The Squirrels and Colin Kaepernick

We are a nation in dire need of a collective dose of Ritalin. Once again, KaepernickI’ve tried to reason with people over a young man who, on the 26th of August, at the start of an NFL pre-season game, chose to quietly sit down and bow his head during the playing of the National Anthem. He didn’t make a big deal out of it. He warned no one he was going to do it. He issued no press release announcing his intentions. When the music started and everyone not in line for a dog and a beer or texting or talking on their cell phones stood, he sat. Quietly and respectfully, he sat. And then Murica’s collective outrage machine took over the narrative.

Kaepernick was interviewed after the game as microphones were shoved in his face demanding an explanation for his decision to sit out the National Anthem. His answer was short and polite and to the point: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,

” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.”

That’s pretty much when the real outrage machine took over. Didn’t take long for social media to do it’s bidding for the police to excoriate Kaepernick, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the African-American community at large. Rather than taking a hard look at racism and the fact that hundreds of unarmed people of color have been shot, maimed and killed by police or died in police custody – it’s easier to scream about veterans and patriotism and loving this country that afforded him so much opportunity and he’s only ‘half-black’ and was raised by white parents and grew up in privilege and is a millionaire and SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! Seriously, people – they’re like my old blue heeler, Jake. That dog’s prey drive was so strong that when he saw a squirrel, I may as well have been dancing in the street wearing Lady Gaga’s meat dress surrounded by dancing cows and he couldn’t have paid attention to me if he tried. Take your goddamned Ritalin and listen up…

Let me give you a list of names and see if any of them ring a bell: Rumain Brisbon, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, John Crawford III, Tyree Woodson, Eric Garner, Victor White III, Yvette Smith, McKenzie Cochran, Jordan Baker, Miriam Carey, Jonathan Ferrell, Carlos Alcis, Delon Fludd, Kimani Gray, Chavis Carter, Tamon Robinson, Ervin Jefferson, Kendrek McDade, Rekia Boyd, Shereese Francis, Wendell Allen, Dante Price, Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Ramarley Graham, Kenneth Chamberlain, Alonzo Ashley, Derrick Jones, Danroy Henry, Alanya Jones, Steven Eugene Washington, Aaron Campbell, Victor Steen, Shem Walker, Freddie Gray, DeAunta Terrell Farrow, Henry Glover, and so on, and so on and so on.

 My bet is you recognize a few of them but most you’ve never heard of. One of these was a 7-year old little girl. One was a 12 year old boy. One was run over by a police car. One was schizophrenic. One was autistic. Police planted a gun at the scene of one and were caught. One was shot while handcuffed for seeking aid after a hurricane. Police set his body on fire. 2 police officers were convicted for that crime, though the sentences were later vacated by a judge and one of the officers was acquitted during the retrial. What do all of the victims have in common? All were black. All were unarmed. Most of the officers involved were never indicted for so much as lying and few have ever been punished. Does one really have to be black to know this is wrong? A police officer set fire to an unarmed black man’s handcuffed body and his accomplice is roaming free but really, veterans, respect, flag, country, freedom, SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS!

The local radio station who should have been playing country tunes during my drive time decided they wanted to make a statement about just how un-American this young player is and how he should be punished for his actions because he doesn’t deserve THAT kind of freedom of expression. They felt it completely unacceptable. There were a few who pointed out the racist nature of the National Anthem *see verse three* and they were shot down because “we only sing the first verse and you have a black president and racism is over and you don’t mess with history”. The white man’s version of history. I’m sure that’s what they meant. They forgot one thing though – freedom of expression has few limits. We know this as people on Twitter felt completely free to express themselves calling Kaepernick a “Nigger” and a “Porch Monkey” and called for his lynching and called for him to be expelled from the nation he ‘disrespected’. Yeah. They did that. I’m not sure if they feel the need to speak so loudly with their heads lodged so firmly up their asses because they like the smell or the acoustics. But I’ll defend to the death the right of these farm animal copulating asshammers to be ignorant racists. That’s how freedom of expression is supposed to work. I’d have called into that radio station but they no longer take my calls after the last time I pointed out a few salient details on a subject that made them squirm.

During the whole “Confederate Flag” controversy, I was all for removing the flag from the statehouse grounds at the South Carolina capitol building. Not because I don’t like the history and the symbolism (I don’t) but because it was being maintained using taxpayer funds. I have not once objected to anyone flying the Traitor’s Rag over their home, their vehicle or displaying it on their clothing. I like it when my racists come with an easily recognizable toxic warning label telling me their minds are poisoned by blind hate. It’s a good thing, really. And that’s how freedom of expression is supposed to work. They get to fly their Traitor’s Flag without harassment and Colin Kaepernick gets to sit or kneel during the playing of the Star Fucking Spangled Ain’t Murica the *cue reverb* GREATEST CUNTREE ON EARTH ANYWHERE FOREVER AND EVER A-MEN!”

And now the police union has decided they don’t like Colin Kaepernick’s socks. You heard me. His goddamned socks that depict the police as pigs. They claim he’s calling every police officer in Murica bad and calling for the murder of all cops. Except he never said that. He never even implied it. They claim these off-duty officers “volunteer” at the 49er’s games and that they’ll boycott unless Kaepernick is punished, ordered to wear acceptable socks (presumably white) and stand for the Star Spangled Ain’t We Fucking AWESOME Banner, hand over his heart. Except I have a problem with that whole “volunteer” thing. The off-duty officers get over-time pay for working those games. While they’re considered “private stadium security”, that private security guard is armed and comes with full police powers to arrest and detain and jail – which makes them paid cops. So, they are ‘volunteers’ in that they can choose not to get their overtime pay and work the games. I’m fine with that. I ‘volunteer’ to get up and go to work every day and don’t have to do so at gunpoint. I go because that’s how I pay my bills. I’m a paid employee. And let’s be clear: it wasn’t some private security guard union mouthing off about these ‘volunteers’ – it was the police union. So the people who insist I’m wrong about this can plant a big old smooch on my fat ass. BUT THOSE PAYTREEOTICK POLICE OFFICERS ARE VOLUNTEERS AND THEY’RE BEING DISRESPECTED BECAUSE SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! Yes, and cops who feel disrespected shoot and kill black people in this country with alarming frequency – so maybe they should suck it up and get over their butthurt over a pair of goddamned socks that have killed no one but seems to have hurt the feelings of these heavily armed, ‘roided up Rambos in blue.

Now, before the toothless, inbred anonymous keyboard warriors from the shallow end of the gene pool have decided that I just said all cops are bad decide to send their hate mail and death threats – I welcome your hate. But I have to point out that while you’re calling me a cop-hating bitch who should “get the fuck out of your cunt-tree”, you’ve taken your eye off the SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! Colin Kaepernick is still out there spreading hate and mayhem with his… socks. After writing that, even I laughed at how idiotic you look when you say crap like this.

Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. There are limits when it comes to things like hate speech – though I’ve never seen anyone prosecuted for it. It is a near limitless right that comes with responsibility. Had Kaepernick called for the mass genocide of police by the black community, I would be the first to stand and object. But he never said that. He never even implied it. He used very thoughtful speech to express why he first sat, and then kneeled to show his respect for the military and he did so using verifiable facts. His speech was responsible. His act of defiance was responsible. His silent protest was responsible. Strangers with the luxury of sitting in their Mom’s basement in their underpants under the veil of relative anonymity calling for Kaepernick’s murder is not responsible. Police threatening not to do their paid jobs is not responsible. People ignoring the facts and our version of White and whitewashed history is certainly not responsi….SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! I know, I lost you at ‘responsibility’.

And the very idea that he should be “forced” to stand with his hand over his heart? There is no law that says we must stand for a song – not even the National Racist Anthem of White Awesomeness. Forcing someone to stand to show ‘respect’ isn’t showing respect at all – it’s coercion and it’s fake and it’s worse than sitting down or taking a knee. Look, Murica – you can choose to ignore the why of all this. You can conflate his act of defiance with hatred of cops and Murica all you like but it doesn’t make it so. The Anthem isn’t about respecting the military and frankly, I’ve always thought it was a horrible tune that gets butchered by the singers more than it’s ever been done right. Not everyone can be Whitney Houston. Whitney Houston is no longer Whitney Houston. How about we change it to something like “This Land Is Your Land”? Wait, no – the indigenous people peacefully protesting the pipeline in North Dakota were violently attacked by vigilantes with pepper spray and attack dogs yesterday as police stood by and did absolutely nothing to protect them – as the pipeline overlords bulldozed ancient burial lands of these people. They’ll tell you right now this land isn’t their land. I dunno. Maybe “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J would be more appropriate – though I meet too many On Purpose Racists every day. But forced to stand for the anthem that gets played for no good reason at every opportunity, in a country that clearly isn’t the land of the free for a huge swath of the population isn’t respect. Respect at the end of a threat isn’t respect. As someone smarter than I pointed out – it’s slavery. As for “the men who fought and died for his privileged black ass to disrespect them” are concerned – the vast majority of the veterans I’ve seen are on Kaepernick’s side. They don’t have to love what he did – but they respect his right to do it.

The same people who are OUTRAGED at Colin Kaepernick never seem to be outraged about the killing of unarmed black Americans by police with the sworn duty to serve and protect – not just White America, but ALL America. They never seem to be outraged by homeless and hungry people, including the veterans they’re giving nothing more than lip service to. They’re not outraged about income inequality. They’re not outrage by poverty. I haven’t heard a peep from them about attack dogs of private citizens being set upon a pregnant native Sioux woman as police stood there and let it happen without consequence. But I’m not supposed to mention that American Indians are used to being oppressed – what with the outright theft of their land, the mass genocide and being forced onto reservations and all. The priorities of the outraged are sickly warped but I’m the bad guy because SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS! SQUIRRELS!

 And you wonder why I think this country needs a mass collective dose of Ritalin? 

At first I didn’t understand what Colin Kaepernick was doing, but instead of running my mouth, I actively listened to what he was saying. I felt that he was making a valid point, he was hurting absolutely no one and that his choice to stage this silent protest was actually a truly patriotic act. You remember those “Founding Fathers” Cletus and Marvelene like to invoke at every possible turn? Anarchists. Leaders of a resistance movement. Shit disturbers First Class. Traitors to the Crown they swore allegiance to. America didn’t have the internet then, nor was it over-run by so goddamned many squirrels. Those Founding Fathers were imperfect men trying to create, not a ‘perfect union’ – but a ‘more perfect union’. Words have meaning. The Constitution of this country has meaning. You have to read it all and accept every last comma. It’s not an iTunes agreement where you scroll to the bottom and hit “I AGREE” without actually reading or understanding what you’re agreeing to. That freedom of expression thing – it’s for all of us. We don’t have to like the expression of others but we have to tolerate it. You can dislike the act without calling the expresser a Nigger and calling for his ouster from the land of his birth. Colin Kaepernick is a shit disturber. And the more he disturbs your shit – the more I respect him.

Keep sitting kid. You now have an old white woman sitting with you.

Carol Baker

Carol Baker is a political writer and a frequent contributor to Here Women Talk.

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