The reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s protest shows that patriotism can be poisonous
By Sumit Rehal
American football Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick has been at the centre of social attention following his refusal to stand up for the U.S. national anthem during game days.
The San Francisco 49ers star has been boycotting the gesture in protest at the treatment of black U.S. citizens over the last year amid continued police brutality cases and political tensions. The reaction to his protest has been a mixed bag with many supporting the player for using his position as a platform for change while others have been disgusted with the remark and have called for him to be heavily penalised.
It is argued that the national anthem is racist itself with the use of the word slave embedded in the lyrics while the broader message of the move is a protest from the people to the authorities.
The controversial response by the public has displayed that patriotism can divide the people and prevents critical thinking. Rather than seeing the actions of Kaepernick as a fight against injustice on the people from officials, many have seen it as a disrespect to Americans as a whole.
The ever ready, Donald Trump used the drama to garner even further support from his conservative following.
“I have followed it and I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try. It won’t happen.” Said the presidential candidate.
This statement summarises the mentality of half of America. Trump’s camp doesn’t accept that Kaepernick is an American citizen and anything rebellious that people of his community do is Un-American. The total irony of this is that Donald Trump is leading a campaign that is titled “Make America Great Again.” This is exactly what Kaerpenick is striving to achieve.
Kaepernick is not comparing his situation with other countries because he is an American and is fighting to make his own country “Great”. This mentality of the American political patriot is neo-fascist and they view anything that is opposing the system as a threat to the people of the country rather than seeing it as an opportunity for communities to come together. Their response to is push the people of concern away rather than addressing the core issue at hand.
Supporters of Kaepernick have compared the athlete’s motives to that of Muhammad Ali, who boycotted the draft to fight in Vietnam during the American civil right’s movement half a century ago. The boxer passed away earlier this year and billions mourned his death but a huge fraction of those same people are now against the actions of an athlete who is representing everything that Ali would have stood for.
Our love for our country is not determined by nationalist rituals or political policies, it is measured by our love for our fellow countrymen, our contribution to society and appreciate for local culture.
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