, our jails, and their homes. Indictments are rare and convictions are essentially nonexistent.
This status quo outrages us as men and women who raised our right hands and pledged to defend, with our lives if necessary, a Constitution that proclaims intent to “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Those ideals are simply not being upheld for all Americans.
As veterans, we implore all Americans to find your own way to challenge this status quo and advocate for “a more perfect union.” Your method of protest may not be to refrain from the traditions surrounding our national symbols, and it doesn’t have to be. You have the same right as Colin Kaepernick to choose whether and how to advocate, a right we support and served for. However you choose to use your voice, please do so with an understanding that many veterans do not condemn the protest of activists like Jackie Robinson, Colin Kaepernick and everyday Americans seeking justice. Indeed, we see no higher form of patriotism. (WTF’s bold emphasis)
It says what needs to be said straight from the horse’s mouth.
There are countless other documented incidents and presentations by other veterans who have said essentially the same as Smith and his comrades did in their letter.
Yes, there are probably an equal number of vets who said Kaepernick was a dick and an ass… probably in those exact terms, as well as some more thoughtful and respectful words, too.
For instance, in an open letter to Kaepernick retired Army Lt. Col. Kelly Crigger wrote: “You’re not a freedom fighter leading your people out of bondage. You’re an ill-informed athlete who’s only fanning the fires of racism by sitting on the sidelines for a principle that you only understand through a simplistic pop narrative that’s little more than a hashtag campaign.”
The point is… Kaepernick intention was never to be disrespectful to the military and there are many military folks who feel… whether they agree with his stance or not… that they fought for Kaepernick’s right to stand up for a belief.
That leaves the flag issue itself.
This is me… my opinion… and as far as I know not Kaepernick’s.
The flag is an inanimate piece of material. It is a symbol and nothing more. It is a piece of cloth and is no more deserving of being adored or treated as something scared than a golden calf, or some other man made idol, is seen as some sort of image of god.
Whoa. What did I just say?
Some peeps probably are thinking this dude is worse than Kaepernick. The fucking un-American and disrespectful turd.
Listen up peeps… the majority of ya’ll thinking that way are most likely being hypocritical. Or, put into nicer and more diplomatic words… sadly mistaken. Or, in a word and not so nicely said… liars.
You cuss out me… you cuss out Kaepernick… for being disrespectful to the flag, yet many of ya’ll disrespect the flag a hell of a lot more than you say that we do.
Despite how I feel about the flag today… being just an inanimate symbol of America and nothing more…
When I was a child some 60 years or so ago, I was taught to treat the flag with honor… it was driven into my very being when I was in Catholic grammar school… had to say the pledge of allegiance daily along with a daily morning prayer… god and country and of course the flag… the Cub Scouts… the Boy Scouts… Catholic high school… every school boy football game I played in there was the flag and instead of the damn pledge there was the anthem… the Star Spangled Banner… Oh, say can you see … the flag was still there…
And, there were rules…
The flag should never, ever, touch the ground.
The flag was never to be flown at night… unless it was illuminated in some manner.
And, whenever it was taken from its staff or mast, it was to be folded in a specific way… you’ve seen it… during a burial service of an armed forces member, when a soldier or sailor gives a flag to a surviving mother, father, wife or husband of the person being honored.
Instead, I see the flag being flown at all times, through all sorts of weather. I see flags tattered and torn… bedraggled to all hell and back.
I see flags tossed into a corner of closets or up on a shelf or thrown haphazardly into a drawer or linen closet or maybe stowed away in some spider and mice infested attic or cellar.
I see flags used as patches for torn clothing or as shirts or pants.
In fact, let’s cut to the chase… according to USflag.org… The Flag Code, (and Federal law) which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used…
- The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
- The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
- The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
- The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
- The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn, it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
An additional part of the Flag Code is “The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”
A rule… an American law… that is frequently violated at most sporting events, especially professional events.
Check out the way it is displayed at the Super Bowl for instance. Flat and spread out over the field.
According to the rules and federal law… totally wrong and totally disrespectful. Totally illegal.
And, totally accepted as perfectly all right by every person in America.
I’ve never heard anyone.. especially those who call themselves flag waving, god fearing, patriotic Americans… object to how it was being displayed and presented. In fact, on some Veteran Day or Fourth of July celebrations at various MLB ball parks, I have seen people, including military personnel, holding the flag spread out flat… in direct violation of a federal law.
“Although the Flag Code is U.S. federal law, there is no penalty for a private citizen or group failing to comply with the Flag Code and it is not widely enforced… indeed, punitive enforcement would conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech” (Source: Wikipedia)
So, why have a Flag Code… a federal law… if it is never going to be enforced?
Or, maybe it is “enforced” when it is convenient or useful. If, not by law enforcement peeps, then referenced by certain people who think of themselves as respectable, and respectful, patriotic Americans so they can overly (wrongly?) criticize or maybe to put someone into their proper place.
Respect? Yeah, right.
Many of you who be talking shit about Kaepernick and his lack of respect?
You barely even know the meaning of the word when it comes to our country’s emblem… its coat of arms… its national symbol… the national flag. And, some of you probably don’t even have a ghost of an idea of its history. Or, why it was deemed to be treated and displayed in the ways I have listed here.
Its exact origins are really unknown. The Betsy Ross story? Just that… a story.
But ultimately, the flag as we know it today, consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies… and… the varying amounts of stars in the field of blue on the flag… the states of the Union. Which, presently is now 50.
The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
For many people criticizing Kaepernick it’s a word in a song sung by Aretha Franklin.
Hell, even the NFL owners, who have blackballed Kaepernick from playing in the NFL, promote and allow an illegal display of the flag at the majority of the games they present for our amusement and entertainment. To be fair they probably don’t even realize it, but the fact is according to the law it is an illegal display of the flag.
And… they… and others… have the balls to criticize a man who is trying to make a statement about Black folks being killed unnecessarily… sometimes murdered outright… by cops?
They, who are actually breaking the law by the way they display the American flag, want to criticize and blackball a man who is not violating any laws but merely invoking his right to protest injustice in America?
A man who has acted according to his conscious… his personal sense of moral and ethical responsibility… to say something about the reprehensible fact that all too often Black life does not matter in America?
Criticize a man who is expressing his right of freedom of speech as guaranteed by the American Constitution?
Oh… and by the way…
This past Monday evening something wonderful happened… as far as I’m concerned it was wonderful; I hope others see it that way, also…
While the group knelt behind the bench, several other players placed a hand on a kneeling teammate’s shoulder in support.
“There’s a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now,” rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said after the Browns’ second win in two preseason games. “We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general.”
Players said linebacker Christian Kirksey led the prayer.
“We did it out of respect,” Kirksey said. “No disrespect for anyone, we just felt like it was the right time and the need to do it.”
Your move NFL and the NFL owners. Ya’ll gonna blackball any of them players, if they become free agents anytime soon?
Stick it where the sun don’t shine and give Kaepernick a damn job.
Not sane enough…
Last week in the New York Daily News (NYDN) there was an extensive piece that essentially said people… including members of the NYC Police Department… were “… good enough to wear an NYPD or state police shield, but they’re mentally unfit to protect the Holland Tunnel.”
That was the lead sentence in the article and it laid the groundwork for the gist of what the article was all about… that 70% of the men and women hoping to join the Port Authority Police Department (PA)… who have passed the written part of the PA’s exam… can’t pass the psychological part of the exam… even many of the peeps who are already members of the NYPD, the State police departments of NY and NJ and various other law enforcement agencies.
According to the NYDN, ever year about 20,000 people take the Port Authority Police Department written exam to be part of the force that police the airports, PATH trains, Midtown bus terminal and bridges and tunnels linking New York to New Jersey which by the by are potentially key attack points for any terrorist actions.
About 65% of the test-takers… about 13,000… usually pass.
And of those 13,000… about 9,000 are eliminated because they fail the PA’s psychological part of the testing procedures.
Essentially that means of the 13,000 folks who can pass the written part of the Port Authority test 9,000 were deem too mentally off kilter to protect places like the George Washington Bridge, the subways, the airports or other state and federally protected areas like the Statue of Liberty.
That creates some serious questions…
Like… one high ranking official… that’s all the NYDN IDed the person as… said: “If they determine that someone is unfit to be a Port Authority police officer and they already carry a gun, they should be obligated to inform the agency that person works for, but they don’t.”
Then on the other side of the coin… people like New Jersey cop John… he asked his last name be withheld… who works in his department’s special victims unit investigating sexual assaults and was told he failed the psych test, said, “I already work in probably one of the most stressful units in law enforcement and they tell me I’m not cut out for this job. It just didn’t add up. Why wouldn’t they hire someone who has experience in stressful situations?”
John appealed the PA results and he was eventually sent a form letter that he did not “meet the psychological requirements,” and “This does not mean you are not qualified for other positions within or outside of the Port Authority or any other endeavors you choose to pursue.”
Others question the validity of the testing procedures themselves.
After all… like John… many are already members of law enforcement agencies and have been determined psychologically sound enough to carry a gun and have the corresponding authority to enforce laws. maybe the test is faulty or somehow otherwise tainted.
Or, maybe it is just too damn hard and not fair constructed.
There might be another reality at work here.
Maybe… the Post Authority psych test is overly stringent because they want people who will react with an abundance of calm and sanity in outrageous and insane situations to do their jobs.
Maybe they want folks, if confronted with one of the most stressful situations possible… a terror attack… who can stay as calm and resolved as possible to do what needs to be done to eliminate the threat with the least amount of violence.
Maybe they want cops who can see potential threats, investigate the threats and find it might just be citizens being careless, stupid or ignorant and with a little rationale and common sense can defuse a bad situation and keep things simply moving along.
Maybe they want officers who can enforce laws and keep the peace, even make an arrest if need be, without having situations develop where people get killed when other more sensible and peaceful tactics could be employed… with the result being the PA cops can get the job done not only so they can see another day, but so the people they interact with can also go home to be with their loved ones when it’s all said and done.
Maybe the peeps who are members of all the other law enforcement agencies are subjected to not stringent enough psych testing and that’s why there is an inordinate amount of citizen’s lives that get lost each year to the overuse of law enforcement weapons.
More lies and misdirection…
Trumpty Dumpty had this to say about the situation where citizens responded… sometimes very unkindly… to white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and talking racist shit about anyone who wasn’t a WASP like person… white, protestant, Anglo Saxon type of person…
“I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
To be clear… during the very contentious Trump Tower question-and-answer session about the Charlottesville demonstration/march/protest, Trumpty said that the Unite the Right marchers had a permit to demonstrate, but that counter-protesters did not.
That’s either a blatant and purposeful lie… or… if, I am kind… a thoroughly misinformed and possible very ignorant comment by Trumpty.
I’m leaning towards the blatant lie theory.
According to Politifact…
“The Washington Post Fact Checker published a document in an earlier fact-check showing that counter-protesters had indeed acquired an official permit for Saturday, when the Unite the Right march was scheduled.
The permit was issued to Walt Heinecke, an associate professor of educational research, statistics and evaluation at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. The “special events certificate of approval” for a public demonstration at two parks in Charlottesville, McGuffey Park and Justice Park. Those are located within one and two blocks, respectively, of Emancipation Park, the location of a Robert E. Lee statue and the destination for the Unite the Right march. The certificate covers Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition, Dickler of the city of Charlottesville said that counter-protesters would have been permitted even outside of the two park locations specified in the permit. “A permit does not bar other individuals from entry to a public park (such as Emancipation Park), nor does it restrict who can be on streets or sidewalks outside of and/or adjacent to the park.”
The existence of the city permit issued to Heinecke flatly debunks Trump’s assertion that the counter-protesters lacked a permit — assuming you understand Trump to mean that counter-protesters had no permit for Saturday’s march.”
When the White House staffers were informed of all this by Politifact, they responded by saying Trumpty was talking about “a related, but separate, Friday night protest on the campus of the University of Virginia.”
That was the night prior to the Saturday march when about 250 white nationalists carrying torches marched on campus and confronted 20 to 30 students who had locked arms around the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Violence erupted with some people suffering injuries.
The staffers aid Trumpty specifically said… “I looked the night before… if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee … You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest … because I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.” (Emphasis by the White House.)
Politifact responded by saying this defense of Trumpty is also full of problems.
“… no permit was required for any protest on the University of Virginia campus, either from the university (which has jurisdiction on the campus) or the city (which does not).”
Politifact also referenced University of Virginia spokesman Anthony P. de Bruyn, who said, “The University does not require permits to use public spaces. Existing university policy speaks only to the ability to access university-owned facilities such as academic buildings and performance venues. The University of Virginia is a public institution, and as such must abide by state and federal law regarding the general public’s right to access outdoor spaces. This includes open spaces such as… our historic Lawn.”
Neither side had permits… simply… because there were none necessary to give.
Just some more dumb bullshit lies or purposeful misdirection to keep people at odds with one another.
Divide and conquer… fill their heads with lies… misdirections… bullshit… move on… until the next exchange to spread more lies and create more misdirections and pile on more bullshit
If, this present administration lets racist groups have a voice in our cities and towns and on our streets under the guise of allowing First Amendment rights… free speech… then he lays down another roadblock that keeps us all from understanding and realizing what the real goal of the present administration is… to let the alt right and the 1% take over the government and create a true oligarchic state where democracy is made nearly inconceivable and virtually nonexistent and we are left begging for whatever scraps are available and fighting amongst ourselves for those scraps.
Be very aware that Trumpty is not as stupid as some try to make him out to be… he may be crazy… insane… but not stupid. He… and his ilk… wants to divide us so the rich can pass laws that return America to a time where they had us all under their thumbs and they were able to rule with virtual impunity to enrich their coffers immeasurably.
Like… prior to the Civil War.
Another thousand words…
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