Tomi Lahren’s attempt at commentary on Kaepernick evokes confusion, anger

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Despite spoiling her position as conservative princess for her mildly liberal perspective on women’s health, Tomi Lahren continues to share her views on Twitter, regardless of whether or not she get’s paid for them. This time around it’s the same old target: Colin Kaepernick, whom Lahren has edited into a picture of soldiers storming Normandy so that he remains on the boat while these soldiers trudge into battle and death. The caption for this masterwork of photoshop? “Food for thought.”

Wow. What a trump card. Where do I even start with this?

I think the first thing is that I’m just appalled at her eagerness to portray this as if it’s some profound or even mildly clever political statement. It’s not. I mean, Kaepernick has been protesting for how long now? Over a year? Is she really so bored she’s throwing darts at an overwhelmed dartboard? The whole thing just takes itself far too seriously, and moreover lacks any sort of self awareness.

But I digress. Let’s look at why Lahren’s criticism ultimately fails before it really gets going.

Picture aside, let’s consider Kaepernick’s protest: kneeling during the national anthem. For many people this is considered heresy, and he’s faced a lot of backlash for it from the NFL, from fans, from reporters– even President Trump has something to say on his protest.

But while a lot of people want to talk about how he’s protesting, not a lot of people are talking about why he’s protesting. Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem is meant to critique the systems of inequality which inhibit the lives of so many of America’s citizens, particularly people of color. But rather than consider the source of his need to protest, critics have focused only on his method.

Protest has to make people uncomfortable: it’s the only way to get attention, to let people know that something is wrong and something must be done in order to right it. If he were to protest in a way that no one minded then he would get no coverage, his plight would go unconsidered.

Which is kind of the point his critics are driving at. In reality it doesn’t matter how he protests. Someone will find fault with it. His current method too is so generous: he merely kneels. That’s it. But it’s enough to rile so many people.

Now bring the picture back into view. Lahren’s photoshop criticizes Kaepernick’s protest, that much is obvious. But here’s a lack of self awareness here that really strikes me. While it plays into the same old conservative narrative of the brave soldiers, the vilification of a protester seems to be a lot more along the lines of fascist rhetoric than that of good-ole American soldiers, does it not? Mindsets like Lahren’s, which rely on the continued oppression of marginalized groups, are ultimately at the core of the Nazi party and thusly prompt the need for soldiers in the first place. Combine that with the call for mindless nationalistic compliance and it starts to get a little messy.

Look, if a protest makes you mad, that’s fine. In fact, it should. But rather than tweeting some insipid picture and acting like you’ve said something profound, maybe you can listen to what the protester needs to change. That’ll stop a protest faster than anything.