In a year-end editorial, the Washington Times noted that former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s “legacy of kneelers” shows that America is more divided than ever.
The paper’s December 25 editorial starts out recounting former San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s invention of the anti-American protest during the playing of the national anthem, before sarcastically noting that “taking a knee is the one play that every NFL player can master.”
The Times goes on to insist that the protests have become “a marker of the red vs. blue divide” but laments that the it “bodes ill for the prospect of finding common ground on which everyone can stand.” The editorial then says that the divide is obvious based on recent votes in Congress such as the tax reform vote for which not a single Democrat voted.
The editorial board speculates that some of the blame for our increasingly volatile political divide can be laid at the feet of social media, a claim even a former executive of Facebook has pointed to as a problem facing our society today.
That former executive recently noted that he feels “tremendous guilt” for having created a platform that has wrecked so much havoc on our social interaction, the editorial says.
Chamath Palihapitiya, the onetime vice president “for user growth” at Facebook, now feels “tremendous guilt” for helping make Facebook a powerful influence in the culture. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
The Times editorial board goes on to reveal some very stark polling numbers that show how conservatives still believe in America while liberals seem to have strayed from feeling good toward the country.
Conservatives, the editorial says, find the National Rifle Association to be patriotic. They also think fast food chain Chick-fil-A, Fox News, the GOP, and the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores, are all examples of patriotic entities. These choices are all notable because they have specifically promoted traditional American ideals.
On the other hand, liberals felt that the Democrat Party, the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion mill operators Planned Parenthood, newspaper The New York Times, and the NFL are patriotic. These choices, of course, are notable for standing against American principles.
In part, the Times blames this divide on Colin Kaepernick.
Some of this sentiment can surely be traced to Mr. Kaepernick and other NFL players who followed his lead to take a knee to protest the national anthem and what it calls racial and economic inequality throughout the land.
The editorial ends on a “troubling” note:
Other findings are similarly troubling. Eighty-eight percent of Republicans say they can’t tolerate abuse of the American flag, but only 55 percent of Democrats say they can tolerate flag-abuse. Seventy-eight 78 percent of Republicans say America always comes first in their pride and affections, but just 55 percent of Democrats do.
“The great gap abides,” the Washington Times says in conclusion.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.