In what might be the best example yet of why her political instincts led her astray last year, Hillary Clinton said this week that she supports the NFL players who kneel for the national anthem…and she thinks Democrats should turn it into a party issue!
Mistake number one: Making these comments in London, where any American politician should be on their best and most patriotic behavior.
Mistake number two: Supporting these players and glossing over the nature of their protest.
Mistake number three: Believing that this is somehow a winning issue for Democrats.
“You have to resist the very clear dog whistles to that base,” Clinton said. “That’s what the black athletes kneeling was about. That was not against our anthem or our flag. That was actually — kneeling is a reverent position. It was to demonstrate in a peaceful way against racism and injustice in our criminal system. I think it would be a grave error for Democrats to recede from those fights and so therefore we have to stand up, fight back, resist.”
All right, so mistakes one and three are self-evident, but let’s talk about mistake number two, because this has become the thing to say when you want to defend these players. Oh, it’s nothing against the flag or the anthem or the military, that’s just how they’re choosing to protest police violence against unarmed black men. Putting aside the fact that this thing about police shooting unarmed black men is a myth, this is faulty reasoning. Why? Because the players themselves, including Colin Kaepernick, have flat-out said that it’s a protest of the anthem and the flag.
From the horse’s mouth, circa August, 2016 – “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
That’s Kaepernick himself, explaining that the FLAG – nay, the UNITED STATES of AMERICA – oppresses black people, which is why he refuses to stand for the anthem. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Any player who kneels for the anthem and any liberal who supports their protest is co-signing that message – that America is a racist country that murders people of color as a matter of course. If Democrats really want to make that one of their signature issues going into the midterms, we greatly encourage them to do so.
Let us know how it works out for ya.