protesting police brutality, but like, Orioles fans yell ‘O!’ when they do the national anthem—that, to my mind is more disrespectful of the flag and the national anthem than a silent protest, where he’s kneeling while they’re doing it.” And when my friend was talking about it with me in June, she was like, “I kinda get it now.” She couldn’t conceive that Kaepernick cared and was willing to protest for the people—she thought he was an attention hog. And so I mean, it’s unfortunate she didn’t get it then. But I’m happy she got it now. And so that’s something we can build upon. And I hope we do. And I’m just nervous, even still with the ongoing protests elsewhere across the country, like in Portland, where it seems like it’s just ongoing demonstrations without the message or pedagogy of what the next step is. You have the attention, the media is there, but are you taking advantage of the attention and the provocation and the spectacle by advocating for something and saying what you want?
I’ll put a finer point on it. It seems like some activists don’t care, and even locally, people don’t think about U.S. elections. In 2016, friends of mine who were super far left were like, “Oh, it doesn’t matter if Hillary doesn’t win… and the Supreme Court, the judiciary don’t matter.” I think people aren’t recognizing all the ways that government regulation and policy intertwine. And so I would hope that that’d be the next step for the movement. And maybe even people like myself, who might be more “centrist,” can help do the pedagogy that way too. And say, like, “Well, here’s the impact of what’s going on with the judiciary and the random regulations you don’t think about, because you don’t see it every day.” But there’s a reason there’s more—I saw last week—for example that of the $1 billion in Department of Transportation BUILD grant funding of 50 percent going to rural areas, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities, so very little funding is going to mass transit. Which means it’ll be harder for folks in marginalized communities without cars to get to job centers or community colleges. And that’s just one small agency-level policy thing that no one really talks about during campaigns, but multiply that by a million different regulations and agencies, and you see how it really matters who’s in the White House.