Much like the flesh-eating bacteria found in the waters of the Gulf, Colin Kaepernick was back in the news last week.
This time around, the anthem-kneeling football player-turned-activist pressured his home company – Nike – to drop plans to release a 4th of July themed sneaker that would have featured the original, Betsy Ross flag on the heel. Kaepernick said that since the flag was created at a time when slavery was still legal in the fledgling America, it was not worth celebrating. Nike dutifully obeyed the commands of their spokesman and canceled the release of the shoe, much to the dismay and consternation of conservatives, patriots, and anyone else who thinks it is still okay to take pride in the country.
Among those detractors was Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, which may be why he was closely following Kaepernick’s Twitter account when the former quarterback published quotes from abolitionist Frederick Douglass to further denigrate Independence Day.
“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” Douglass said in 1852, as quoted by Kaepernick. “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.”
Kaepernick also posted a video featuring a longer version of the speech with slavery scenes in the background, intercut with scenes from modern America where police use force against African-Americans. The insinuation behind the video is not exactly hidden.
It was this insinuation that Cruz took exception to, and he implored Kaepernick and his followers to consider the rest of Douglass’s speech.
“You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass,” Cruz wrote. “But, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand.”
Cruz said that it was beyond dispute that slavery was an “abomination” and that we should revere the hard work of Douglass and “so many other heroes” that led to its eventual abolition. However, Cruz said, it was important to understand that Douglass was not the “anti-American” figure that Kaepernick was trying to cast him as. To prove it, Cruz quoted from another section of the same speech.
“Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country,” Cruz quoted. “There are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain.
“I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from ‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age,” the speech concluded.
Cruz then said: “Let me encourage everyone, READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH; it is powerful, inspirational, and historically important in bending the arc of history towards justice.”
Leftists like Kaepernick have a terrible habit of seeing American history through such a dark, differentiated prism that they miss the nuance and power that their supposed heroes actually possessed. They quote their idols, but they don’t actually read them. Thankfully, people like Ted Cruz are around to shed a little light on their world of darkness.