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Taking the Knee (A Higher Patriotism)

In August, 2016, Colin Kaepernick began his peaceful protests during the national anthem. Indeed, criticism rained down on him from the President (with his thinnest veneer of patriotism), from the NFL and from seemingly all corners of society. To most Americans among us, the pledge and national anthem is a totally routine, vapid and empty gesture.

Indeed, Kaepernick’s critics are the hypocrites who pledge a flag, speaking of a nation “under God” with “liberty and justice for all” but limiting the “goodies” for whites. The 1787 Constitution itself deemed Negro slaves as only 60% of a human beings. Slaves were held until released under the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, except in Oklahoma which only authorized release of slaves in the latter part of 1865. Police departments were formed to catch runaway slaves. Slavery was later superseded by the Jim Crow laws, customs, and dozens if not hundreds of tools, trademarks and indicia of the American caste system. The notion of freedom has, for people of color in America has been a farce and sham for some four hundred years and continues this day with environmental racism, disfranchisement of colored peoples, and dozens of other deceptions, devices, rules together with cultural and systemic “machinery” designed to keep colored peoples in check, poor and denied voting privileges.

Colin Kaepernick did not spurn the flag. He did not burn the flag. He did not turn 180 decrees and point his nude butt at the flag. He said nothing disparaging about the crowd full of hypocrites who pretended that “all is well” and pretended that the promises of the pledge have been fulfilled. No, he honored the flag with a special (elegant) footnote i.e. genuflecting to show his humility before a nation that has made strides toward eliminating overt racism, while honoring systemic racism inherent in police departments, in Jim Crow; in schools; in housing; in the insurance industry, in employment, etc. Kaepernick showed class, elegance and restraint in permitting the besmirched ceremony to continue and doing his best not to halt the charade in the name of honesty and justice. They are but ignorant hypocrites who would mock and punish Kaepernick for his taste, perseverance, nerve, bravery and honor as he quietly and who in subtle fashion blew the whistle on our American schizophrenia as to the issue of race, honor and the false promises of our founding documents.