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Decades, or perhaps several years from now, as the nation recovers from a second Civil War (sponsored by Facebook and Doritos Nuclear Nacho Blast), America’s three or four remaining educated adults will wonder where it all went wrong. “At what point,” these nerds will ask, “did the country finally go off the rails, allowing the YouTube commenters and 4chan trolls to rise up and ruin everything?” 

If they’re looking for a specific date, it was probably Aug. 14, 2016.

That was the day that Colin Kaepernick decided not to stick to sports and took a seat for the first time during “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a silent protest of inequality and police brutality against African-Americans. It took two games for the media to notice that Kaep wasn’t standing, at which point he explained:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Several days later, former NFL player and Green Beret (read: total badass) Nate Boyer penned an emotional open letter to Kaep that touched on, among other things, racism, patriotism, and the curiously forgotten third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then a funny thing happened: Kaep and Boyer spoke and *GASP* compromised. Instead of sitting, Kaepernick and others would kneel as a show of respect to the troops. Groovy, right? Better yet, pretty simple, yes?

Lol, no. As President Bone Spurs still tells it when he needs to alter the cable news cycle, Kaep and others kneel because they hate ‘merica and are disrespeckin’ the troops. A shockingly insane amount of people believes this. In fact, some people claim that if you look in a mirror and say “It’s about equality” three times, Big and Rich will crash through the wall and sing a terrible bro country song about how Nikes are for cucks. 

Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.

— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018

Many of us have lost our voices and minds trying to talk sense into outraged conservatives, but logic and discourse are as useful as Mark Davis’ barber. Our idiot relatives and ignorant Facebook acquaintances don’t care why Kaep and Eric Reid have sacrificed their careers, nor do they give a crap about Nate Boyer’s involvement. There’s really only one thing sane and logical people can do at this point: fight stupidity with stupidity.

We have to take the low road now. Reduce ourselves to their level. Take truth and empathy out of the equation and win the battle by fighting dumb and dirty. Here are some ways you can do this should you find yourself face to mouth-breathing face with someone who refuses to give up the ridiculous battle over the idea that NFL players are disrespecting the anthem, the troops, or any other symbol of...

Stick your fingers in your ears and repeatedly sing, “Stick to sports! La la la! Stick to sports! I can’t hear you! Stick to sports!” The louder you get, the more spectacularly annoying you’ll be. And if you’re really good at it, you’ll probably land a gig with Fox News or The Gateway Pundit.

Pretend to be an anthem historian. Hell, proclaim yourself to be one of the few people on the planet who know everything about it. Ask your opponent absurd questions like, “After the completion of the lyrics, which historic figure contributed a guest verse for surprise appearances at live performances?” and “Was the anthem originally written for a male or female voice?” Shout “WRONG!” to whatever stupid answer is given.

Claim that the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was Francis Scott Dee. If corrected, insist repeatedly that you are right. When your opponent finally says, “It is Francis Scott Key, not Francis Scott Dee,” reply by shouting, “Francis Scott Deez Nuts!” Then pull a sheet of paper from your pocket, unfold it to reveal the word “OWNED,” and hand it to him.

Dolphins Fans Stand Up 2016 Getty
Image via Getty/Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS

Ask, “If you love the troops so much, why don’t you give all your money to them?” Then ask him why he hates the troops and won’t give them all his money. Say something like, “If you really cared about the troops, you’d switch places with them and let them have your house.” Then present your friend as an attorney who is willing to transfer the deed to your opponent’s home.

Sing the national anthem to his face. Loudly. If he doesn’t stand completely still with his hand over his heart, call him on his hypocrisy. Then call his employer and demand he be fired for disrespecting the troops.

Print out the photo of Jerry Jones wearing his hat during the anthem. This one is especially important if you’re dealing with a proud boy Cowboys fan. Give him the photo and tell him to keep it forever so he will always know what a hypocrite looks like.

Go to the concession stands during the national anthem. Wear a badge and issue everyone in line a “Patriot’s Citation” with a financial penalty of a 25 percent tariff on their loaded nachos.

If someone invokes U.S. flag code, cut him off by reciting it to the tune of any Kid Rock song. “Bawitdaba” matches up very well, but don’t pick any songs that feature Uncle Kracker on vocals, because then no one wins.

Blow a dog whistle and ask if he can hear it. When he says no, tell him to lean closer and then blast him with an air horn. When he recovers, say, “Oh, man, only super-duper racists are supposed to hear that.”

Print out the photo of Jerry Jones wearing his hat during the anthem. This one is especially important if you’re dealing with a proud-boy Cowboys fan. Give him the photo and tell him to keep it forever so he will always know what a hypocrite looks like. When he throws it out, fill his car with thousands of photocopies of the photo. Then sneak into his home and wallpaper every room with the photos.

I am always proud to remove my hat and stand tall during our national anthem - unlike hypocrite Jerry Jones, who kept his hat on (despite being reminded), giggled and talked through the “Star Spangled Banner.”

— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) July 31, 2018

Order large posters of the Jerry Jones photo, too. Hand them out to fans of whichever team the Cowboys are playing each week so they can hold them up during games and remind everyone that Jerry Jones is a fraud. Have T-shirts made and sell them on Etsy. 

Print a photo of Tomi Lahren’s face and cut a hole for her mouth. (Settle down, this is PG.) Hold it over your face and record yourself talking about how the protests now make perfect sense. Add that Hollywood’s liberal elites are your new heroes and you’re also sorry for ever saying anything about Barack Obama. “In conclusion,” you’ll say, “anyone who has ever agreed with any of my misguided, trivial rants should be ashamed.” Play the video for anyone who mentions Fox News in relation to Kaepernick. 

Try one more time to explain to your foe that this is all nothing but a straw man. Its purpose is to distract people from the real problems facing the country, including the very things the players are fighting for. It won’t work, and he probably thinks a straw man is that Obama thing his cousins set on fire last Halloween, but at least you tried one last time to take the high road. 

Instead, tell him it’s a Wicker Man and explain the entire plot of the film—the Nic Cage version, obviously—and get extremely detailed when it comes to Cage’s performance. Scream “BEES!” to your heart’s content.

When all else fails, ask the easiest trap question. If you’re squared off with an alpha male NFL boycotter, just look him right in the eyes and ask, “How’s your fantasy team doing?” He’ll talk about his team for at least an hour. And remember to compliment his eighth-round steal of Julian Edelman. Just a hunch that’ll be his favorite pick.