Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, whom I truthfully have always thought of as kind of weird, hit the nail on the head regarding the national anthem protests in this reported recent interview. Mr. Ventura stated that one does not necessarily have to agree with the subject of the protest (which is a subject for a another discussion because who, except overt and covert racists, would not agree with ending racial injustice??), but Americans should support Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest. Ventura also queried, if people have a problem with this, what is next? It is a fair question.
But objections to national anthem protests are not really about the protests. If Kaepernick had been kneeling in to raise awareness of the poor medical care afforded veterans; or the Iran nuclear deal; or even domestic violence—it is doubtful that he would have the same number of detractors, nor would their words and have been as vitriolic. The real basis of their ire is that Kaepernick is a Black man standing up for Black people, and doing so by drawing attention to the very symbols that are supposed to signify the liberties and promises upon which this country was founded, but which white Americans have actively and passively precluded Blacks Americans from receiving. Mr. Ventura may not be right on a number of issues, but he has highlighted with pinpoint accuracy the dangers of reckless efforts to stifle authorized speech.