How can you call someone who ‘takes a knee’ a hero? Easy. When it represents an entire race’s frustration with their country. Trump’s New World Order has given a voice to fascists, racists and narrow-minded individuals, saying it’s ok to acknowledge that American ‘freedom‘ only applies to those who look like them. It doesn’t apply to those with different skin, or different religious (or lack there of) beliefs, or different genders or (dare I say it) different biological sexual orientations. A lot of opportunistic political folks have done a great job of spinning Colin Kaepernick’s silent protests as disrespect to our Troops and The American Flag.
But the first moment I saw him go to one knee while the National Anthem was playing, I immediately knew what it was. I immediately felt the frustration of seeing African American’s being gunned down by the Law Enforcement that’s supposed to protect them. The frustration of seeing the lack of shock and outrage from the majority of this country AND the blatant ignorance of not knowing this wasn’t a new thing. This was the status quo for growing up Black in America, and the fact that it was hard to look the other way now that cameras were there to chronicle sanctioned legalized murder from the establishment. So when Kaepernick’s kneeling was broadcasted on network television. it felt like someone finally felt they needed to be the sacrificial lamb for our frustration. And make no mistake, the Powers That Be were going to make an example of him. The <fingerqotes>President of The United States</fingerquotes>, the Right Wing Media, the NFL.. they all had to make an example of Kaepernick to quiet the savages before things go out of hand. So they tried to destroy his character. They took away his livelihood. Indeed, he was going to be a martyr for the cause.
And then Nike made Kaepernick the face of the 30th Anniversary ‘Just Do It’ Campaign, and it broke the internet. Thanks to the current political climate in this country, there is a polarizing divide in ideologies. The sad part is when people are frustrated, their easy to manipulate. You can see this in serious topics like Gun Control and Racial/Gender/Sexual equality (and yes I put these together because I believe and ‘people’ should have the same rights and freedoms across the board). Gone are the days of trying to understand opposing viewpoints. Now we’re urged on both Liberals and Conservatives to ‘choose a side’ and it’s become less of sticking by your beliefs and more like sticking with your kind out of a need for protection. I’m not just taking stabs at The Right. I do believe Liberals have swung the pendulum, too far in toward Political Correctness. And even though I consider myself a Liberal at heart, I’m not afraid the push back on issues I don’t agree with, or call out my own party for not pushing hard enough toward the issues I think aren’t being represented.
And Nike didn’t choose Kaepernick out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. They did their due diligence in studying market, sales and social analytics to make sure it was more of a benefit to their brand. And it looks like they made the right choice. Other than the idiots who are protesting Nike by burning their apparel (which they paid Nike for already, so whatever…) and the occasional commentary from Fox News pundits, attaching their brand to Kaepernick’s movement has reinforced support for their target audience. Make no mistake, in the next couple decades when we’re (hopefully) past the Trump Experiment and publishing companies and the movie industry starts to churn out autobiographies and biopics, Nike knows it’s going to be on the right side of history.
Colin Kaepernick is not a Martin Luther King, Malcolm X or Rosa Parks. I don’t think he’ll be remembered in that regard. But he will be seen as one of the sparks that re-ignited the struggle. He will be thought of in the same vein as Tommie Smith and John Carlos when they raised their black-gloved fists in a Black Power salute, when they won the gold and bronze metals at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Or Jesse Owens crushing Hitler’s Master Athletes by winning 4 Gold Metals in 1936. I agreed it’s not a big or dramatic as the two former examples. But in this situation.. in this climate of hate and separation, one Black man dropping to one knee can be just as powerful.
Congratulations, Colin Kaepernick. I hope your sacrifices won’t be in vein.
Another interesting week in comics. Bendis delivers some non-Superman comics with the new Cover and the relaunched United States of Murder. Both of those were dope, but my real favorite this week is Ta-Nehisi Coates still killing it on Captain America. I know a lot of folks didn’t care for Secret Empire, and I wasn’t too happy with the execution, but this comic (as well as the new Punisher) are the only book dealing with the aftermath of the monumental take over of the country by Hydra. Seeing how Coates is navigating Cap through the new status quo of the country is surprising and exciting. Just showing that the aftermath of Hydra’s rule wasn’t horrible for everyone. Seeing how Hydra gained loyalty from middle America by doing things our current President is doing kinda show a mirroring of a Trump Presidency and a Hydra occupation without making it feel like commentary. Brilliant.
Also this week… The X comics still don’t seem to impress. I’m buying them just out of keeping my current collection intact and complete. Black Science was incredible as usual. Possibly my favorite indie comic right now. Jason Aaron’s run on The Avengers keeps getting better and better. This week we get a tail from the 1,000,ooo B.C. Avengers with the birth of the original Ghost Rider and the arrival of Odin and Lady Phoenix. The Walking Dead continues their social commentary in the Commonwealth. And Al Ewing’s The Immortal Hulk is fast becoming a must-read each month.
Possibly one of the best television court dramas ever. I always forget how good Glenn Close was on this show, as well as The Shield. I think this was the show that got me into court dramas, even though it was more of a murder series and court shenanigans. There’s 5 seasons to get through, so I’m going to enjoy this ride.
As September kicks off, I’ve been feeling very trapped and claustrophobic. This past week was pretty good for me. The depression has been subsiding thanks to a lot of distractions with content. Work’s been a little flat and my creative flow has been stagnating.