I was in college during the closing years of the Vietnam War, and like many in my generation I believed the Democrats and the radical left and accepted their position that the United States was the aggressor and oppressor in the war.
My father, a twenty year veteran of the Navy, a man who had participated in three wars, was working at the time for the Navy department, and at Sunday dinners we would argue about Vietnam and capitalism.
Eventually, tired of my foolishness, he said words something to the effect of this: “Son, you just don’t know who butters your toast.”
It took me years to understand what he meant by this.
It is because of the values our nation represents that there is freedom throughout the world. Despite many social and economic disadvantages, I benefitted from that freedom.
Two years later, only about two months after the fall of Saigon (April 1, 1975), I became the first member of my Irish/English/German and Ukrainian/Polish family in the United States to graduate from college.
When I read of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up during the national anthem, and watched him on television, I thought of my father’s words to me.
Kaepernick, no matter what he thinks of himself or how he wishes to present himself, is privileged. And his privilege is the result of the values for which that very flag he refuses to stand represents.
Yes, Kaepernick has a right to express his opinion, but he is an NFL quarterback who has been given every advantage to succeed and excel as an athlete, and to be financially rewarded, because of the values of our nation.
Kaepernick represents the greatest problem we have in professional sports today, and in our nation. Kaepernick lacks humility and gratitude. He attacks our flag and nation, even though he has benefitted immensely from the values our nation represents. Despite his foolish behavior, Kaepernick is being transformed into a hero by the liberal media.
Deep into the controversy he has caused, Kaepernick, whose latest contract provides him with $61 million in income, now has decided to give a million dollars to organizations working against racial injustice.
Kaepernick would have done better to stand and salute the flag with humility and with gratitude for his life, and at the same time provide a portion of his income – perhaps $6.1 million would be a more just figure – to better the lives of African Americans less privileged than he is so that they too might benefit as he has.
Instead, as an elite in our nation, a beneficiary of its values, he chose a foolish protest, one that emerges from a malicious and cynical liberal ideology.
To witness racial injustice, don’t single out the police. Look instead to drugs, the destruction of the African American family, the high rate of illegitimate births, abortion, the high rate of crimes committed by African American males, shootings of young African American males by other African American males, the idealization of the criminal and outlaw, and the us against them mentality (particularly the demonization of the rich, a group, incidentally, to which Kaepernick belongs).
Despite the lies of Democrats, all of these problems are the result of Democratic Party ideology. I doubt Kaepernick’s money will work against any of these problems.
And what about the police? They too are victims of Democratic policies that have placed them again and again in the line of a fire fueled by hatred that has more to do with politics than anything else.
Democratic Party leaders know who butters their toast. They create a lie, with the assistance of wealthy rebel millionaires like Kaepernick, that maintains a permanent class of angry and hostile poor of all ethnicities who never hear the truth about who truly is to blame for injustice and their situation in life.
I know, because I once was a member of that class of angry and hostile poor – a Democrat – who was held back by that anger and hostility.
These days, as I read or listen to the news, I think of William Blake’s great small poem “London” and its second stanza:
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.
In the cries of Kaepernick and those like him, I hear words that suggest those same “mind-forg’d manacles” – manacles that the left, the Democrats, the progressives or however you wish to call them continue to foist on all of us and use to oppress.
Or, as my father said to me, “Son, you just don’t know who butters your toast.”