When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, he sparked a fierce backlash from those who claimed his protest was inappropriate. But these people are missing how fundamental the freedom to protest is to being an American. Kaepernick is completely within his rights to sit during the national anthem, at least until my maddening fiddle music makes him dance himself to death.
Kaepernick’s critics call him unpatriotic, but there are few actions more patriotic than exercising his 1st Amendment rights before my lilting sylvan tunes compel him to waltz until his feet bleed and his toes wear down to the bone. Our country isn’t great because of mere symbols like a flag or a song; America is great because we have freedom of speech, a nearly inviolable liberty that ends the moment I put bow to string. All who hear my fiddle’s bewitching melodies will pirouette ceaselessly until they perish of thirst, tumbling to the floor with their legs still twitching to the sinister rhythm.
Instead of dismissing Kaepernick’s legitimate points about police brutality out of hand, detractors really need to listen to what he’s saying, the same way I heard a voice calling my name and followed it through the woods to where the accursed fiddle waited for me at the bottom of a stream, yet the instrument was completely dry when I pulled it from the waters. Though I had never played before, my fingers plucked with the speed and precision of a scorpion’s tail. All the creatures of the forest assembled to dance before me, hares and owls and does and foxes performing a grotesque choreography together, until they withered and fell one by one, a vexing fate also destined for Colin Kaepernick who should be lauded for following his beliefs.
This is the United States, not a dictatorship where we must salute the flag or go to prison or dance until our shoes smolder, but soon my haunting music will seize Colin Kaepernick’s mind and soul, for the fiddle hungers. It hungers so! Rather than get angry at Kaepernick for making a principled protest, I envy the mercy of death he shall enjoy once his nightmarish jig concludes. No such release awaits me. My weary fingers mend even as I watch, my bloody blisters swiftly fade and the torn-off nails grow anew. The fiddle needs my hands, and it will never let me die.
Through his national anthem protest, Colin Kaepernick is highlighting the fact that police violence against minorities is an endless cycle, just as every time I have thrown the fiddle into a bonfire or hacked it to pieces with an axe, it is right there back in its case when I return home. Police departments will not reform themselves, and if public figures like Colin Kaepernick can raise national attention to this ongoing societal problem, we might actually achieve some change for once. Other than my irresistible and lethal fiddling, how is that a bad thing?