It is, let me say here, quite weird to project your own beliefs and aspirations onto an octogenarian Supreme Court justice and expect it to never backfire. But woke Twitter folk hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg, center of a highly marketable personality cult, has some gross things to say about Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the institutional oppression of minorities in this country.
Ginsburg made the comments about Kaepernick’s and other athletes’ decision to sit or kneel for the playing of the national anthem before games in an interview with Katie Couric.
When asked by Couric how she feels about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and others athletes, refusing to stand for the anthem, Ginsburg replied, “I think it’s really dumb of them.”
“Would I arrest them for doing it? No,” Ginsburg elaborated. “I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
Couric then asked, “But when it comes to these football players, you may find their actions offensive, but what you’re saying is, it’s within their rights to exercise those actions?”
“Yes,” said Ginsburg. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Arrogant. Ridiculous. Akin to flag burning. “A terrible thing to do.” And here I was thinking these athletes have played a pretty significant role in reigniting an important national discussion, and did so without violence or insult or anything beyond forcing people to confront the question of what exactly this country’s symbols represent to its least empowered. I sure hope Ginsburg doesn’t quit her day job, whatever that is.
Ginsburg’s an incredibly accomplished woman with a lifelong track record of doing the right thing. And I guess it’s unrealistic to expect an 83-year-old, who’s spent 36 years on the federal bench, not to have some retrograde-leaning ideas or to view national symbols with a more intense regard than the rest of us. But this is a great reminder that performative online love of any powerful person will ultimately reflect poorly upon you. Justin Trudeau? Get in the garbage. Cool Pope? More like Toilet Pope. This is the internet, no one gets out alive.