So I wish you well, Sarge, give 'em Hell!
Kill me a thousand or so
And if you ever get a war without blood and gore
I'll be the first to go Phil Ochs, The Draft Dodger's Rag
" Guess that makes me a proud b*tch."
Teresa Kaepernick, Colin Kaepernick's mother's response to Trump's comment about her son.
By Edward Curtin
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In the true spirit of patriotic opposition, Colin Kaepernick took a courageous knee when he protested the current and historical treatment of black Americans and people of color during the playing of the National Anthem. For his patriotism, the NFL has made sure he remains unemployed, and now, when our reality-television president urges NFL teams to fire any "son-of-a-b*tch" who dares follow Kaepernick's example, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell releases a sanctimonious statement calling Trump's demented words "divisive comments," revealing an "unfortunate lack of respect" for NFL players. NFL owners and others chimed in with the word of the day -- "divisive." Exactly who is being divided from whom is left to speculation?
The hypocrisies of this lurid spectacle continue to mount daily.
Kaepernick knelt on principle during the Obama presidency. His was a lonely act. Now that the buffoonish Trump tweets and speaks his grotesqueries, it has become easy to emerge from the woodwork and join the crowd in supporting the man who made his solitary witness. Cheap grace, the German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer termed the desire for "salvation" without paying a price. He said this before being executed by Hitler for his opposition to Nazism.
Who among those kneeling today in solidarity with Kaepernick are willing to pay a price? What's the NFL's price? The Tycoons who own the teams? Who among them agrees with a man who gave his life for black liberation, Dr. Martin Luther King, who made it emphatically clear that the fight against racism involved opposing a trinity of devils when he said:
We must recognize that we can't solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power" this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together" you can't really get rid of one without getting rid of the others" the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.
Colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism -- this is U.S. history, not the myths proffered by mythmakers, politicians, and schools. The system of exploitation is old and enduring, and the point of its spear is war. It is great that many players join in solidarity with Kaepernick. Racism must be opposed and freedom of speech exercised and defended. But it would be better indeed if more of those who rightly oppose Trump's disgusting comments and support Kaepernick speak out about the triple devils King warned about. The system of racial exploitation does not stand alone; never has. Nor will it fall alone.
The Star Spangled Banner is a celebration of war, meant to stir martial emotions. It also contains racist lyrics. And football is the war sport par excellence, extremely violent, and deeply tied to the spectacle of cruelty that dominates American society today and that has caused so much suffering for black people and other people of color for centuries. In the 1960s, Brazilian television, in an effort to distinguish football (soccer) from American football, aptly termed it "military football." And while it, like other sports, has been an avenue to wealth and "success" for some black Americans (a tiny minority), its war-like structure and violent nature is noted with a nod and a wink. Heck, it's fun to play and exciting to watch, and is just a colorful spectacle that we can't do without, despite all the concussions, pain killers, and crippling life-long injuries. Lasting effects similar to those suffered by veterans returned from war zones. The gridiron is a war zone.
That the NFL is a conditioning agent for the love of war and violent aggression is usually passed over. Its language, like all good linguistic mind control, becomes powerfully invisible.
Colin Kaepernick, like all quarterbacks, is the field general who throws bombs to flankers as he tries to avoid the blitz. Each team defends and conquers the enemy's territory, pushing its opponent back through frontal assaults and pounding the enemy's line. This is mixed with deceptive formations and aerial assaults behind the opponent's line. When none of this works and the enemy goes on the offensive, a different platoon is brought in to defend one's territory. One's front line must then defend against a frontal assault and hit back hard.