The Rittenhouse verdict is one piece of this larger campaign to destroy democracy and energize white supremacy.
In an interview with WJLA’s Scott Thuman, President Donald Trump said he “absolutely would” support former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick “should get another shot in the NFL.” Kaepernick generated controversy in 2016 for choosing to kneel during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality, a choice that essentially froze him out of the NFL.
“If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability,” Trump said. “He started off great and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.”
“The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling — I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair,” the president added.
You can watch video footage of Trump’s remarks below.
While Donald Trump has been involved in a dispute with Twitter, speciously and ignorantly crying that the social media company violated his First Amendment rights, uprisings and mass actions protesting the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—and the pervasive devaluing of Black lives generally–have mounted.
Recently Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters for The Washington Post Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig published their assessment of Donald Trump’s presidency to date, seeking to step out of the news cycle and “assess the reverberations” of his administration throughout the nation. Titled A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, the book layers scene after scene of Trump’s ineptitude, prioritization of self-interest over care for the nation’s well-being, and general lack of any moral compass or intellectual rigor.
As Dwight Garner, in his review for The New York Times characterized the tale Rucker and Leonnig weave, “It reads like a horror story, an almost comic immorality tale. It’s as if the president, as patient zero, had bitten an aide and slowly, bite by bite, an entire nation had lost its wits and its compass.”
The story is a compelling one, and one seemingly validated for Americans by what we have witnessed in the impeachment hearings played out in the House of Representatives and now in the ongoing trial in U.S. Senate.
The wealthy businessman Trump, corrupt to the core, is dismantling democracy and putting the nation’s well-being and security at risk for his own private gain and ego interests.
And yet we shouldn’t let the high drama of the very necessary impeachment process distract us from the more mundane threats to American democracy that seem to have become largely accepted in American life but which are no less deleterious to the American people and our supposed political ideals than Trump’s presidency is.
As an example of what I’m talking about, take billionaire Jeff Bezos and his Amazon empire, which includes, by the way, The Washington Post.
The admonitory slogan of The Washington Post is, of course, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The sentiment is a warm and fuzzy one for sure, even articulating a noble mission and role for the free press in sustaining our democracy.
And Jeff Bezos’ dollars nobly enable that mission.
But what he “gives” with one hand (it is a business after all), he taketh with the other, underscoring the severely limited application of democratic principles throughout American society.
And can we call a form of government that limits democratic rights in practice a democracy at all?
Bezos’ Amazon, for example, recently threatened to fire its employees who spoke out publicly against the company’s environmental policies.
As Annie Palmer reported for CNBC earlier this month, employees reported that Amazon’s policy on workers’ external communications was updated last September and now “requires employees to seek prior approval to speak about Amazon in any public forum while identified as an employee.”
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice tweeted in response to the suppression of employee free speech:
How will the world remember Jeff Bezos in the era of climate emergency? Will he use his immense economic power to help, or not?Please tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: Our world is on fire & desperately needs climate leadership. Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm.
It needs to be stressed, of course, that Amazon’s suppression of its workers’ speech is not illegal and certainly not unique.
In other words, Americans do not enjoy democratic rights in the workplace. U.S. law allows for the denial of First Amendment rights when you are at work, as I’ve written about previously for PoliticusUsa.
So, as conceived currently in our nation’s legal codes, the most sacred tenets of democracy are only applicable in American life on a part-time basis. Ask Colin Kaepernick.
When you are at work for 40 to 60 hours per week, please know that democracy is on hold. Please leave your rights in your locker before you punch your time card.
Sometimes it’s even worse.
Remember Juli Briskman, a marketing executive at Akima, a government contracting firm, who was fired for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike? She wasn’t even at work. Because she had been photographed and the photograph had been published with great popularity, she identified herself to her company and was promptly called into a room and fired for violating code-of-conduct policies. Clearly, she did not have the right to express herself as she chooses, even outside of the workplace, without consequences for her employment.
Democracy dies in the workplace, and certainly at Amazon, where, similar to many companies, workers’ efforts to unionize are vigorously resisted. Like Target and Walmart, among others, Amazon has produced its own anti-union video that is part of employee training.
And the union structure, which collectively organizes workers and negotiates their rights and remuneration, is the main and really only means for workers to have a voice in their workplace, where they spend a good deal of their lives contributing to the world in which we all live.
Bezos and Trump have a long adversarial history, as they spar over the size of their . . . bank accounts.
foiled a Pentagon contract
Colorado sports apparel and memorabilia store owner Stephen Martin last September boycotted Nike because of an ad they did featuring former NFL star Colin Kaepernick. And now Martin announced that he has gone bankrupt and his store is closing.
— CNN (@CNN) February 14, 2019
When they did the controversial advertising campaign featuring Kaepernick Nike, took a risk — but that risk has really paid off. Nike shares rose
36 percent in 2018
Nike is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign and was looking for a way to make a splash. So they chose former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of their campaign, in a move that is sure to upset President Donald Trump and his racist followers.
It was two years ago that Kaepernick started the “take a knee” movement among players in the National Football League as a way to protest police brutality against African Americans. After that many more NFL players began to take a knee during the national anthem also, and a movement was born.
Since then President Donald Trump has used Kaepernick’s actions — and those of other football players exercising their constitutional rights — as a way to divide the country along racial lines for his own political advantage. The president’s mindless followers also jumped on the bandwagon and started attacking Kaepernick and his fellow players.
Clearly Trump thinks he gets political points for making an issue about NFL players who kneel during the national anthem because so many racist Republicans use it as an opportunity to criticize black athletes instead of trying to understand the reasons for their actions.
But Kaepernick has remained firm even as he has been kicked out of the NFL and has been unable to get another job in football. Yesterday he tweeted an inspirational message:
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Reportedly Kaepernick and Nike reached agreement on a lucrative new contract even though the controversial athlete has been with Nike since 2011. In a good sign, there was a great deal of interest from other shoe companies in also signing Kaepernick to an endorsement deal.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the contract is a “wide endorsement” where Kaepernick will have his own branded line of Nike products, resulting in the opportunity for much more potential income from the deal. According to Robinson, Kaepernick signed a “star” contract that is only given to top-tier product endorsers, and therefore is worth millions of dollars per year of income.
“Details on Kaepernick and #Nike:
– It’s wide endorsement. He’s going to have his own branded line. Shoes, shirts, jerseys, etc. There will be Kaepernick apparel.
– Contract is a “star” deal on par with a top end #NFL player. Millions per year. Star deals also include royalties.”
Details on Kaepernick and #Nike:
– It’s wide endorsement. He’s going to have his own branded line. Shoes, shirts, jerseys, etc. There will be Kaepernick apparel.
– Contract is a “star” deal on par with a top end #NFL player. Millions per year. Star deals also include royalties.
The first amendment of our constitution is clear:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
When NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel rather than stand during the playing of the national anthem before a football game, he was severely criticized by some and lauded by others.
As expected, the racists and Republicans (including their leader Donald Trump) said that kneeling was unpatriotic and terrible.
President Barack Obama said Kaepernick was exercising his “constitutional right: by not standing during the national anthem and he was fully supportive.
Last year, Sports Illustrated honored Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow, highlighted his “passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” in presenting the award.
And last Saturday Kaepernick was presented the highest award given by international human rights group Amnesty International. At a ceremony in the Netherlands the former football player received AI’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, which is an amazing achievement for an athlete.
“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games to protest racial injustice and police violence against African-Americans. He quickly became a media figure and his actions were widely discussed during the 2016 presidential campaign.
His actions inspired many other football players to join him in kneeling before games, but they also triggered a backlash. Donald Trump had this to say: “I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again.”
In accepting the Ambassador of Conscience Award, Kaepernick said, “This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. To quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, ‘will join in with anyone — I don’t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,’ I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence.”
Since Donald Trump has gone on to become the worst president in U.S. history, guilty of many high crimes, including treason, Colin Kaepernick’s example of protesting against racial injustice despite intense criticism from Republicans shines even brighter. In a world darkened by racism and oppression, Kaepernick’s inspirational actions have served as a beacon of hope to millions, and he is well deserving of the award.
Only Republican racists are comfortable saying out loud that an African American protesting racial injustice "is a terrible thing."