Thursday, September 22, 2016

Colin Kaepernick was a patriot - Until he refused to vote

UPDATE: I take it back. Refusing to vote is not loving America. It's failing America.

What Kaepernick did and continues to do, kneeling during the National Anthem, does not disrespect America. Not in the least. In fact, it shows the highest faith and love. 

How? Ask Job. 

What? Yes. Let's consider the story of Job. While attending a religious university in Texas, I grappled to understand the Book of Job. Job was a righteous man, blameless and upright. And he suffered at God's behest. God took away his fortune, killed his children, and blighted his skin with sores. His wife told him to curse God and die. 

And, he had every reason to. Even his friends turned on him, attacking with one long-winded speech after another. Time to cash out. 

But he didn't. Instead, he argued with his friends, and worse upon worse, he accused God: “As surely as God lives who has denied me justice, the Almighty has made me taste bitterness in my soul.” Job 27:2.

A man dared to question God. Cue the lighting bolts and damnation! 

But He didn't. Instead, God responded and rebuked: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Job 40:2

In the end, Job is the one that is justified in God's sight, and blessed by God. His friends were condemned.

It defies logic. Job, an insignificant man, heaped blame on God the Almighty. And still, he was righteous. How can that be?

Because Job never stopped believing God. He kept faith despite everything. The worst everything the devil could imagine: Wealth gone. Beloved children dead. Disfiguring, debilitating pain.

He questioned because he KNEW God would answer. When his friend Eliphaz asked him, “Call if you will, but who will answer you?”

Job knew. God would answer. 

Because Job was a righteous man. He accused God, but he knew God could handle the accusation, overcome it, and everything else in this universe. Because Job was a righteous man. 

And Kaepernick is patriot. He’s not like Job’s wife. He doesn’t curse America and go elsewhere. America is the home that he loves. So, he protests in the most inflammatory, heart-wrenching manner he can. Because Kaepernick believes in America. He knows America can answer. America can overcome. 

Because America is sick. From the moment our forefathers allowed the disease of slavery to exist, America has been sick. From that moment to this one now, we have not held up to the truth that all men are created equal. By God.

We allowed humans not to count as humans. And after slavery ended, Black Americans were still not Americans. They did not, and do not, have true equal protection under the law. Black Americans have had to scrape and scramble for voting rights, equal access to education, fair treatment in the courts, and currently, the most visible manifestation of this disease is police brutality. Brutal murders of Black men and boys by representatives of America, the police. 

America is sick. Because Black Americans are Americans, and America is not protecting them.

If you believe in America, you must believe she can be more. I do. The words of the Declaration of Independence still, and always, bring tears to my eyes. 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This is dream that is America. We need to fight for this dream. 

Because Black Americans are Americans. And Asian Americans are Americans. And Latino Americans are Americans. And poor Americans are Americans. And elderly Americans are Americans. And disabled Americans are Americans. And queer Americans are Americans.

Stop. Go back to that list you just skimmed. Read it again. Say it aloud. Add to it. Then, print it out and put it on your mirror and say it to yourself every day until you believe it. 

We are Americans. 

If you love America, America the Beautiful, the home of the Brave, the land of the Free, then you must fight for equal protection under the law for all Americans. 

Like Job, we all need to question. To accuse. Because we believe America can be great. 

And that’s what Kaepernick is doing. America has denied Black Americans justice. He questions. 

Who will answer?

America will. Prejudice and racism are a disease.

Love America enough to challenge her, change her. 

Black American are Americans. For America, we must protect them. 

-a white, suburban housewife and lover of America-