Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t be kneeling alone

 

I was ten minutes into browsing the internet when I happened upon the news that Nike is having former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick be their spokesman for their 30th Anniversary of “Just Do it.”

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past however many years – Colin Kaepernick was made famous by kneeling in protest during the National Anthem over the murder of black people in the United States by white cops.

I have two points:

John Rich, of Big and Rich, tweeted a picture of a pair of cut up socks that his sound man, a former Marine,  held in protest of Nike’s choice. Now, that man has the right to cut his socks if he wants to. Although someone should tell him that Nike already has his money (Dixie Chicks anyone?). I am here to say that it shouldn’t only be black football players kneeling at these games or anytime the National Anthem plays.

Why?

Well, we should be kneeling over the fact that young black men are being targeted by white cops. And if you set the race thing aside for just a second, we should at least consider that our fellow citizens are being murdered by cops without due process of law. Moreover, if you can’t let go of the race thing, then maybe you can at least get yourself over it enough to understand that if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

We should also be kneeling over veteran suicide rates. Veterans represent less than 1 percent of the population of the United States overall. And 99 percent of you all talk so much about how much you love and respect them. Yet we have this terrible phenomenon occurring. From what I understand it’s still at a rate of 22 per day.  We should be kneeling over that. We should be bowing our head, at that. To rid ourselves of the apathy that allows that to happen.

Secondly, black people are heroes. Black people fought and died for this union whether unwillingly (I.E. the moment the first black foot touched American soil to The Vietnam War) or willingly (recent history). There are black veterans. Lots of them. There are black service members. Lots of them.

Yet, not all heroes wear uniforms and not all battles are fought in some foreign country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Mary McLoud Bethune, George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Maya Angelou, Shirley Chilsom, the list goes on forever…

those involved in the Civil Rights movement, those people who fought domestic battles when The United States government refused to let them have equal rights before the law, when the FBI sent a letter to Dr. King telling him to kill himself,  those people were heroes. That was a battlefield. Those that died during the lynching years between 1865 and 1955 – the last being Emmett Till – he’s a hero.

Colin Kaepernick – is a hero.

The battlefield is the hearts and minds of America for the soul OF America.

As a veteran, I wholeheartedly support Colin and all the other football players drawing attention to the fast and loose rules of our society that says “other” is expendable. I support them kneeling much to the ire of those who dislike it – because there will NEVER be a right time and place for their protest. There was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, The March on Washington, there wasn’t a ‘right time’ for Brown Vs. Board and the destruction of Jim Crow Law, there was never a ‘right time’ for The Civil Rights Act(s) except for the time and place in which they happened.

“Throw that football black man. Entertain me.”

Are you kidding me?

As a vet. I stood for his right to kneel. As a vet, I stood for the lives of Americans after we were attacked on 9/11. As a human being, I stand for Colin Kaepernick but what I won’t stand for is being used by paper patriots, the 99 percent, to use me or my brothers and sisters in the front line of your social ire when you can’t stand for us when we’re suicidal, or homeless, or hungry, or dealing with drug addiction, white, black or otherwise.

When someone like Colin or like LeBron James does something wonderful, something audacious, something good – the backfire is always “What about the vets?”

Well, what have you done for the vets, 99 percent? What have you done to eradicate poverty, and lift up your fellow citizens of black and brown heritage?

Vote for 45?

We all should be kneeling over that and everything else wrong in this country.

 

P.S. I challenge Nike to scour the internet for the duration of this campaign to pick out words used to protest it. Words such as Veteran, Military, and Flag. For each instance, this is used, and its already started, I challenge Nike to donate 5 cents to the Veterans organization of their choice or any organization that helps African Americans access to health care, education, or clean water for those folks in Flint. You know, issues brought up anytime someone does something nice but is never taken care of by the people who complain.

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus on the 50 Yard Line

edwin-andrade-162696

Edwin Andrade

I knelt to pray in a great coliseum
a humble gesture
to the cross on Golgotha’s Hill
I turn my heart inside out
desperate
hope, and sleep, and calmness evaded
and tremble in our desperation

Great voices spoke
from the foot of that place
and I heard them all one by one
“They slipped the surely bonds of earth…”
“Ask not what your country can do for you..”
“I have a dream, today..”
“..a day that shall live in Infamy..”
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom..”
” …betwixt the negros of the north and the women’s of the south…
“A national sin shall cause a national calamity..”
“I once was blind but now I see…”
“Homo sum, humani nahil …”

I at once so weak and powerless
made all the more humble
at the commanding voices from times long since passed
in an attempt to lower myself further, in my madness
I ate the grass at my feet
and the dirt, and the rocks were made wet
with my tears

A long silence followed
and I dared not raise my head
for the voices that had spoken was to great
and mine eyes too unworthy
until I saw a pair of sandal clad
nail scarred feet standing just inside my outstretched
hands
that braced myself against the burdens of the world

“Oh, my child…”
A warm voice softly spoke
as a gentle hand lifted my chin
the sight I can never fully describe
“I’ve not left you, or them, alone.
For they are the most beloved you see
and the most favored, the most blessed, by me”

“How?” was the only word
that managed to escape my lips
Softly and tenderly he wiped my face
with nail scarred hands and knelt down
to look me in the eye
“My love is not tangible items, my son
a blessing isn’t the same as a gift
and while they thanked me for games and wins and gold
I turned a blind eye

but when they knelt, ah yes, when they knelt
though proud gladiators one and all
I stayed the anger of twenty thousand angry fists
and kept them glued to where they stood
for even though no one could see me
I once again used all that was foolish to shame the wise
and no one would mess with the Seahawks tonight
not with Jesus on the fifty yard line ”