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Hasan Piker, Contributor

Political Commentator / The Young Turks
Conservatives don’t own patriotism.
10/18/2017 05:11 pm ET Updated 12 hours ago

If You Think Protesting Racism Is Unpatriotic, But Disrespecting Military Widows Isn’t, You’re Probably NOT A Patriot

I’m getting real sick and tired of certain conservatives thinking they own patriotism and love for America when they have no idea what the hell they’re talking about.

It started with Colin Kaepernick, it has spread, it has infected the league – I would like to ask these players, what exactly are you kneeling for and why have you chosen the flag and the anthem to do it?
Leave it up to Tomi and the good folks over at Fox News to blatantly miss the point of a protest, then admit to not understanding the point and still go along with their propaganda.
Here’s the most concise summarization of why these players #takeaknee. Kaepernick said this around a year ago and was blackballed by the NFL for it:
“Specifically, it’s police brutality. Cops are getting paid leave, for killing people and not being held accountable ― that’s not right.”
It is incredibly revealing to me that Fox News and specifically Tomi Lahren have covered Colin Kaepernick and the NFL protests hundreds of times this past year to now come out and basically admit that they’ve just been criticizing these players without a single clue what they’re going on about. But I guess that’s the point, it’s not about hearing the other side out, but to get them to stop ― by whatever means necessary.
I also like how this is a hypothetical question, as if Tomi would like to know, but that’s “impossible,” so there’s no way of knowing for sure, which is ironically the whole point of this protest to begin with.
Also pretty much every player who’s knelt has been asked about why they’re protesting, so in fact, it would be really easy to check on.
And even if Tomi was incapable of asking the players for ― or reading literally just one article on the issue, she could have at least done her due diligence and asked maybe one veteran, Nate Boyer ― a green beret ― what HE thinks about Kaepernick taking a knee?
Nate served, after all, and everyone at Fox News loves to drape themselves with the flag and respect our troops when it suits them. Nate’s not trans either so they can respect his service.
I bring Nate up because he was also initially mad at Kaepernick and assumed he was disrespecting his service, so he wrote him a letter, and Kaepernick immediately agreed to meet with him.
First thing he said when we met was: ‘I want you to know, I appreciate your service more than anything.’ I expressed to him maybe there’s a different way to demonstrate, where you’re showing more respect for those that lay down their lives for what that flag and anthem stands for. I suggested kneeling.
Colin Kaepernick, at a time when it seemed nearly impossible to do so, sat down and listened. And Nate’s suggestion is why he changed his form of protest from sitting to knee
I urge everyone to watch the video above. It is incredibly powerful and proves that we can find common ground, as long as we have these uncomfortable conversations with those we do not agree with. This was the understanding Nate came to, following their conversation:
I respect those men and women in uniform, but the ones that aren’t doing it the right way, we have to correct it. We need to fix it, he’s right about that. // It is an issue, and we’ve come along way, but we still have a long way to go.
Nate was open to having a conversation and he listened to the other side and was able to change his mind, and it’s terrifying that Fox News promotes the antithesis of that understanding in most of their coverage. An understanding that extends to white supremacists wearing swastikas, but not to people protesting racism.
But here’s why I’ve had it with conservatives hijacking the conversation when it comes to patriotism, respecting the flag, the troops and America.
Are the thousands of veterans speaking out on social media about how these protestors have a right to take a knee not valid? Are the hundreds of NYPD officers who took a knee in solidarity unpatriotic? I can see no other reason as to why Fox News never features these stories in their round the clock anti-protest coverage?
Is there no police brutality problem? Police have killed at least 223 black Americans since Kaep took a knee, perhaps this not an issue for Fox News? Is it not an issue when an unarmed black kid is five times more likely to be killed than a white peer?
How is it that conservatives are able to hijack patriotism, when they use it simply as a talking point to disenfranchise others?
Why is Trump a pillar of American patriotism when he frequently says the most unpatriotic sh*t? So, I’m asking conservatives, is this really the brand of patriot you want to be?
Trump on Mccain: “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured okay?”
I’m sure you all heard how Trump dealt with the one of the widow of the four slain U.S. soldiers in Niger.
First he lied about how other presidents never called family members of those who died in combat. Then when he did call Myeisha Johnson, the pregnant wife of one of the slain soldier’s he chose an unusual form consolation: “Your husband knew what he signed up for.”
Not sure that’s the kind of patriotism you want to promote.
The kind that has also mocked the family of a slain Muslim veteran very publicly. Was that respecting the flag and the military?
Criticizing America in order to make it better for everyone is not unpatriotic, and it is absolutely more patriotic than hurling insults at John Mccain, or letting the insurance markets in certain states implode by not making CSR payments just because Trump wants to undermine Obama’s legacy.
It’s almost like Tomi and her ilk want to pretend they have no idea what the protests are about because their whole goal is to avoid at all costs talking about our racist criminal justice system, even if it makes them all look like a bunch of complete morons.
So this is my message to conservatives who watch Fox News, if you see the problem with trying to pass off bigotry or efforts to silence fellow citizens as patriotism, speak out, have an uncomfortable conversation with others who don’t agree with you – don’t let assholes hijack what it means to be American or patriotic and claim that the people pushing policies that will hurt their fellow citizens are the real patriots.
You can follow me on Instagram and on Twitter for more hot takes. You can find all of my videos on youtube.

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