Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Know Your Rights

Know your rights all three of them

Number 1
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Know your rights

And Number 2
You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don't mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers

Number 3
You have the right to free speech
As long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.

~~ "Know Your Rights" by The Clash
Nike waded hip-deep back into the "stand or kneel" so-called controversy, and boy, did the shit ever hit the fan.
They chose to use Colin Kaepernick as part of the 30th anniversary of their Just Do It campaign and the Internet exploded. Although it was a minor explosion after the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the new Bob Woodward book about 45's questionable fitness for office.
The fact that these three things all jostled for attention today tells you everything you need to know about the current state of things, doesn't it? Personally, I'm feeling a little exhausted and beaten down, but I'm still feeling feisty enough to defend Kaepernick.
Some were questioning what exactly Kaepernick has sacrificed and some were comparing him to members of the military who lost their lives fighting for our country.
Make no mistake, Kaepernick isn't hurting for money. This multimillion-dollar deal with Nike ensured that. But because of his protests, he was blackballed from the NFL. His decision to protest pretty much cost him his football career. (He might be grateful for that in the long run, considering the toll that football takes on players, but that's a topic for another day.) His lawsuit against the NFL for collusion to keep him out of football has been given the go-ahead, and that should be interesting.
And of course, the sacrifice of his football career cannot in any way compare to the sacrifice that military members and their families make every day, especially when military members are killed. That's kind of a silly comparison.
But here's the thing: military members swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes the right to free speech and the right to peaceably assemble. They are sworn to defend exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing.
He is protesting peacefully. He is trying to bring attention to an ongoing and horrible problem in our country right now, the targeting of young black males by law enforcement. (Don't pile on me, please. You know I'm not saying that every cop is a criminal or every sinner a saint. Bonus points to those who get the reference.) This is his right as an American and that right to assemble and protest and speak out must be protected.
Is there an argument to be made that owners had the right to cut him from the team? Yeah, maybe. Employees sign a contract with a company and must abide by the terms, just like social media sites have terms of use and if you violate those, you can be banned from the sites (and yes, I'm looking at you, Alex Jones, you nutter!). If I understand correctly, Kaepernick's lawsuit is more about the entire NFL colluding against him to keep him from playing again. I look forward to seeing how this plays out.
One of the many things to cherish about our country is that we have the right to make our voices heard. We can be loud or we can silently take a knee. Neo-Nazis and the KKK are a bunch of A-holes, but they still have the right to assemble. We also have the right to assemble in opposition to them, and there are a helluva lot more of us than there are of them.
Colin Kaepernick is not a bad person for his protests. He is someone who cares about innocent kids getting shot. Parents shouldn't have to explain to their kids how to avoid getting shot by the police while walking down the street. No one in their right mind can deny that this is a serious problem in our country, and I am glad that Kaepernick is bringing the issue out into the open and I'm glad that Nike chose him for this ad. They aren't stupid. They knew it would generate a ton of buzz, and here I am writing a blog entry about it!
Kaepernick has the right to do this, a right that is guaranteed by our Constitution. Not everyone in the world has this right.
As The Only Band That Matters said, "Know your rights!"