Does Colin Kaepernick Deserve To Be On His Knees?

kaeperneeI 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.

Election Day Idea

NixonYowsaIt’s Election Day. And as I get ready to vote, I feel compelled to “throw the bums out.” This has been one of the worst Congresses in the history of Congress, and that’s saying a lot. It’s an embarrassment.

No matter what your political point of view, I think we can all agree on one thing: our current crop of politicians are entirely useless to anyone but themselves, or the special interest groups that keep them in power. This is true of all politicians, from local school board leaders to the clowns in our nation’s capital. They range from pandering fools to extremist idiots.

But there’s a problem with the “throw the bums out” approach, which has often attracted people to extremist movements like the Tea Party. You never know what kind of bums are waiting to get in. They could just as easily be worse than what we already have. And at least the incumbents have faced a few years of media scrutiny, whereas the new wingnuts have only endured that kind of scrutiny during the campaign. They just have to behave long enough to get elected, which most megalomaniacs can handle. Again, the rise and fall of the Tea Party is a testament to the pitfalls of this de-bumification philosophy.

MFpunitiveSo here’s my idea. Instead of simply voting for a specific candidate, those who vote to re-elect the incumbent should also have the option of voting to have one of the candidate’s fingers removed. This counts as a vote for the incumbent, like any other vote, except that – if re-elected, and if a majority of those who voted for for the decapitation of a digit – then they would have to have a finger surgically removed. Think of it as taking a finger from a politician who gave us the finger.

Now before you rush to judgment here, this is about more than simply chopping off political fingers. It’s an incentive, and I believe a powerful one. First of all, it will eliminate those candidates who are simply looking to push their agenda or line their pockets, which I estimate is around 90 percent of our current crop of politicians. And it will also ensure that those who do get elected work hard enough for their constituents to ensure that they won’t feel betrayed when the next election comes around.

Holding a political office should be about serving your constituents. Right now, it’s all about serving your contributors, and your ideology, and ensuring above all else that you amass and retain as much powers as possible. I think we can change this…one finger at a time.

Election 2013: Robocalls & Democrabombs

Mayoral candidate Bill del Blasio has a New York kind of family.

New York City mayoral candidate Bill del Blasio has a New York kind of family.

Rather than simply reminding you all to vote today, I offer one observation and one suggestion that might enrich your election experience. That said, don’t neglect to vote!

The Robocall
My number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. Yet they still call. And lately it’s been “robocalls” for various political candidates, as if a blatant willingness to overlook these regulations for their own personal gain would somehow endear me to one of these particular candidate.

But what I’d really like to know is how effective these calls are. For starters, what percent of those calls get listened to – both in part and in entirety? The robocall service providers certainly track that data, though I’m sure they are reluctant to share it – in part or in entirety – with their clients because that would likely be bad for business. After all, who listens to a recorded phone call that paints some candidate like a saint?

It’s like tuning in to a channel that only has commercials. Who would watch? Especially when these intrusive calls tend to come in the middle of something more important, like dinner.

Besides, you either already like the bum, or you already loathe him. Either way, I can’t imagine a robocall is going to be the first and most influential vehicle for introducing you to political candidates.

With that in mind, even if people did listen to these calls, what evidence is there that they actually impact a voter’s decision? For me, I tried to adopt a policy of not voting for anyone who robocalled me. I quickly realized that there was going to be no one left to vote for, so I tried to limit the elimination criteria to anyone who repeatedly robocalled. But even then my choices were meager.

So I decided to stick to the old standby of basing my vote on the candidates’ views, comparing them to see which professional liar promised to support the most views that mattered to me. Sadly, though, none of them have taken a firm stand against robocalling.

The Democrabomb
Do you want to have some fun this election day? Try this on for size. When some zealot approaches you on the street with political advice, as they tend to do on the way to your polling place (sort of an in-person robocall), stop and ask them what candidates they recommend voting for. Be sure to play it up, saying you have been so swamped that you haven’t had time to do your due diligence.

These vermin will be more than happy to tell you who and what to vote for. They are out there all day, trying to tell other people what to do.

Why vermin, you ask? Because these people think you’re an idiot…that we’re all idiots. They assume that none of us has the good sense to review the candidates and issues at hand and make an intelligent decision for ourselves. Instead, they feel that they are the only ones qualified to make such decisions, and that it is their god-given duty to tell the rest of us saps what to do.

So be sure to keep that in mind as you quickly write down the list of candidates they name, because I then want you to ask them if these indeed are the people for whom they voted. They’ll undoubtedly say yes, already smugly reveling in their little fantasy about how they convinced one voter to vote their way, thereby single-handedly winning the election for the candidate they adore.

Be sure to thank them for their advice before looking them squarely in the eyes and saying that you are now going to walk into that polling station and vote the exact opposite of what they did, just to cancel out their votes. Yeah, that’s what I call a “democrabomb.”

It doesn’t matter who you actually vote for, as long as they think you’ve canceled out their votes. You can even snap a photo of them before dropping that democrabomb so you can include it with your social media posts about your good deed.

Or should I say deeds? After all, you can do this to several people on your way to vote.

I assure you, it’s great fun. Nothing is better than telling a political activist, someone who has likely volunteered months of their time, that their vote has been canceled, that it didn’t count, doesn’t matter, all for naught!

And, in the end, you get to vote for whoever you were going to vote for, and the people who think they know far better than you will start to realize that maybe they’re not as smart as they assumed they were. And that maybe they should just keep their mouth shut and, in the future, let people decide for themselves.