Obama Wants Kaepernick to Consider Military Families’ “Pain”

Source:  TeleSUR
September 29 2016

I want them to listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat,” Obama stated.

obama to kaepernick.jpg

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting with members of the military community hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper at Fort Lee in Virginia, U.S., September 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

As the racial battle of narratives heightens, almost everyone in the United States has voiced their opinion on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s highly-publicized protests against police brutality—including President Barack Obama.

RELATED:  ‘I Won’t Be Silent:’ Black Athletes Pick Sides in US Race War

While the “Commander-in-Chief” has remained relatively mute on the spate of recent, highly-publicized instances of police violence against Black people, he wants Kaepernick to think about the “pain” he’s causing military families next time he chooses to take a knee during the national anthem.

“Sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama said during a CNN town hall with members of America’s armed forces community on Wednesday. “So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Perhaps to his credit, the president did add, (though almost as an afterthought): “I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

RELATED: Kaepernick Protest Continues to Inspire More Players and Fans

Courtesy call to the major

These comments come on the heels of protests against the killings of 3 Black men by police in the last couple of weeks, the latest in a roster of continuing violence across the country. While Obama has released no statement on the latest extra-judicial killing, claiming the life of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, California, he did have comments on protests that broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, in demonstrations against the murders of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, respectively.

Instead of offering condolences to the victim’s families, however, he opted instead to extend the courtesy call to the major of the cities amidst the ensuing protests.

The unevenness of Obama’s response is consistent with a pattern that dates back at least to his first presidential campaign when, instead of expressing any sympathy, he instead chastised New Yorkers angry about the acquittal of three police officers who had opened fire on 23-year old Sean Bell as he left his bachelor party at a Queens strip club, killing the young African-American the day before his wedding day.

One thought on “Obama Wants Kaepernick to Consider Military Families’ “Pain”

  1. Truthfully, whenever any life is lost whether it’s that of a black person being shot down in the streets of America by racist cops or that of a soldier being killed by a bomb or a suicide bomber in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan it is painful and as such it should be mourned.

    However, to appraise president Obama’s recent unsolicited suggestion to Colin Kaepernick to consider the “pain” of military families in his ongoing protests, it is necessary to think about a few pointers.

    Significantly, it is critical to examine the differences between the rampant police killings of hundreds primarily unarmed black and Latino people and the death of soldiers in foreign lands that must be taken into account.

    First and foremost, the police killings of unarmed black folks in America is currently in excess of 700 according to one estimate since the start of the year. These killings are without doubt a one sided affair where defenseless people are being mowed down by those who have fire power and are supposedly charged to “serve” and “protect” those who they kill.

    On the contrary, American soldiers who are killed are voluntary members of the US armed forces who are typically engaged in armed conflicts in foreign countries like Iraq and Syria who are fighting in defense of “US geopolitical and strategic interests” or ” US imperial interests” in those countries.

    The latter interests despite the powerful and deceitful propaganda of the corporate media and other imperialist interests are at odds with the interests of working and middle class Americans.

    The American soldiers consciously volunteer to fight in foreign lands in defense of US imperial interests though frequently many of them are unaware of their role in defense of these interests so opposed to their own middle class or working poor backgrounds. On the contrary, the hundreds of black people being killed for a plethora of frivolous reasons such as tail light violation and the sale of loose cigarettes clearly do not volunteer to be killed by police.

    Thus in the first case, the hundreds of black folks being killed senselessly are up against armed police officers who are killing them. Paradoxically, black folks are trained both socially and ideologically to believe that the police are there to “serve” and “protect” them in whatever situations and not to kill them. Consequently, the police lkillings of black folks in America is a case of the powerful i.e. the armed cops and the state machinery that support them against the powerless, the unarmed black and Latino folks being murdered almost daily in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    Colin Kaepernick has chosen to exercise his first amendment right in protest against the racial oppression of black folks and other people of color in America including the multiple cases of police brutality and police killings of black people and people of color.

    Thus, for president Obama to ask Kaepernick to take into account the ” pain” of military families borders on the absurd as he assumes that he does not and it is also attempt to impose the “pain” his decisions as Commander in Chief” have caused these families in a football player who has not inflicted any “pain” on these families.

    Further, in the case of US soldiers who are killed or maimed in places like Syria and Iraq, not only are these soldiers trained in deadly warfare techniques to protect themselves against their foes but additionally, these soldiers are fully armed to defend themselves against their foes whether it’s ISIS or Alqueda.

    Furthermore, these soldiers are engaged in life and death military conflicts on battlefields where it is expected that either they may die or their enemies may die. The latter is one of the real assumptions of armed conflicts or wars anywhere. On the contrary, at least on the surface of it black folks are not in a declared war with the police in their cars, on the streets, walking or selling CDs or loose cigarettes or whatever else we do inescapably in our black bodies.

    As such, when president Obama admonishes Colin Kaepernick to take into account the “pain” of soldiers and their families who supposedly fight in defense of the US flag, it is strangely ironic since it is president Obama as the “Commander in Chief” of the US armed forces who sends or deploys hundreds of these soldiers to enforce US foreign policy against governments that the US government unilaterally declares as ” unfriendly” and or “hostile” to “US interests” as was done in the case of the governments of Saddam Hussein and Mummar Gaddiffi.

    Indeed, currently the massive bombings and the deployment of special forces to disrupt and kill ISIS members in Syria are being decided by “the Commander in Chief” who by his decisions contributes to the very “pain” which inevitably results from his decisions to deploy hundreds and thousands of troops in the name of ” fighting terrorism.”

    Paradoxically, US soldiers under the command of President Obama and his predecessors invariably commit multiple terrorist acts such as bombings and torture which not only witness “pain” on innocent Syrians, Iraqis and others but also on the US soldiers themselves as the “lucky ones” suffer irreparably mental and physical injuries and those ” less lucky” die.

    In this context, maybe president Obama should consider in his last few months in office whether a policy of disengaging from the many armed conflicts of choice whether directly in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghnistan, Somalia or indirectly in Yemen and others will not minimize the ” pain” of military families.

    No doubt thousands of soldiers and their families would be relieved to know that their deployments would end and with them their exposure to the risks of death or being maimed on the battlefields of choice in sovereign nations.

    There is no doubt that Colin Kaepernick recognizes and respects the sacrifices of American soldiers and their “pain” and that of their families. However, Kaepernick’ protests of not standing for the national anthem at his team’s games is not only his exercise of his first amendment right. However, even beyond his first amendment right, whether or not he thinks favorably or not of the “pain” of US soldiers would still not in any way delegitimize his protest stances against the history of white supremacist discrimination, police killings and other forms of racist oppression against people of color in general and black people in particular.

    Colin Kaepernick has made it crystal clear from the outset that his ongoing protests was not against the soldiers and their families or against the US flag. On the contrary, he made it very clear that his protest actions were intended to highlight the terrible and unacceptable racist and oppressive conditions under which people of color live in the US.

    Consequently, president Obama’s caveat that Kaepernick considers the “pain” of soldiers and their families is respectfully a distraction from his protest actions. The latter seems to suggest that without the 49ers quarterback embracing the “pain” of soldiers his ongoing popular protests lack legitimacy. On the contrary, Kaepernick’s protests and the “pain” of the military families are not mutually exclusive though even if they were his increasingly popular protests against racist oppression and police killings are independently legitimate and constitutional.

    The fact is that Colin Kaepernick’s protests have not caused any “pain” in the form of death, suffering or discomfort to military families unlike the actions of president Obama who as “Commander in Chief” has deployed thousands of soldiers to fight America’s wars of choice around the world in order to enforce US foreign policy interests.

    Unfortunately, the president’s decisions and those of his predecessors are respectfully the material decisions that have led to the “pain” both in terms of separation of military families and worst for the soldiers.

    Finally, it is equally noteworthy that president Obama is unequivocal about the “pain” that military families suffer and seems less unequivocal as it relates to the ” pain” of black and Latino families who are suffering not only their loss of siblings, husbands, wives, parents, aunts and children but who are literally under the cease of police terror in America.

    Is Obama’s interest in the “pain”of military families related to the strategic role of the US military in executing the US foreign policy of global domination and exploitation of the resources of sovereign nations in the globe?

    Isn’t the role of the US military globally antithetical to the plight and struggles of people of color particularly black people for justice in the US?

    Isn’t injustice anywhere according to the wise words of Dr. King a threat to justice everywhere including for people of color in America?

    I n closing, I would like to assume that President Obama really wants to do something about the “pain” of military families he and previous presidents as Commanders in Chiefs have caused them by their decisions to send them to fight to protect the geopolitical interests of US imperialism.

    President Obama has an opportunity to reduce the “pain”of these families by denying to deploy more military personnel in arms way in Syria, Iraq and other war zones where US imperialism continues to battle for resources, influence and domination.

    Should the president refrain from deploying more military forces to those war zones in in remaining months in offer, Kaepernick would have less “pain” of military families to take into account and Obama would potentially reduce global tensions and equally contribute to the chance for peace!

    Peace and Love!

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