On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus when the driver tried to force her to give up her seat for a white person.
Do you think she protested in such a way because public buses were the problem? Do you think she had a vendetta against public transportation?
No? I didn't think so.
So why does anyone think that NFL players hate the flag, the military, or our country because they kneel during the national anthem?
Ever since Colin Kaepernick first sat down on a bench during this country's precious National Anthem last preseason, he has been riddled with accusations that he hates our country and our military and that he is, above all else, "disrespectful" and "ungrateful."
Rather than focus on the injustices Kaepernick tried to bring to light, people of many political bents decided to instead denigrate him and his means of protesting because, as I have written on this platform before, we do not like to examine our country's unjust transgressions. We prefer to hide from our shame behind false patriotism and a supposed "love of our troops."
If people were truly upset by the supposed "disrespect toward the flag," where were they when Houston Astros players celebrated a playoff victory by pouring alcohol all over someone wearing an American flag speedo bottom?
Where are they when people wear the flag as clothing? Where are they when the NFL unfolds a massive American flag horizontally during the anthem? Where are they when companies trot out the American flag in order to sell their products and profit off of our blind patriotism?
All of these things are, unlike kneeling during the National Anthem, listed as being disrespectful to the flag in the official US Flag Code.
So it seems that there is only a false concern about respect for our flag.
This sense that Kaepernick is being "disrespectful" is just a mere dog-whistle implying that black people in America need to stay in line and not question societal order.
Those opposed to Kaepernick are not opposed to him because of the manner in which he is protesting; they are opposed to him because they are so consumed with their blind nationalism they are not willing or able to see faults in our nation's treatment of its citizens. As Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out in The Atlantic, Civil Rights protests have never been popular (and they never will be).
Far from truly caring about military personnel and veterans in this country, those opposed to Kaepernick and his messaging are instead using them as political props, pawns to be used to propagate their rose-colored-glasses view of this country.
Why else would conservatives deride Colin Kaepernick while voting for legislation that would hurt veterans in their healthcare and mental health treatment?
The saddest part of all of this shameful, embarrassing politicization of what is nothing more than a peaceful protest of a serious problem is that it's working. No one nowadays is talking about the underlying issues which Kaepernick and others like him are protesting.
Instead, they're talking about the national anthem and disrespect and our President's inane and irresponsible tweets.
Much has been made about how much President Trump has tweeted and spoken about the NFL protests vs. how much he has tweeted and spoken about the disastrous humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, just last week an internal "investigation" came to the conclusion that officers were justified in fatally shooting –– on video –– an unarmed black man in the back as he was running away because of the danger he posed to them.
He was running away; his back was turned. The only "threat" he posed was in the pigment of his skin. But people aren't talking about him. They're talking about Trump.
This is why Colin Kaepernick protested. This is why something needs to change. Instead of worrying about how an athlete peacefully poses during the playing of a song to which most Americans don't even know the words, maybe people should be wondering how black people keep getting killed in cold blood on video with nothing being done.