August 2016. At the time, Colin Kaepernick sat quietly during the pre-game National Anthem, until a fellow player and Army combat veteran talked to him about kneeling. Nate Boyer still stood and saluted for the Anthem, but he still was able to impart some wisdom about patriotism and service to Kaepernick that changed the game, so to speak.
That move, from sitting to kneeling, sold me on supporting the cause. For so many reasons. The government on many levels is corrupt and ineffective. Authoritarian police action has gotten out of control – far beyond police brutality against minorities. Asset forfeiture and warrantless searches shouldn’t even be a thing. And the same politicians condemning the protest are the same politicians who’ve cut funding and services needed by active duty troops and honorably-discharged vets. Taking a knee for injustice should be exercised by all Americans, to show our government that we expect better. Civil disobedience has its place and time. It’s called here and now.
The critics could care less. While Nate took an interest to learn more about the protest, it seems like everyone else just couldn’t get past the percieved disrespect. They are more offended by a quiet form of civil disobedience than they are of the police brutality and other forms of violent civil rights violations that sparked the protest in the first place.
But for me, the switch to the knee made a difference, as someone who believes in civil rights and liberties, and as a veteran myself who has a daughter currently serving. I remember back in August being on the fence about supporting such a protest. But when Kap was shown instead taking a knee for the first time, my respect for him was earned. It’s been over a year since then. We have a new President, a far more charged climate, and Colin’s no longer in the game for now. However, the protest and the debate have taken on lives of their own. But seeing these cartoons from my timeline back then, sure does add some perspective to what we’re dealing with today. It was humorous then. It’s soul-searching now.