Would conservatives support a public monument memorializing Colin Kaepernick?
No. They would not.
Conservatives have harshly criticized Colin Kaepernick. They denounced his highly publicized decision to kneel during the national anthem as “anti-American” and “outrageous” and called him a “poorly informed social-media warrior.” On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump denounced Kaepernick’s kneeling as “a terrible thing” and said that he should “find a new country.”
According to an ESPN poll, Kaepernick is the most hated player in the NFL. So great is the hatred of Kaepernick that he remains unsigned, primarily because no NFL team wants to associate itself with him. In perhaps the most common trope of Kaepernick criticism, conservatives attack him for disrespecting American soldiers who risk their lives for the American flag and what it represents.
Conservatives have been particularly outraged by liberals’ lionization of Kaepernick, whose Time magazine cover likely did not endear him to Trump. They see his refusal to stand for the American national anthem as an unpardonable sin.
Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem and is deemed unpatriotic. However, he never fought in an armed rebellion against the United States. He never led troops in killing American soldiers waving the American flag. He never broke an oath of allegiance to the United States. He never disgraced the Founding Fathers by serving a self-proclaimed government which, according to its vice president, declared the founders’ beliefs on racial equality to be “fundamentally wrong,” and was “founded upon exactly the opposite idea.”
Robert E. Lee did these things, and his statue and name are memorialized and glorified on public property throughout the South. If Kaepernick is unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem, Robert E. Lee and other Confederate generals certainly are as well.
Presumably conservatives who denounce Kaepernick would never accept a statue honoring him, would never feel comfortable sending their kids to Kaepernick High School, would never live on Kaepernick Road.
How, then, can conservatives support the hundreds of monuments to Confederate traitors that dot the country? Why are men who epitomize anti-Americanism honored as heroes? If Kaepernick is condemned, such men must be too, and more forcefully. Conservatives, patriotic conservatives who claim to love this country, should not praise, encourage, or honor monuments to traitors.
Adam Chan is the Editor in Chief of The Gate. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gate. The image featured in this article is licensed under Creative Commons. The original image can be found here.
Adam Chan is a third-year Fundamentals and Economics double major. This summer, he interned at CNN, focusing on the Russia investigation. Previously he was an intern at the R Street Institute, a think-tank in DC and an extern at the Department of the Interior. At the Gate, Adam was a Senior Writer in his first year and the Opinion Editor last year. On campus, Adam is also President of the UChicago Political Union, is Vice President of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, and has been a Team Leader at the institute of Politics. He loves studying political philosophy and history, enjoys playing card and board games with friends, traveling, and eating exotic food.