I was very supportive of the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick “taking a knee” during the national anthem as a form of protest against racism in America. As a public figure, his subtle protest helped draw additional attention to this critical issue. But after learning that the guy didn’t even bother to vote in this election, I can’t help but wonder if he deserves to be on his knees.
Kaepernick explained his decision not to vote by claiming that it didn’t matter who we elect to govern our nation. So, it seems, he chose to look the other way. Which is odd because, in explaining his justification for choosing not to stand in respect of our national anthem, he said that doing so “would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
I’m not calling Kaepernick a hypocrite, as many have. This isn’t technically hypocrisy. It’s just stupidity. If you sincerely care about ending racism in America, why not do whatever you can – within the law, of course – to combat it? It’s easy to take a knee. But why draw attention to a problem when you are not willing to stand up and try to find a solution? Don’t just say there’s something wrong if you’re not willing to do something about it. Don’t look the other way. That’s just stupid…lazy…and selfish.
And despite my headline, I’m not suggesting Kaepernick deserves to be the subject of oppression and brutality simply because of the amount of melanin his DNA produces. No one should ever have to be on their knees, for anyone.
But people who refuse to participate in the democratic process certainly deserve whatever government they couldn’t be bothered to elect. And after this election, that should be abundantly clear to everyone who thinks voting doesn’t matter.
We’ve all experienced this to some degree. There always seems to be a coworker, friend, or neighbor who spends four years complaining about the politicians and the way they are running the country, and then you find out they didn’t even bother to vote.
It’s easy to bitch. But it’s not that hard to cast an educated vote, either.
To put it in terms that a quarterback should understand, imagine if your offensive line didn’t bother to do any blocking because the other team is stronger and faster. They may be stronger and faster, but damn it, man, at least try. Put some skin in the game, so to speak. You’re never going to gain an inch – let alone earn a victory – simply by taking a knee.
I used to think that if you really care about something – especially something as important as ending racism in America, and the world – the least you can do is cast a vote and try put people in power who share that vision. But I was wrong. The least you can do is take a knee.
Thanks for not standing up when it really mattered, you putz.