Monday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” filmmaker Spike Lee weighed in on the controversy involving San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem at an exhibition NFL game over the weekend.
Lee told host Anderson Cooper that Kaepernick’s stand was in the tradition of unpopular stands Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson had taken in their careers to make a political statement.
Suddenly, progressives and other Obama-supporting and Hillary-supporting people have discovered the Constitution.
“Kaepernick has a right not to salute his country’s flag,” they shriek. Where were those shrieks when it came time to impose Obamacare? Or to give Iran money to build a nuclear bomb? Or when Obama’s and Hillary’s Attorney General threatens to use the Justice Department to silence critics of Islam or climate change theory?
Where are those shrieks when it comes time to lower taxes, rather than punishing success and raising taxes? Where are those shrieks on behalf of private property rights, and the rights of parents to teach their children in schools of their own choosing, rather than a politicized, one-size-fits-all, command-and-control system?
Where are those shrieks in defense of rights when it comes time to sanction the independence and liberty of the individual to live in a free society, make his or her way without hurting anyone else, and keeping the rewards and profits of those efforts? Where are the shrieks and cries in defense of free market capitalism, a system where ability and success are rewarded, regardless of anyone’s race or political connections?
Of course Colin Kaepernick has an individual right not to salute the flag. However, his employer has an equal individual right to fire him. And people have a right to criticize or even boycott his team to show their protest.
No country’s government has a moral or political right to force obedience to its government’s symbols. Nobody standing for a free country would ever wish to impose on anyone such an obligation. Free countries are about freedom, not force. It’s only dictators and authoritarians who demand blind submission, and it’s only mindless anarchists who fail to see this distinction.
The issue is not whether you have a right to make a political statement. Of course you do, so long as you don’t violate anyone else’s right to life, liberty and property in the process. The issue is what the political message actually is. Kaepernick claims he’s living in a racist country, and does not wish to participate in the celebration of that country’s flag. How is America a racist country? Would a racist country elect a black president twice, albeit a half-black one? The claim is absurd on its face.
Kaepernick is not after racism so much as capitalism and freedom. Here he makes millions in a sector of the economy where profit is still permitted and where consumers, profit-makers (including football players) and market forces, not elected officials, dictate who makes how much and for what reasons. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to speculate he feels guilty for his disproportionate wealth, and converts that guilt into self-satisfying rage and anger against “the system,” with opposition to “racist cops” bringing it all down to the fashionably, socially acceptable level in the eyes of his p.c., elite peers in media and entertainment. (Nobody in this controversy accuses Kaepernick of being a genius, after all.)
The joke’s on him. Kaepernick is the product of the very system he smears as racist. He thinks he’s taking a brave, unusual and independent stand by sitting out the national anthem. He’s really nothing more than just another dimwitted celebrity looking to gain attention and social applause, who thinks by uttering the words “racist” he will get automatic applause from the politically correct and intimidate dissenters into saying, “Oh, what a principled profile in courage he is.” Of course, he’s not really all that wrong, is he?
“Racist” has become a magic incantation for collectivists and social democrats who have no hard facts or rational moral reasoning to support any of their views. “Either you agree with me, or you’re a racist.” I find it tiresome. It’s like a prolonged temper tantrum exhibited by adults on a national scale. It’s painfully embarrassing to watch. This is what a reasonable, liberty-loving and life-loving person wishes to sit out; not the national anthem.
The problem with this whole thing? It reinforces the idea that America is in decline because it’s still too American. The flag represents a waning commitment to a sense of life — the right to be left alone, not to be pushed around, particularly by a government — that’s gradually disappearing from people’s minds.
Increasingly, the symbol of a free market, private property-based and individual rights-based system, is all we have left.
When this idiotic football player steps on that, he still makes a lot of people angry. The problem is they don’t quite know what they’re defending, and Kaepernick has no remote idea of what he’s attacking.
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