The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Taking a Knee

In our country, everyone has the right (some would say, the obligation) to protest what they perceive as inequity or hypocrisy or wrong-doing-or blatant racism or a long laundry list of un-PC behavior or speech. Social justice warriors (SJWs) do this regularly and that is their right. With the election of Donald trump, everyone who opposed him has transitioned into a place that makes them (in their own minds) a SJW. For example, a growing number of NFL players have become SJWs with public protests at their place of work—NFL stadiums and the football games conducted within them. That is their right and no one should consider taking it from them.

Donald Trump has decided, as he often does, to enter the fray with tweets that are critical of those same NFL players. Although I think it's stupid to do this, that is Trump's right as an citizen—sort of a tweet-born counter protest.

The NFL players actions are highly controversial. Roger Simon summarizes the feeling of what I suspect are the majority of NFL fans (the customers who buy the NFL's business product):
...what the hell are black athletes who make upwards of ten million a year, far more than 99.999% of their fans of any color or shape, doing whining so ungratefully about opportunity for African-Americans in America? Where else could they have made fortunes anywhere near that size merely for playing a game? ... Whatever the case, Trump let them have it for their obvious hypocrisy and phony posturing that does nothing to help African-Americans or anybody else.

Morally narcissistic progressives (aka rich reactionaries) and their media flack/hacks are offended that Trump could call out these athletes for this pompous kneeling-during-the-national-anthemn virtue signaling, but I'd be amazed if the average citizen -- black, white, yellow or brown -- isn't quietly nodding his head in agreement. The NFL is already suffering for this behavior at the box office. The NBA is probably not far behind.
Like everything that becomes a cause celebre on the Left, this is all about symbolism. So since that's the case, maybe those of us who would prefer that players don't inject politics into their product would be better served by re-interpreting the symbolism involved in "taking a knee" during the national anthem.

In the mega hit HBO series, Game of Thrones, a core story line this past year was a demand by Daenerys Targaryen that story protagonist, John Snow, take a knee to evince his subservience and loyalty to the beautiful queen. John refused until he recognized that Daenerys was good and just leader with the best interests of the people at heart. He then took a knee.

Could it be that we might re-interpret the actions of some NFL players to represent their belief that the United States is overall a good and just country with the best interests of all of its people at heart, and that the symbolic gesture of taking a knee is actually John Snow-like? It represents their loyalty to a country that has provided them with unparalleled opportunity.

Why not?

UPDATE (9/25/2017):

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment on the politicization of everything:
Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance.
This morning, the trained hamsters in the main stream media are making this debacle Trump's fault. Surely, his typical ham-handed treatment of this (and many other) issue(s), exacerbated the situation, but it's the players, not Trump, who created this travesty. As I mentioned in the body of the post, the players do have every right to protest and Trump is wrong when he suggests they should be fired for doing so. But it would seem that the players would be far better served to write an op-ed, appear on a sports talk-show, get interviewed by a local TV station, or otherwise comment outside the playing field and without disrespecting the country that rewarded them so handsomely. By exhibiting an overt symbol of disrespect (in their view—note my somewhat facetious comments in the body of the post) they do themselves, their business, and their cause absolutely no good.