No One Knows What They’re Kneeling For

Am I the only one who is noticing that all the knee-takers and arm-lockers these days have gotten to a point where they don’t even know what they’re protesting anymore?

Consider that just a couple days ago, CNN’s Don Lemon lectured Americans:

“So we’re going to start by setting the record straight here. Taking a knee at an NFL game was never about the flag…”

That’s peculiar because those were not the sentiments of the instigator of this fad, noted police-hating radical Colin Kaepernick, who declared from the start:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Maybe I’m being too kind to Lemon, but I doubt that he’s intentionally lying. I tend to believe he is projecting onto the knee-takers whatever cause he sees as justifiable. But Kaepernick’s statement was no ambiguous or confusing. He hates police officers and sees the flag as an embodiment of their oppression, therefore he won’t stand for the anthem. That’s why he wears socks depicting cops as “pigs.” It’s why he contributes heavily to an organization that honors cop-killers.

Despicable? Of course. But it’s also his right. There’s no law (nor should there be) that says you have to be patriotic or grateful for what you have. Even if you are as unjustly privileged and advantaged as Kaepernick, there’s nothing outside whatever inner integrity you possess that forbids you from engaging in publicity stunts trying to generate hatred towards a society that privileged you.

But somewhere along the line, Kaepernick’s sitting-turned-kneeling has morphed into a confusing menagerie of pet causes, crusades, and axe-grinding to the point that it seems anyone with a grievance now #TakesaKnee and pretends that everyone is supposed to know, understand, respect, and appreciate their complaints.

Consequently the entire movement has become so fragmented it is meaningless and pointless besides illustrating the embarrassing lengths to which we have become a country of self-serving whiners.

There’s Michael Bennett, professional defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, who first sought to make the kneeling about Charlottesville and “segregation.” Shortly thereafter he altered his approach just slightly, pushing to transform the movement into an anti-racial profiling effort. Bennett tearfully recounted how he was targeted by the Las Vegas police department, pinned to the ground, abused, and threatened simply for, “being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He was hailed as a champion, a modern Malcolm X, and a leader of a new era of civil rights. That’s why we take a knee, Bennett supporters thundered. Evidence now proves that Bennett lied about the entire incident. He ran from police in an active shooter investigation, and was detained by a black police officer. The black men who didn’t run, but who obeyed police, were not detained or treated similarly.

Then there’s Indianapolis Colts’ defensive back Rashaan Melvin who thinks the knee-taking is actually part of the anti-Trump resistance movement:

“It’s much bigger than a flag — we all know that,” Melvin said. “It’s what’s right and what’s wrong. We all felt what’s happening and what was said (by Trump) was wrong, and we all wanted to take a stand.

Still others, like Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback Aaron Rodgers are now trying to rebrand the cause into a movement of unity and togetherness. Unity of what he isn’t quite sure, but unity nonetheless. That’s why he begged fans and players across the NFL to move from knee-taking to arm-linking (which is perhaps a less obvious form of defiance, but still a disrespectful posture during the country’s anthem).

His suggestion was heeded by players, hated by fans, and excoriated by the race-baiting ESPN host Bomani Jones, who mocked that having 80,000 fans in Green Bay linking arms would indicate “white people” unity, which isn’t the message that the movement is supposed to send. Apparently to Bomani, taking a knee is about black power.

As it stands the protestors are entirely incapable of actually pinpointing what it is that they are protesting. Yet when criticized for disrespecting the flag, they proceed to indignantly defend the righteousness of their seemingly absent cause.

No wonder the boos are getting louder.

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Peter Heck

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