It’s been almost a year since Donald Trump took the electoral college and officially began what has quickly become the most tenuous tenure the Oval Office has ever seen. On the Democratic side of the aisle, Hillary has already published a book to try and explain away her loss, while millions of millennial Bernie bros have kept their candidate and simply shifted the numbers on their bumper stickers and campaign posters, convinced the Vermont Senator is the only viable solution to beat Trump in 2020.
Bernie hasn’t tampered his public persona either, speaking on every one of Trump’s missteps and joining the president on social media to counter his ludicrous outbursts.
In a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sen. Sanders covers topics from Trump’s proposed tax reform to the president’s immediate response, or lack thereof, to the devastation in Puerto Rico. Keeping with the topic of the times, Tapper also asked Bernie about the war of words between Trump and the NFL over players’ decision to protest systemic racism and police brutality by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem.
Instead of taking the time to once again call out the president’s unprofessional nature or discuss the meaning of the flag, Sanders spoke sternly in support of the players’ cause, calling out the same issues Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett and others have been trying to bring attention to.
“Let’s not worry about the politics of what’s going on, let’s talk about why the players are doing what they’re doing, and that’s because we have a real crisis in criminal justice in this country.” Sanders said. “The U.S. has more people in jail than any major country on earth, we have communities where kids are being picked up for smoking marijuana and getting police records, which makes it difficult for them to get the jobs that they need. So I think what the players are talking about is the need for criminal justice reform, the need for police department reform. They have the right to make that point and I appreciate their standing up for what they believe.”
Since the president decided to take to Twitter and call for the firing of any NFL players who kneel during the anthem, public discourse around the protests has shifted from the initial commentary on police brutality and systemic racism to yet another race-baiting dog whistle from Trump supporters hiding behind a symbolic piece of cloth.
Sanders, a vocal proponent of cannabis reform, gave no solace to those correlating the national anthem and American freedom.
It’s now been more than a week since Trump’s original NFL remark, and the president has only doubled-down on his ignorant stance, calling for players to once again stand during the anthem before last Sunday’s slate of games.
Still, players knelt this week, and we can presume they will next Sunday, the Sunday after that, and the every following Sunday until racist policing is seriously addressed on a national level.