When the Counterculture Turns into the Tradition

In November 2015, three years after taking the San Francisco 49ers to the Tremendous Bowl, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert, a profession journeyman most just lately unsuccessful with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The next preseason, Kaepernick started donning garb designed to mock law enforcement officials, together with socks with cops dressed as pigs. 

He additionally remained seated for the nationwide anthem throughout a preseason sport, claiming, “I’m not going to face up to take pride in a flag for a rustic that oppresses black individuals and folks of colour.”

On the time, a number of NFL gamers spoke out in opposition to Kaepernick’s symbolic transfer: New York Giants extensive receiver Victor Cruz mentioned, “You have to respect the flag, and you have to get up together with your teammates. It is larger than simply you, for my part. You go up there; you are with a workforce. And also you go and pledge your allegiance to the flag and sing the nationwide anthem together with your workforce, and then you definitely go about your corporation.” 

On the time, this was a majority proposition: Seventy-two % of Individuals thought the gesture unpatriotic, in line with a Reuters/Ipsos ballot.

Kaepernick by no means regained a beginning position within the NFL … however his profession took off once more. He signed a profitable endorsement take care of Nike to money in on his supposed bravery; he reduce a content material take care of Disney. When he was provided a non-public tryout with NFL groups, he promptly violated all protocols and blew up the method. In June 2020, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urged NFL groups to signal Kaepernick anyway. 

On July 4, Kaepernick tweeted: “Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for hundreds of years, & are anticipated to affix your commemoration of ‘independence,’ when you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy & stay up for liberation for all.”

Right now, Kaepernick’s symbolism has change into the brand new regular, morphed right into a rote ritual of wokeness due to the ugly sight of then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who would later die. Democratic elected officers knelt within the halls of Congress. Main League Baseball gamers knelt earlier than the nationwide anthem to protest supposed systemic American racism. NBA gamers knelt as effectively, carrying Black Lives Matter T-shirts.

And gamers who refused to conform have been publicly cudgeled. When San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod refused to kneel, stating that he wouldn’t kneel for something however God, he was castigated as benighted at finest, racist at worst. When black Orlando Magic basketball participant Jonathan Isaacs stood for the nationwide anthem, once more citing the unifying anti-racism of Christianity, he was ripped as “harmful.” Solely San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has spent years using purple progressive language about President Donald Trump, was exonerated for standing for the anthem — and that was as a result of he wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

So, what modified? Definitely not the info. Regardless of the presence of particular person racism in Individuals of all walks of life, America’s police aren’t systemically racist. Till the pandemic wrecked the economic system throughout the board, black Individuals have been experiencing historic lows in unemployment and historic highs in median revenue. 

What modified is that Individuals surrendered to the narrative promulgated for therefore lengthy by those that search to undermine American comity: that American historical past just isn’t the story of shifting towards the success of the guarantees of the Declaration of Independence, however a narrative of the continual, chameleonic perversion of bigotry. It the narrative that America’s founding concepts have been lies, then and at all times, and that solely racial identification offers credence for speaking about racial inequalities. The burden of proof has shifted to America’s defenders.

And people defenders can by no means show their case: first, as a result of no nation is ideal, and second, as a result of systemic racism is a non-disprovable principle. 4 quick years in the past, we largely assumed one of the best of our fellow Individuals — that they weren’t endemically racist, on the very least — and one of the best of our nation’s beliefs. Now not. The counterculture has change into the tradition. And that’s each a tragedy and a travesty. There may be no future for a rustic wherein standing for the nationwide anthem is taken into account gauche, whereas kneeling is taken into account heroic.

Ben Shapiro, 36, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Legislation Faculty, host of “The Ben Shapiro Present” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He’s the creator of the No. 1 New York Occasions bestseller “The Proper Facet of Historical past.” He lives together with his spouse and three kids in Los Angeles. To search out out extra about Ben Shapiro and browse options by different Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, go to the Creators Syndicate web site at www.creators.com.

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