Steve King thinks Colin Kaepernick is basically ISIS, and that anyone who disagrees isn’t American.
Steve King must be really frustrated by Trump. After all, King is a wildly-racist hateful little goblin who has been beating the “Mexicans are all bad” drum for decades, but does anyone consider him Presidential? Nope. There’s no justice.
Still, that hasn’t stopped King from weighing in on the weighty matters of the day, particularly Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. He has some interesting and well-considered thoughts.
The Iowa congressman appeared on Newsmax’s “Steve Malzberg Show” on Monday to slam the 49ers backup quarterback for his silent protest against the national anthem in an effort to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans. King piled on the criticism for Kaepernick, claiming that his “activism is sympathetic to ISIS.”
That’s probably a bit of a stretch, but it shows the mindset of the right wing very well. It very clearly shows this incredibly militaristic approach to the country, where we are not a nation with an army, but an army with a nation. That’s what, to them, the national anthem represents. It’s a twisted and perverted notion of patriotism, but to King, this isn’t hyperbole. If you don’t support his vision of America, you are literally ISIS. And he has a pretty strict vision of America, but also weirdly, of employment.
After the host asserted that the 49ers coach was incorrect to claim that Kaepernick holds a constitutional right to protest “when you are working as a football player for a football team,” King agreed and suggested that Kaepernick should be fired for his protest.
“I think Colin Kaepernick is representing the San Francisco 49ers when he puts on that uniform,” he said.
That’s right. When you have a job, you have no rights. Your position as a 49er is more important than, and literally supersedes, your obligations and rights as a citizen. I’m guessing that he doesn’t always believe this, though. There might be something about Kaepernick and his activism that separate him from, say, Curt Schilling.
“When he steps out on the stage, the world stage, he’s taking advantage of that and he’s undermining patriotism,” King argued. “For me, if I’m the coach, I would say, ‘You’re done. Until you take a knee and beg forgiveness from the American people, you’re not going to set foot out on this field again.’”
This is key to the whole thing. “Undermining patriotism” means not falling in line with what Steve King believes, and means not calling attention to things he wouldn’t like attention called to. After all, it isn’t “undermining patriotism” to say that everything in America is terrible, and that the nation is going to the dogs, and that we are losing because our leaders are weak and corrupt and that the President is a tyrant. That’s fine. But to use your position to call attention to police doing something bad? Not patriotic.
It’s worth noting that Steve King does this all the time, but in his position as a congressman, he doesn’t represent anything, so it is ok for him to trash America, but not ok for a football player to do so, because he has a job.
However, the most important part is “beg forgiveness from the American people” as a basis of his employment. I won’t even get to the job part of that, which is lunacy. It’s that, to King and his ilk, the people who are offended by this are the only ones who are “the American people”. Not those who support him. It should be unsurprising that, for King, the American people are white.
While some 70 percent of respondents who identified as white said they disagreed with Kaepernick, that number dropped to 40 percent of respondents who identified as a racial minority.
And this is exactly the point. For a certain strain of right-winger, i.e. the strain whose representative is the Republican nominee, being an American means being able to howl against the government and everyone in it, except the police if you are black. Then you are disrespecting the nation. It’s not even that subtle, honestly: it’s raising a flag-draped salute and yelling “quiet!” It’s saying the price of even the most denuded, rights-free citizenship is silence and acquiesence to brutality. It’s saying that being an American means being less than everyone else, and it is the insanity that it is unAmerican to suggest otherwise. That’s Steven King’s America, and it is Donald Trump’s too. Let’s hope it isn’t all of ours.