Taking on the bully empire.

Author:Gray, Kevin Alexander
Position:COMMENT - Protesting racism and Colin Kaepernick - Essay
 
FREE EXCERPT

Thanks to NFL player Colin Kaepernick, a lot of people now know the third verse to the national anthem, which concerns the hunting down of slaves who were promised their freedom when they joined the British side in the War of 1812:

No refuge could save, the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave. And the star spangled banner, in triumph doth wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We face the same root problem Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was organizing against until his death. Years ago, he laid bare the fundamental problem of this country that we love, or try to love. "The problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together," King said. "These are the triple evils that are interrelated."

When we see, feel, hear, and bear all the meanness and violence in this country, especially in this election year, King's analysis screams loudly true.

The politicians, corporations, and even descendants of Confederates call the conscious person extremist. They try to embarrass or threaten the protester with their false patriotism, nationalism, militarism, and a police state.

The bullies in the sports arenas demand that we all should stand up, sing the anthem, salute the flag, and simply "thank them [the troops] for their service," because that's what the rituals represent--not the Constitution and the rights we're all supposed to have in common.

The Constitution is the only thing that ties us together. It's war and the constant support of war that divides us. And though I come from a military family and have served myself, I say no, we should not worship the military and militarism. We should honor service and sacrifice, but for the right reasons. Where's the honor in fighting solely for empire falsely described as defending the nation? How did the war against Iraq and the devastation and destabilization of Libya, two efforts that Hillary Clinton supported, fit under national defense?

The bullies in blue demand that we should all stand up, sing, salute, and simply "thank them for their service" as police officers, even as they disproportionately kill unarmed black people. Sandra Bland died in jail in Waller County, Texas, because she didn't use the appropriate turn signal. Terence Crutcher got the death penalty in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because his car broke down.

Blacks now face the ridiculously unfair demand that they interact with cops with their hands in...

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