This is the transcript of episode eleven of The LAVA Spurt podcast. You can listen to the audio of this Podcast episode here:
Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem. Is he right to do so? This is the eleventh episode of The LAVA Spurt, The I Sit With Kaepernick Edition.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself directly into controversy and the line of fire by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. He has done this for at least two preseason games so far.
“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 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.”
Kaepernick’s reasons for not standing
In an interview with NBC, Kaepernick said, “This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all — and it’s not happening for all right now. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and effect change. So I’m in a position where I can do that, and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”
This guy has got some major cajones. He has willingly put a target on his back to bring attention to a major issue in this country, an issue I talk about on this show a lot, and I have nothing but respect for his stance on this issue. I do wish he had called out all police violence and not just targeting his comments at police violence on black people because that is the larger picture. This is not a race issue, it is a power issue. It’s an issue of authority asserting their power.
His stance on this issue caused such an uproar that even Donald Trump told him that he should leave the country, saying, ““Well I have followed [the Kaepernick story], and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing. And you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it won’t happen.” Anyone that can get Donald Trump to say “leave the country,” is someone worth looking at.
Racism in the national anthem
But, you might say, what’s the harm in standing like everyone else during this song? Primarily because the national anthem is a celebration not only of the country but also of slavery and the murder of slaves. The end of the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” says:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Francis Scott Key, the writer of the national anthem, owned several slaves himself and was vehemently opposed to abolition. This phrase from the poem he wrote is just a disgusting display of how anti-freedom the founding of this nation really was. “Freedom for me but not for thee” was the type of freedom they wanted, and that is still the case for the majority of Americans today who want freedom for their activities and ideas but want to stifle the actions and ideas that they disagree with.
Let’s look at that phrase, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave” He is basically saying that there is no way to hide from the terror and death that will befall a runaway slave, and he’s right. He then goes into, “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This seems very much like Key sees the fact that runaway slaves face terror and death meant triumph for the land of the free. Maybe I and others are reading too much into it, but I don’t think so.
Kaepernick likes communism?
But Kaepernick is far from an ally to libertarians on other issues. He has been seen at press conferences wearing a shirt saying that Fidel Castro is a great mind like Malcolm X, so it seems he is a proponent of communism. That is, obviously, not cool. Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend? I’m not so sure in this situation, but I still respect his decision on not standing for the national anthem. I haven’t stood for the national anthem in years, and I will continue that trend. Therefore, I sit with Kaepernick on this issue, and this issue alone.
Until next time… keep striking the root!
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