On the morning of the Fourth of July, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who just finished nuking the Betsy Ross sneaker produced by Nike, decided to target the Fourth of July itself, cherry-picking from a speech by the great 19th century anti-slavery orator Frederick Douglass.
Kaepernick didn’t figure Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was paying attention, but he was, and Cruz, a student of history, proceeded to smash Kaepernick, pointing out that not only was Douglass pro-America, he venerated the Declaration of Independence itself, which was signed on the Fourth of July.
Kaepernick initiated his descent by tweeting a quote from Douglass: “‘What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.’ – Frederick Douglass.”
Cruz then launched his fusillade:
You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will misunderstand. Two critical points: This speech was given in 1852, before the Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody.
Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and passionately, anti-slavery. Indeed, he concluded the speech as follows: “Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from ‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.”
Cruz concluded, “Let me encourage everyone, READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH; it is powerful, inspirational, and historically important in bending the arc of history towards justice.”
Cruz was joined by Charles C.W. Cooke, the online editor for National Review, who added other quotes from Douglass’ speech:
Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery .. Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither …
Kaepernick first started his journey into anti-American rhetoric when he refused to stand for the national anthem in the preseason NFL games of 2016, segueing to praising former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in November 2016 and later bashing the celebration of the Fourth of July in July 2017. One month later, NFL legend Jim Brown slammed Kaepernick, stating, “I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American. I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and the national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”