Often times, the most painful truth is the most beneficial. Though, just as often, the messenger of said truth is vilified for simply delivering the message. We're seeing this in real-time with regard to Colin Kaepernick's silent protest of the United States' anthem and its flag during this year’s NFL preseason. Kaepernick's refusal to stand and pay homage to a symbol revered by most in America - during a mediocre song that celebrates slavery - seems to have struck a serious chord among those who consider themselves patriotic; which is ironic, considering that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Peace to Howard Zinn. It's dissent, not obedience, that's been the catalyst for the justice delivered throughout human history. It's protest, not compliance, with which revolutionary momentum is inspired. It's resistance, not conformity that has spearheaded the social, political and economic advancements experienced by our species.
Kaepernick's point was certainly not to denigrate the United States of America, as his silent, personal protest can be placed along the beautiful spectrum of constructive criticism designed to push America toward the greatness she loves to declare but has yet to achieve. Along with the State terrorism that he so rightfully addressed, there remains income inequality, dilapidated schools and substandard housing in the richest nation the planet has ever seen. There’s contaminated drinking water, food insecurity, and mass incarceration, not to mention an imperialist foreign policy that puts Julius Caesar to shame. Even though nationalists, militarists and racists across the country abhor his courageous stand, Colin Kaepernick reminds us that no matter how well-paid a wage slave might be, sociopolitical consciousness is absolutely imperative in this day and age.
Especially at a time when the spirits of Arthur Ashe and Muhammad Ali and others seem to be absent from professional sports, much respect Colin Kaepernick for using his platform to bring more light to an issue far too many are busy denying. I salute Number 7 not just because his sentiments about the flag align with historical fact, but because in the big picture: nationalism, flags, borders and States is some bullshit.