CHARLOTTE, NC: It’s truly amazing how much influence one has-been professional football player can have on a multi-million dollar business. Colin (the knee jerk) Kaepernick was upset with Nike’s Betsy Ross version of the American flag on one of their shoe designs so Nike “checked out” and recalled the product.
According to the uninformed Kaepernick, the self-proclaimed hero of Black America, the shoe design represented a link to slavery during the founding of our nation in the latter part of the 18th century.
Had Kaepernick, and, by extension, his corporate puppy dog shadows at Nike bothered to do their homework, they would have realized that in typical political correctness liberalism they got it wrong again.
No matter. Kaepernick already knew that the high percentage of people in his personal “choir” wouldn’t bother to seek out the truth, choosing instead to accept his bias as gospel simply because it’s easier to believe the opinion of their champion than to do due diligence and learn the facts.
In Nike’s case, it was mostly a marketing ploy to capitalize on a polarized country where their advocates are looking for any and all opportunities to have something to complain about. Following the adage “that all publicity is good”, Nike continues to push their agenda on a gullible public that will blindly stand in line for days to purchase their latest shoe creation.
Not so amazing is the fact that most of the people waiting in those mammoth queues are the very same folks that Kaepernick is trying to “protect.”
Betsy Ross, the original flag maker, was a struggling widow making her living as an upholsterer. In Ross’ day, some upholsterers also took in all types of sewing chores, including the making of flags.
Ross was also an antislavery Quaker. A fact that obviously escaped Kaepernick and Nike.
The flag itself was introduced just shortly before the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 with a design that was intended to signify “UNITY.” After all, that was what the Revolutionary War was all about.
Six years later, in June 1782, the Journal of the Continental Congress recorded the meaning of the flag and its colors:
“White signifies purity and innocence. Red hardiness and valor and Blue … signifies vigilance perseverance and justice.”
Nowhere does the word slavery appear in those words. As former New York Yankees manager, as Casey Stengel, once said “You could look it up.”
Indeed slavery did exist at the time of our nation’s founding. And it is true that freedom was not equal for everyone. This despite Thomas Jefferson’s claim that “all men are created equal.”
It is also true that the United States did not change the design of the flag after slavery was abolished.
There was a reason for that, however. In the opinion of many of the country’s leaders following the Civil War, the act of changing the flag. As it was, the flag did equally represent a unified nation which was ultimately victorious in the war.
Since slavery was eliminated as a result of that victory, many believed that the American flag, in its own way, represented the successful defeat of slavery rather than an endorsement of it.
James Armistead – James Lafayette
Most likely what you didn’t know, however, was that a slave named James Armistead represents the color blue thanks to his spying efforts that led to America’s victory in the battle at Yorktown in 1781.
As a servant to British General Cornwallis, Armistead gathered the intelligence General Lafayette found necessary to inform Gen. George Washington that it was possible to seize Yorktown.
Later, when Armistead became free, he changed his name to James Lafayette. Did Nike or Colin Kaepernick bother to research that tidbit of history?
Did either Mr. Kaepernick or Nike notice that the original flag had 13 white stars arranged in a circle? Or that the circle denotes that no single state wields more weight, strength or power than any other? It’s not unlike King Arthur’s round table where each of his knights had equal importance.
Nor is it uncommon today to see international negotiations conducted at a circular table for the same reason.
Betsy Ross’ flag through history
Thus, over the nearly 250-year history of the United States, the only thing in the original Ross design that changes is the stars. The arrangement of the stars moving on its blue background as each new state is added to the Union.
It should be noted that every iteration of the American flag since its adoption is allowed to fly today as a legal representation of the country.
Is the United States perfect?
Absolutely not. Not by a long shot. And it never will be. On the other hand, so long as we keep trying to make legitimate changes that benefit our nation and the world, that’s all we can ask.
Rather than complaining about cages on boxes of Animal Crackers or flags on the back of shoes, why not focus on things that make all of our lives better in a genuine way?
Nike made their statement which they know will only add to their bottom line rather than hurt the company. Colin Kaepernick will continue to believe he is Moses for people of color. Despite his ignorance.
Perhaps we would all be better off if we simply ignored that controversial “swoosh” and decide to check our facts before we “C-hec-K in” to their agenda.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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