I empathize with patriots, and consider myself one as well, but Kaepernick is right on this–also update on the polls
Unquestioning pride in everything that our country does may be good for some, but definitely not for all Americans. Many thought that principle was established during the Vietnam and Iraq wars, where lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident drew protest by those who didn’t blindly believe all that their government was telling them. Many didn’t want to appear to be supporting the government in this endeavor which they felt were based on lies. Lies that if Vietnam Fell to Ho Chi Minh’s Communists from the north, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines would then all fall like dominos in a row. Lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Lies that got us into wars that became disasters. Lies that they challenged and protested.
Colin Kaepernick started the current brouhaha at the San Francisco 49ers first regular season game by sitting and not holding his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem. He did this in protest of white-America’s ignoring the police-killings of unarmed blacks. He had a message, but that message has been overlooked by some, never considered by others, and denied, or even consciously ignored, by some. Many black Americans feel that they are hassled and even killed by police for situations where white Americans would not. Clearly Colin Kaepernick was within his constitutional rights. Kaepernick soon had other players waiting in lines to high-five him, some joining him in the protest. Not just among 49ers, but throughout the NFL, many mainstream athletes across a range of sports joined in. He received support from NBA Player of The Year, Steph Curry. Some high-profile whites as well. For example, Steve Kerr, the NBA’s Coach of the Year, noted that, Colin, by his second game, “decided to kneel instead of sit, (in order to acknowledge) his respect for the military” and by doing so, he “really clarified the message that what this is really about is unarmed black people being killed indiscriminately around the country.” In all of the outrage over the symbolic disrespect shown by Kaepernick, by refusing to place his hand over his heart, I wonder how many of those expressing indignation even noticed his kneeling? Or how many seriously considered his message? It’s a message that has either not been considered important by mainstream white America, or deliberately ignored. Yet it has been front-and-center for the vast majority of Africa Americans, and other people of color. This divergence sums up a lot of what is wrong here at home.
And then it happened again, in Tulsa and Charlotte, where little more than 24 hours earlier, members of the Charlotte based Carolina Panthers had joined in the Kaepernick protest. The police unions in Santa Clara and Charlotte threatened to walk out on providing stadium security for the San Francisco 49ers and Charlotte based Carolina Panthers. Apparently they either felt that complaints about police-shootings in some other parts of the country were attacks upon themselves, or that police were always correct in their use of firearms–especially against unarmed black youth. Most police are clean. But can any fair-minded person, police included, deny the shameful history of law enforcement in the south, during and before the Civil Rights protests in the 1950s and 1960s? Didn’t they see the video footage of cops joining in the looting in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina? Do they really believe that there are no cops carrying “throw down” guns?
Must it be “us vs. them” as some argue. And this thinking just leads to more failing to listen to one another’s grievances. It exacerbates the chasm between Black and White America. And it will produce more protests, and more deaths. Sad to say some are trying to exploit the divisions in our society for their own political gain. Donald Trump repeatedly reminds his audiences, in not very coded wording, that he is on the side of the police in these cop killings of unarmed black youth. He’s the one who sides with police, he constantly reminds audiences. How can any responsible person reinforce the raging division over unarmed black youth? Do they want riots and killings to spread?
Tuesday night police shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Officers were at the complex to serve a warrant for a completely different man. The Associated Press reports, that when they saw Scott in a car, they ordered him out off the car. What happened after that depends on whose account of events you listen to. The police say Scott had a gun. Gwendolyn Glenn of member station WFAE, reported that “The daughter of Keith Lamont Scott says that her father did not have a gun, that he was not armed, and that he was sitting in the car reading a book waiting on his son to get off a bus from school.” Inexcusably, in these tense times, the officer was not wearing a body cam. There was other cam footage, but the police thus far have refused to release any. And the protests began.*
Perhaps if the Charlotte police had paid more attention to the black athletes’ message, instead of posturing as tough guys with belt pulled up and tight, the shooting and killing of Keith Lamont Scott would never have happened. Other law enforcement agencies would do well to consider Coach Kerr’s prescient analysis to hear their message. “That’s what matters. And the other stuff, they can talk about all day, nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong. But that matters. And everybody should be trying to do something, whatever’s in their power, to help in that regard,” Kerr said.
*As this is being written there are reports that Scott’s family, but not the public, will be shown the footage.
AND NOW THIS WEEK’S POLLS
For those weekly readers of this blog for poll analysis of the Presidential race, the bump in Trump’s numbers due to ‘healthgate,” have just about disappeared. The L.A. Times/USC rolling three-day poll rose to a 7 percent lead by Trump, just four days ago. It is now back to 2, just one point above where it was at the time of her health event. Rasmussen has Trump ahead by 5 points. Both of these polls have long been outliers. Polls using samples of “likely voters”, as contrasted with registered voter samples, currently have Clinton ahead, nationally, by up to 7 points. It is good to remember that the election is about winning the electoral vote not the popular vote, and that electors are selected by states, not grouped together as in a national poll.