October 19, 2017
As we react to Colin Kaepernick’s act of civil obedience, we should take Robert Wuhl’s advice, and judge slowly.
Kaepernick’s anger is misplaced; the current administration celebrates equality. Many past systems did not, of course, and with Trump’s storm troopers circling the White House fence, the future is far from safe. But the current administration is not the problem.
His action may have been directed at the wrong target, but I think it was taken with the right motivation. Kaepernick’s intentions were not selfish.
The only person who is going to be injured by Kaepernick’s act of civil disobedience is Kaepernick. He is risking his elite job, his elite position in society, and a contract for nearly 20 million dollars. Given how shaky his current position is, he chose the worst possible time to stick his neck out.
Kaepernick had no personal reason to stick his neck out for this cause. He is rich. He lives in an enclave, many miles from the world he is protesting against. He grew up in a white world with white parents, and as an elite athlete he was likely pampered and worshipped by his peers. He is not protesting for himself; the world he is protesting is not his world.
So … why did he do it?
I can’t say – I’m not in his head – but I can say this: If he did it, knowing the consequences, it was noble as hell. If he thought it through, and he did it anyway, it was noble as hell.
I don’t know if he thought it through, but as far as I know Kaepernick is a thoughtful, intelligent person. I don’t doubt that he understands the consequences his act will have on his future.
If you think about it, nothing about the act can be construed as selfish. He took a stand that (1) had nothing to do with him, (2) put his livelihood at risk, and (3) virtually guaranteed to make him a pariah in his own society. He had nothing whatsoever to gain, and everything to lose.
But he did it, anyway.
Contrast his action as a cost/benefit analysis with the actions of your basic politician. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so they wrap themselves in the flag and give lip service to the local religion. Kaepernick had nothing to gain, and everything to lose.
But he did it, anyway.
I won’t celebrate his action because I think it was misdirected, but I respect his intention. I can find no selfish reason why he would do it, and a million selfish reasons why he would not.
But he did it anyway.