Commentary

Kaepernick Tries Insulting US with Edited Slavery Quote, Cruz Schools Him by Posting the Whole Thing

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It’s been one of those weeks for Colin Kaepernick.

Our favorite social justice quarterback re-entered the news cycle just before July Fourth when he had asked Nike to cancel a special American flag-themed shoe for the holiday because it used the Betsy Ross flag, which he apparently associated with slavery. The backlash from that felt like it was beginning when he decided, on the Fourth of July, to post a quote from Frederick Douglass about the perfidies of the United States. Except Kaepernick didn’t post the whole quote or the context behind it — two things that GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was more than willing to provide.

First, the quote: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? 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 posted on Independence Day.

The Douglass quote came with a video documenting a lot of bad things, all of which are clearly a fair snapshot of America in 2019:

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Wonderful. As Cruz pointed out, however, this was taking one part of a speech very much out of context.

“You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand,” Cruz responded on Twitter. “This speech was given in 1852, before the Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody.”

“Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and passionately, anti-slavery,” Cruz wrote, before posting a fuller context of what Douglass had to say.

“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,” Douglass had said in the speech. “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.”

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“Let me encourage everyone, READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH; it is powerful, inspirational, and historically important in bending the arc of history towards justice,” Cruz said, linking to the speech.

Cruz wasn’t the only person to call Kaepernick out on his mischaracterization of the speech. National Review editor Charles C.W. Cooke, rather humorously, asked if the former NFL player was “afflicted by some ugly malady that prevents you from finishing reading a document? Or did you just want to provide an impression wholly unsupported by the evidence?”

However, the Texas senator also made a bit of news when he put Kaepernick on blast for his role in the Betsy Ross sneakers affair:

In short, slamming America on or around the Fourth of July isn’t something that plays well with Cruz. Using a man such as Frederick Douglass to do it doesn’t sit well with the Lone Star Republican, either.

The fact that Kaepernick managed to take it so out of context just makes it worse.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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