This is a sticky topic, and I may offend some of you, but please keep an open mind. The 2016 presidential election season has been painful to watch. I could go on and on about this topic but I’ll try to keep this to the point. The election has brought up many topics in the media and has created an unsettling feeling in regards to our society and our future as a country. Today I was watching the Commander-in Chief Forum with Matt Lauer, where he interviewed Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump. I decided to tune in mostly because of the critique given on how Matt Lauer handled the candidates and I wanted to decide for myself. The interviews have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Recently, I was also having a conversation/debate with my boyfriend about whether the KKK or ISIS is more of an imminent threat to the US. Additionally, the discussion focusing on Colin Kaepernick’s protest got me thinking. Are we a country for domestic matters, or a country for foreign matters? And who should come first?

One of the many recurring topics surrounding the candidates is whether or not they should have supported, or did they support the war in Iraq. Mr. Trump claims he did not support it, and points to an article written in 2004 (1 year after the war began) that supposedly proves that he never supported the war. While Secretary Clinton has been documented as for the war, but claims that war is a last resort in foreign matters. We are running circles around the topic and focusing on political stances regarding war, we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing the war on terror and our role in helping various countries around the globe, but refuse to acknowledge the truth about what is happening in our own country.

The KKK is an organization that is very well-known among men, women and children, yet remains unchallenged and un-prosecuted in our own country in a large way. The KKK is one of many racist organizations, but possibly the largest one in this country. We assume mass-shooters are affiliated with terrorist groups simply because they are Islamic or claim allegiance to said terrorist group, but refuse to acknowledge the terrorism that exists and has existed in this country for centuries. I could present all of the evidence of the murders committed by the KKK over the last 151 years, but for the sake of this article, and because there is an overwhelming amount of evidence, I will not take it there. Secondly, I’m not a lawyer, not to say I need to be one to prove my point about the KKK, but where is the justice system in these cases? Don’t tell me they don’t know who the members are. If we have intelligence departments dedicated to finding the leaders of terrorists groups in other countries, you can’t say with a straight face that they would not be able to determine the members of the terrorist groups in our own country.

I understand that world terrorism is a threat to the entire country and not just one specific group. But it is heart breaking that we can send troops to the Middle-East to protect their citizens against unfair treatment, but we won’t do the same in our own country. Few have called serious attention to this injustice, until Colin Kaepernick decided to take a stand (sit) against oppressive systems against black people. He protested peacefully, quietly, he spoke only when asked about it, he explained why and even switched to a kneel because he did not want to appear disrespectful to the military, and yet America is focused on his “lack of patriotism” instead of the message. It is his constitutional right to protest, he did so peacefully, and respectfully (debatable), but America cries “lynch him!” He has lost endorsement deals and has put his image at risk for a cause that is important to the livelihoods of many Americans. Meanwhile, Ryan Lochte was caught in the act of criminal behavior in another country while he was supposed to be representing our country, and is offered a spot on Dancing With the Stars…..??? As far as I’m concerned, Kaepernick is one of the most patriotic Americans I’ve seen in a long time. Today more players have joined the protest and it has created an environment in which the problem cannot be ignored. Everywhere you go people are talking about it. Still, the focus is on how he did it, and where he did it, and how qualified he is to take a stand on the issue, and other nonsense that distracts from his message. Are you listening?

“…with liberty and justice for all” a phrase I have always thought about, but particularly right now when the focus is on the National Anthem and how it represents the body of the United States. Our pledge of allegiance is supposed to announce our support of and ties to our country and says that we will protect the liberties of ALL Americans. Colin has proved that his allegiance is to all Americans. He may not have experienced systemic oppression in the way many other black Americans do, but he understands it and wants to protect those who may not have been afforded the same liberties he had. You see, Colin was adopted by a white family, he is bi-racial and has light skin. He does not look like the “threatening black man” image many white people fear. He was privileged in many ways, but now he is using his privilege and fame to bring focus to a topic we have been running from for centuries. Who is our allegiance to, America?

Our country has done a great job jumping in to rescue many of our allies overseas. We love to flex our muscles abroad, and yet our citizens are fighting for simple liberties. The right to a fair and free education, the right to fair housing, the right to respectfully challenge authority, the right to protest, the right to be assumed good rather than assumed a criminal, and the right to live. My question is, when does liberty for all actually become liberty for all? When will America as whole, begin to call out injustices and challenge the system? #withlibertyandjusticefor_

Check out these links:

Commander in Chief town hall with Matt Lauer

The origins of the KLAN

The History of Whiteness

The Confederate Flag: Heritage or Hate?

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