I might be in the minority here with this line of thinking, but I believe President Donald J. Trump knows exactly why Mr. Colin Kaepernick began not standing during the national anthem. Though the U.S. President shows no concern about racial disparities germane to policing in some of America’s cities, I know he understands, though disagrees with, the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, which predates, and clearly inspired, Mr. Kaepernick.
Housed in luxury and opulence even before his unfortunate residence in the White House, Mr. Trump is out-of-touch with the common man and far-removed from most social woes. But as an avid, almost addicted, cable news viewer, he’s keenly aware of the incidents which garner headlines, no matter where in the nation they occur. So, when Mr. Trump convolutes the meaning of Mr. Kaepernick’s kneeling protest, which others have begun to replicate, it’s a result of evil intention rather than his inability to understand.
What motive would Mr. Trump have to purposefully convolute the direct action? Well, he clearly doesn’t want to talk, let alone debate, about policing. The last time he did so, he encouraged police officers to be “rough” with suspects they arrest. That remark didn’t go over well with his base of cops, a handful of whom distanced themselves from that ideology, and it empowered his critics.
More than that, though, the Trump administration is now dismantling the infrastructure which allowed cities to request assistance from the federal government to improve the quality of policing it renders, which, in turn, impacts police-community relations. The focus of that particular division of the Department of Justice will go from collaborative reform to supporting crime-reduction initiatives.
And, in August, the Trump administration revealed it will roll-back an Obama-era policy which restricted police department’s ability to acquire surplus military weapons, like bayonets and grenade launchers – police chiefs who rebuked Mr. Trump’s July comments kept a low profile on this subject.
Acknowledging the true meaning behind Mr. Kaepernick’s protest would force upon the president – whose position on policing is nonsensical and likely the result of his fanaticism for a profession he’d never be braved enough to attempt – a debate which he’s ill-equipped for, and uninterested in. The president has a policing agenda which includes augmentations rather than accountability; it’s not evidenced-based; and it certainly doesn’t lend itself towards a dialogue on racial justice.
Avoidance and misdirection has become Mr. Trump’s default setting when a number of issues are raised, race and policing are chief among them. Instead of aiming to empathize with Mr. Kaepernick and those who think like him, Mr. Trump plays to his base, which his energized by his faux-patriotism and the denigration of black athletes.
What Mr. Trump understands more than anything is how to entertain an audience. And a good portion of that fanbase favors upholding systems of white supremacy over a meaningful dialogue on race and policing. So, when Mr. Trump turns a kneeling athlete into an anti-America, veteran-hating ingrate, he’s following a golden-rule of show business (yes, I believe the president still perceives himself as a television character): give your audience what they want.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™
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