Societal values are not supposed to age. Or deteriorate when exposed to the elements. Based on the daily news, I’m under the impression that societal values in everyday America aren’t as “valued” as they used to be. The current flurry of sex scandal headlines involving everyone from actor Kevin Spacey to Judge Roy Moore to Senator Al Franken are only a fractional bit of evidence that we are descending down the rabbit hole at a dizzyingly rapid pace.
Against this backdrop, I read the other day that GQ Magazine has named Colin Kaepernick as its Citizen of the Year. I would like the GQ editors to explain the values behind their decision. If they can find them.
According to the newspaper, the GQ folks chose to recognize Kaepernick for his “activism.” I can only assume that Mr. Kaepernick was so recognized for his clear-eyed ability to explain his campaign of activism and for the impressive breadth and depth of the campaign, itself.
I remember the TV interviews following his first kneeling performance in September of 2016. I was surprised that he was barely able to string five coherent words together. His world salad, when translated, appeared to identify a protest campaign against oppression of minorities and an anti-police attitude. He could offer no specific examples of such oppression or law-enforcement malfeasance, but somehow in his mind, kneeling during the national anthem was the proper way to express his concerns. I was struck by the irony of a millionaire athlete who had every opportunity to succeed in this country actually protesting what he called oppression.
So, if Kaepernick was unable to effectively describe his campaign of activism, then obviously, GQ Magazine must be paying homage to his stirring campaign of activism.
I searched online to find out about Kaepernick’s vigorous campaign to bring about change. Other than squatting at an inappropriate time, the only other campaign activity I could find is a “Know Your Rights Camp” that he sponsors. The goal of the camp is “To help build a stronger generation of people that will create the change that is much needed in this world.” I searched the website but was unable to find out what “change” is needed.
The website does outline 10 rights. Among them are the right to be brilliant, the right to be courageous and the right to be trusted. Unfortunately, these aren’t rights. Everyone has the opportunity to be brilliant or courageous but not the right. And folks must earn trust, they don’t have a right to it. Makes me wonder about the rest of the “education” provided at the camp.
I wouldn’t call disrespecting the national anthem and putting on a dubious camp for impressionable young people a vigorous campaign. And I doubt that it will truly benefit the young people who experience it.
Let’s review. If GQ couldn’t honor Kaepernick for clearly expressing his views or for the inspiring nature of his campaign of protest, maybe the magazine was impressed by his athletic prowess on the gridiron. He started out as a good quarterback, but during his last two full years the 49ers won 7 and lost 25 games. That kind of winning and losing has sent a lot of quarterbacks to the showers, permanently.
I remember when President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. I couldn’t find a legitimate reason for that award, either. Although I did see a gas station sign promising “a free Nobel Peace Prize with each gas fill up.”
I think I’ll hurry over to my local service station to get my own Citizen of the Year award!
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