Democracy be damned—let’s hate!
Conservatives and progressives claim to be polar opposites, but when it comes to hating on people whose political views and actions they don’t like, conservatives and progressives work off of the same script. Neither group walks the high ground. Consider, for example, the current “stand or not stand for the national anthem” controversy and the presidential race.
Conservatives hate on Kaepernick
Conservatives are heaping a full ration of hate on San Francisco Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he dares to exercise his constitutional right of publicly expressing his belief about a social issue by kneeling during the national anthem.
The issue that Kaepenick is focusing on is the discriminatory treatment of people of color in the country, and particularly the inordinate number of black people who are killed by police. Just this year, 194 black people have died directly from encounters with law enforcement. Of these, 173 were shot dead by police. A good number of the people killed had mental health issues and/or were unarmed.
Kaepernick’s critics say that his action disrespects veterans who have fought to protect Kaepernick’s rights—a questionable premise in that what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. is not threatening Americans’ rights or freedoms to even the slightest degree. But taking the assertion at face value, what is being said is “Veterans fought to preserve your right of free speech, but don’t you dare exercise that right—if you do, we’re gonna come after you!”
That Kaepernick is disrespecting a longstanding tradition is another criticism. Fact is, it wasn’t until 1931 that the song (written in 1814 with the title “The Defense of Fort McHenry”) was designated the national anthem by Congress. And up until 2009, a mere seven (7) years ago, no NFL player stood up for the national anthem—the players stayed in their locker rooms until after the anthem was played. All the “patriotic” hoopla at NFL games, such as honoring this or that group of veterans, is not a heartfelt expression of love of country. The U.S. Department of Defense pays the NFL millions of dollars to put on these “patriotic” displays, a practice that even conservatives like Sen. John McCain, Vietnam War veteran and former P.O.W, object to.
Kaepernick is not unique
Other athletes before Kaepernick have done and said the same or similar things as him. In his 1972 autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” Jackie Robinson reminisced about the 1947 history-making World Series he played in (the first ever in which a racially integrated team played). Commenting on the racism he faced and that still existed 25 years after that historic World
Series, Robinson wrote that he “…could not stand and sing the anthem or salute the flag.”
In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to serve in the Vietnam War, saying he would not go across the sea to drop bombs and bullets on brown people who had done nothing to him while in the U.S. black people were treated like animals and denied simple human rights.
Denver Nuggets player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly known as Chris Jackson) was suspended for one game by the NBA for protesting the national anthem in 1996.
Even a liberal (aka “progressive”) Supreme Court Justice got into the Kaepernick hate campaign, illustrating the truth of the next section. In a recent interview, Ruth Bader Ginsburg described what Kaepernick is doing as “dumb and disrespectful” and described him and his fellow protesters as “stupid” and “arrogant.”
The progressive left is no slouch when it comes to slinging hate
During the Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton surrogates demonized anyone who was not a Clinton supporter. For example, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright excoriated young women who supported Bernie Sanders, telling them they were destined to go to “a special place in hell” for not supporting Clinton.
The Democratic National Committee, in violation of tradition and its own rules, favored Hillary Clinton and set out to undermine Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. One of the lowest, most despicable points of the DNC pro-Clinton campaign was when in violation of every tenet of decency, the DNC plotted to appeal to Jew haters to come out to vote against Sanders (who is Jewish).
“Send them back” to the death squads … Iraq is “a business opportunity”
After Clinton won the DNC-skewed primary, the progressive hate campaign accelerated. On social media, in emails, letters to the editor, and the “Comment” sections of articles in newspapers, magazines, etc., those who plan to vote for Jill Stein (Green Party) are called all manner of names because they dare to exercise their constitutional right to vote for whomever they want. Here are a couple of the favorite lines of the progressive haters:
“Those of you who will register a ‘protest vote’ by voting Green display your privilege of having the luxury of doing so.”
“(Those who intend to vote for Stein are) the self-righteous who won’t vote for Hillary because they are ‘better than’ the rest of us”.
Those are unfair and unfounded condemnations of people who are neither “self-righteous” nor afflicted with a superiority complex and who by no stretch of the imagination can be considered “privileged” in the sense that the term is bandied about these days. I submit that most people voting for Jill Stein are not doing so as a protest vote. Rather, their vote is a conscientious and informed vote. A couple of the substantive reasons underlying their vote these folks cite are:
Then-Secretary of State Clinton condoned the 2009 illegal military coup that ousted the democratically elected President of Honduras. This allowed the U.S. to continue sending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras. This U.S. aid was used to establish death squads that murdered defenseless campesinos, indigenous peoples, LGBT rights supporters, child advocates, and political opponents. Children fleeing this violence are the ones Clinton—and Trump—said should be “sent back” to risk being raped, sodomized, and murdered by the death squads.
In 2002, along with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, Clinton promoted the Iraq War and purveyed the lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was providing refuge to Al Qaeda. As a result of those lies, close to 5,000 Americans have been killed and over 32,000 have been wounded in the Iraq War. An estimated 18 veterans, many of them who served in Iraq, commit suicide in America each day.
In a 2011 secret email Clinton was forced to release by court order, she—referencing JPMorgan bank and Exxon Mobil—said that “It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity.”
Most people would agree, I believe, that it takes a special kind of inhumanity and cold-heartedness to insist that children be turned over to death squads and to consider the deaths, wounding and maiming, and suicides of human beings as “a business opportunity.”
To demonize people who believe that the above issues (and others just as substantive) matter and are important and who vote their conscience amounts to attempted voter suppression by slander.
Indeed, neither conservatives nor progressives walk the high ground when it comes to political hate. I’ve seen pictures of people at political rallies holding signs saying “Love conquers hate.” That noble sentiment may be true in some contexts but obviously not in the political arena. c/s
Copyright 2016 by Salomon R. Baldenegro. To contact Sal write: firstname.lastname@example.org