By: Molly Meisels  | 

Land of the Trump, and Home of the Kaepernick

On the outside, Colin Kaepernick and Donald Trump seem to have nothing in common. Kaepernick is an African-American quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and Donald Trump is a white, rich man worth $4.9 billion dollars. Kaepernick believes that ‘black lives matter’ and Trump can hardly get one black voter. But, in reality, these two gentlemen are more alike than you think.

Colin Kaepernick enraged Americans when he refused to stand for the national anthem during the 49ers preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. After his civil protest Kaepernick explained, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag 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.”

This voicing of government criticism isn’t newfangled. America is a nation that is built on demonstration and rebellion. Americans thrive off their ability to protest their own government. If this is the case, why do 55% of Americans oppose Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem? Why are 55% of Americans acting as if Kaepernick’s silent protest is spitting on our flag and everything this nation stands for? And why are many of them refusing to treat Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments and actions the same way?

“Trump and Kaepernick aren’t really that different... Both of them are displaying harsh disapprovals of our democracy. Both want to 'Make America Great Again'”

Donald Trump’s entire presidential campaign is built on the foundations of ‘Make America Great Again’. This slogan has been adopted by millions of authoritarian, nativist, and jobless voters across America. They see Trump as their savior; their modern day Moses, who will lead them out of the “destitute” America of today, into the “improved” America of tomorrow. Donald Trump has said on multiple occasions that “America doesn’t win anymore”, degrading our means of production and our citizens in the process. And most Americans can’t get enough of it. They adore Trump’s hateful, critical rhetoric of the United States government.

Trump supporters thrive off their leader’s criticism of our democracy, so why do many of them, including Donald Trump himself, despise Colin Kaepernick? When asked what he thinks about the Kaepernick controversy Trump said, “I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.” This is simply confusing. For the last 18 months, Trump has been shooting his mouth off, insulting this nation at every opportunity, calling us losers and worse. Plenty of us have begged Trump to find himself a new country, wishing he’d pick himself up and run for president of Antarctica. Therefore, shouldn’t Trump back Kaepernick? Shouldn’t Trump be pleading for the man to campaign on his behalf all across America?

Trump and Kaepernick aren’t really that different. They are two men with seemingly similar values, protesting a government they seem to despise. Both of them are displaying harsh disapprovals of our democracy. They both want to “Make America Great Again”.

Why is this the case? Is it Trump’s billionaire status, inflammatory comments, and prejudice opinions juxtaposed to Kaepernick’s reserved, egalitarian sentiments? Or is it something more?