“In a false quarrel there is no true valour.”
William Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing
The above line is spoken by Benedick. Either Bill Shakespeare wasn’t the greatest speller in the world, or he named the protagonist of his play as an appeal to the more base natures of Elizabethan theater-goers (maybe he was emulating Greek comedic playwright Aristophanes, who had his actors wear giant phalluses as part of their costumes). Benedick begins the play a troll, and by the end he’s a troll in love. He’s not sincere, not very genuine, but he exhibits flashes of virtuous character, though his actions are very often empty gestures, those of a man protesting something he doesn’t understand, in his case, love.
I relay this possible etymology of the name Benedick because there is a parallel between him and Colin Kaepernick. I’m not going to bother using the Google machine to learn the origins of Kaepernick’s name (which I already hate typing), but just assert that “Colin Kaepernick” means “He Who Makes Empty Gesture.”
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback did not stand during the playing of the National Anthem before a preseason game. Kaepernick said he didn’t stand so that it would raise awareness of the problems facing blacks in this country, essentially a lot of what Black Lives Matter protests.
However, if Kaepernick was genuine about wanting to make a difference, he wouldn’t sit during the National Anthem. He’d donate time and money to the cause(s) he believes in.
He’d speak to black parents about the importance of a stable home for black kids. He’d tell black men to not dip when they learn they have a child on the way, and tell black women to not carry a child to term if her baby daddy isn’t around and she doesn’t have the wherewithal to pay to raise the bastard. He’d tell the police to not be so trigger happy so they don’t gun down a 12 year old playing with a toy gun or manifest their power trip into brutalizing a perp when deescalating the situation is possible. He’d tell city council Democrats to not pass so many capricious laws that poor and ignorant blacks get fined for (and each citation creates a possibility of an escalating situation which can end in violence) and can not afford, which only becomes a snowballing situation, and he’d also tell Democrats to not regulate the economy and maintain high tax burdens so that entrepreneurs might actually risk their capital and start a business and employ working class blacks. He’d tell Republicans to stop ignoring police brutality and excuse any actions police officers take to subdue a suspect, even if it’s for selling loosies, as if it’s all justified, that we have to support the police (and the troops) no matter what, that support for anyone in uniform is so sacrosanct that to criticize their egregious actions is paramount to advocating for rampant violent crime, a belief that only reinforces Black Lives Matter’s “It’s Us Against Them” mentality.
If Kaepernick or anyone else want to waste their time making symbolic gestures of contempt, that of course is their right, as it is my right to hold in contempt their empty act.
So, Kaepernick can go fuck himself.
And here are a few other groups who can collectively go fuck themselves: those who get so bent out of shape by any perceived disrespect to the flag or National Anthem, and those who think not standing up during the National Anthem is some amazing display of patriotism and say things like “I REFUSE TO PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO TYRANNY!”
I get it, libertarians, you are trying to point out that pledging allegiance to the flag and to the country for which it stands is mindless statist zombieism, but in reality it’s just another hollow promise, as though kids in school saying the pledge are condoning economic fascism and families at ball games are standing because they think it’s a good thing Dresden was firebombed or that it took this country damn near a century to abolish slavery.
To not stand or pledge is akin to believing a few rotten apples spoils the whole barrel. The idealism of the Founding Fathers is not destroyed by the fact that some of them had slaves. One of the greatest fallacies of modern society is the concept “You take the good with the bad.” It’s not always the case, and as big a fabricated sentiment as “The customer is always right.” You can support the troops but not support a war (though I could rip this one apart too); you can love your country but not your government. You can acknowledge the good and the bad simultaneously. They don’t cancel each other out.
People standing and pledging are not really “supporting” the troops. If they were supporting the troops or a war, they’d enlist, buy war bonds and/or sacrifice their belongings if they were made of a material that could be converted into a tank, ship or munitions.
Standing and pledging is just something people do because it’s a tradition. It’s a tautology, nothing more. A person standing or not standing or holding his hand over his heart or not holding his hand over his heart is no more or less meaningful. So, libertarians, stop acting as if you are making some profound point of protest by not standing or pledging. It costs you nothing to stand and pledge, just like it costs you nothing to not stand and pledge. People who do not stand or pledge are not making any meaningful sacrifice to put an end to government induced injustice and violence. Do you really think the government gives two shits if you refuse to take your cap off for two minutes before the umpire yells “Play ball!”?
“If I’ve lost Colin Kaepernick and Gabby Douglas, I’ve lost the country,” Said No President Ever.