Opinion: Colin Kaepernick doesn’t vote. That’s his right, and he’s a ‘good citizen’ for exercising it.
To the editor: George Skelton got outside his expertise when he wrote about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. (“Colin Kaepernick as ‘citizen of the year’? Not quite — good citizens vote,” Nov. 20)
Please don’t start the nonsense that it is our duty to vote, especially for black citizens, when every statistical measure for this so-called duty shows that African Americans have been excluded from participation throughout our entire history.
Gerrymandering is the best example of this. State legislatures have no compunction to exclude blacks and even members of the party not in power. Blacks have good reason not to pay the trashy homage of voting because in school we are taught it is some holy, magical duty.
We all vote for different reasons, and if I want to protest by not voting, please remember it is a constitutionally protected right as much as the so-called duty to vote.
Ralph Mitchell, Monterey Park
To the editor: I beg Skelton to dive into articles on voting and kneeling during the national anthem written by people who are not part of the dominant culture. Such writings actually exist.
Sam Fulwood III suggests that voting might be the last thing on a young person’s mind when he or she is “poor, ignored, or vilified.” Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds us that any manner of youthful protest against America’s power structure — even Kaepernick’s thoughtful, silent kneeling — “isn’t the real problem.” Angela Davis suggests that refusing to stand during a nationalistic song glorifying the bombs and rockets of war may help us to “imagine possible futures.”
It’s ridiculously easy for Skelton to say that people should respect “core foundations of America and the Constitution,” especially when those principles were established by and for people who looked just like him.
Angi Neff, Santa Monica
To the editor: Bravo to Skelton.
Bob Wieting, Simi Valley
To the editor: Skelton writes that football game viewers should not have to be forced to watch political activities. That’s a false argument.
Recently, I went to a performance at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, and before then, I saw a movie at a mall theater. I didn’t have to stand at attention and look at the flag or hear the national anthem at any of these events, and neither did anyone else.
When I go to be entertained by highly paid professional athletes, why do they and I have to prove our patriotism? Only in sports has this become an issue because of Kaepernick’s kneeling protest of this charade, which we have because the leagues and sports teams want to escape antitrust laws by presenting themselves as quintessentially American.
Why the heck should any business owner have the right to insist that we participate in their political statements on the field?
Robert Von Bargen, Santa Monica
A cure for the common opinion
Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.