One conservative commentator is arguing that America has undergone a significant change.
In an op-ed for Fox News, Ben Shapiro argues that American counterculture promoted by radical figures like Colin Kaepernick has become the new American culture.
Shapiro’s argument is based on what has been going on in the world of professional sports where we see players kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest perceived systemic racism.
That practice began back in 2016 with the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick. And, as Shapiro notes, it was frowned upon at the time, with several NFL players condemning Kaepernick’s gesture and with 72 percent of Americans – according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll – finding it to be unpatriotic.
Now, fast forward to today.
Today, Kaepernick’s symbolism has become the new normal, morphed into a rote ritual of wokeness thanks to the ugly sight of then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who would later die. Democratic elected officials knelt in the halls of Congress. Major League Baseball players knelt before the national anthem to protest supposed systemic American racism. NBA players knelt as well, wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts.
And players who refused to comply were publicly cudgeled.
Shapiro goes on to suggest an answer to this question.
“What changed,” Shapiro wrote, “is that Americans surrendered to the narrative promulgated for so long by those who seek to undermine American comity: that American history is not the story of moving toward the fulfillment of the promises of the Declaration of Independence but of the continuous, chameleonic perversion of bigotry; that America’s founding ideas were lies, then and always; that only racial identity provides credence for talking about racial inequalities. The burden of proof has shifted to America’s defenders.”
And, this is a problem, Shapiro argues, for two reasons: “first, because no country is perfect, and second, because systemic racism is a non-disprovable theory.”
Is Shapiro right?
Shapiro concludes that “counterculture has become the culture” and that “there can be no future for a country in which standing for the national anthem is considered gauche, while kneeling is considered heroic.”
I am not convinced that Shapiro is right here – that Americans really have surrendered to this counterculture. At the very least, I hope he is not right. It seems that many Americans are pushing back.
But, it’s probably just too early to tell.