During the 2016 NFL preseason, a movement began that has sparked such immense attention that our children might read about it in their American history textbooks.
Initially, Colin Kaepernick, former 49ers quarterback, sat on the bench during the national anthem. However, he later changed his form of protesting to kneeling during the anthem. When asked about his motive, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
With the political division in America today, Democrats and Republicans take opposing sides on all issues. Many Democrats support the notion of taking a knee during the national anthem, while most Republicans, especially the current administration, feel that it’s disrespectful to this country.
One of the more iconic shows of disapproval by the current administration came last October, when Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, briefly attended the Indianapolis Colts game, but abruptly left after witnessing NFL players take a knee during the anthem.
Then, during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, Pence did not stand for the entrance of the Korean team, which caused criticism from the left.
One notable critic was Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who tweeted, “Why does Pence hate the opening ceremonies? Oh wait… he’s a using ceremony at a sporting event to protest something else. Where have I seen that before?”
Murphy, and many others from the left, have implied that Pence has a double standard about the national anthem and other patriotic ceremonies at sporting events.
In reality, the left has a double standard, not Mike Pence.
Mike Pence demands that Americans should stand for the national anthem to honor our veterans, first responders and all the beliefs America embodies. The left, on the other hand, can’t make up their mind whether they are protesting the flag to fight against injustice or if they are supporting regimes that promote injustice.
At a press conference in 2016, Kaepernick wore a T-shirt bearing an image of Fidel Castro, former dictator of Cuba. When asked about his support of Castro, Kaepernick said, “One thing that Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system.
Well, Kaepernick, if you believe so strongly in his penal system, then riddle me this. According to Human Rights Watch, Cuba has seriously violated its citizens’ human rights as recently as 2003. In that year, 75 critics of the government were arrested, tried in closed hearings, imprisoned, subjected to beatings and denied basic medical care for serious illnesses.
Based on his statement and T-shirt, Kaepernick, someone who claims to fight injustices in the U.S., supports a regime that wrongfully sentences “criminals” then tortures them. In the United States, incriminating someone for protesting the government, and then torturing that individual, is unconstitutional. With that said, if Kaepernick protested the Castro regime in a peaceful manner, like he does in the U.S., he’d go to jail.
To those on the left who believe Pence should’ve stood for the Korean ceremony: again, you’re espousing a double standard.
Pence believes Americans should stand for the anthem to support the ideals America embodies. Why should Pence or any other American support an oppressive regime that starves its people and tortured and killed American student Otto Warmbier?
Tyler Jordon is a senior political science major from Charleston, West Virginia.