Former President Obama won his way to the White House by promising America a “post-racial” future. Since 2008, race relations in America have deteriorated considerably, and the recent spate of anti-American displays in the NFL have only made things worse.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a well-known and respected black conservative, recently went on Fox News and denounced the national anthem protests for dividing America further.
Thomas asked rhetorically, “What binds us? What do we all have in common anymore?”
It used to be that all Americans could rally around the flag — and our national anthem. That is no longer the case.
“When I was a kid, even as we had laws that held us apart there were things that we held dear that we all had in common,” said Thomas, who grew up in the Jim Crow South.
Well-paid athletes who have lived in the most egalitarian America in history are now the ones complaining the loudest about racism.
Tragically, many African Americans agree with the protestors and not with Justice Thomas. A recent poll found that a majority of African Americans support the idea of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who began protesting the national anthem in 2016, becoming the leader of radical group Black Lives Matter.
ESPN, Deadspin, and other mainstream media outlets have also rushed to the defense of the protestors by claiming that President Trump’s condemnation of the protests is emblematic of the White House’s embrace of “white supremacy.”
The real tragedy of the NFL protests is that they have been copied by ordinary Americans, and even children. In Illinois, one football team full of eight-year-olds decided to follow Kaepernick’s lead by protesting the national anthem.
One six-year-old in a Floridian kindergarten also took up the protest mantel, thus showing that the NFL has far too much power in American culture.
These protests have also convinced some American millennials that civic nationalism, or the idea that all Americans are united by birth, not race, is a dead end. In its place, members of the radical right have offered up racial nationalism.
Others, who want to keep the United States united, worry that identity politics exacerbated by the national anthem protests will ultimately result in the birth of a military dictatorship that forces racial harmony through brute force. There are real world examples of this happening, namely in Latin America.
Justice Thomas’ words are disturbing, for he warns that a lack of American unity around shared symbols and history can only lead to balkanization. Thomas fears that America may be on the verge of repeating Yugoslavia, the former communist dictatorship that collapsed into genocidal chaos when ethnic nationalism took hold among Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Slovenes, and Kosovar Albanians.
Judge Thomas is taking a stand. Do you agree with him?
America’s multi-racial character has been precarious since 1965. It has been pushed closer to the tipping point by the Democrats, who have used racial grievance politics in order to shore up their base among illegal and legal immigrants, women, and ethno-religious minorities.
Thomas’ words are a dire warning. How many Americans are listening?