As you know, the US has several troubles. Three US territories have been struck by devastating hurricanes; North Korea has atomic bombs and may be able to place them on top of intercontinental ballistic missiles; they may be able to hit the west coast, and, in time, it's likely that they'll be able to reach all parts of the US. A military option to end this threat is made extremely difficult because millions of South Koreans are held hostage to the artillery sitting within shooting range of them.
Our nation is led by a man whose administration is under investigation for various criminal activities; we have a Republican Congress that doesn't care that those criminal activities could include plotting with an enemy against the US's interests. We have an EPA bound and determined to ignore science and safety; we have a Department of Education headed by a woman who wants to turn public education into a cash cow for her wealthy buddies to milk, regardless of whether children get educated; we have a Department of Energy headed by a fellow who wanted to eliminate it, because he couldn't be arsed to learn what it did....
There are many, many challenges facing us, so, as you know, the Trump Administration is going to do something to Demonstrate Leadership. I'm referring, of course, to whining about players dropping to one knee during the playing of the national anthem.
You probably heard, VP Pence went to a football game, knowing full well that there would be players taking one knee during the playing of the anthem, so he could leave in a huff. (Channeling Groucho, I'll suggest he could have left in a minute and a huff. Except he actually left in taxpayer-funded transport.)
This is how the GOP Demonstrates Leadership. And of course, they have their peons penning paeans to such Leadership Demonstration: currently titled) Why taking the knee stomps on my foot
The author intro states "Michael R. Caputo is a Buffalo-based public affairs consultant, a talk radio host on WBEN-AM and CNN contributor. A longtime Republican campaign operative, he served as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign", so, let's be honest: the bar isn't just low, it's underground! But still: we can hope that maybe, just maybe, Caputo will show just a shred of honesty, just a speck, and try to point to a way that football players are harming him so much that it's like "stomping" on his foot.
HAH! Just kidding. No, we can't hope for that. Funniest part of the story is the beginning:This entire NFL National Anthem protest story has been provocative, but I like it when I'm made to think.
Then again, maybe it's not as funny as all that. Thinking is notably absent from this piece, but he didn't actually say this was a time he was made to think....
He goes on to claim pride in Pence's Demonstration of Leadership, and then goes on to make this statement:The NFL players taking the knee don't intend to offend combat veterans, the fallen and their families. But here's what my experience tells me: To many people, they are doing exactly that, whether they intend to or not.
This brings up the crux of the argument. First, there's the bogus statement that this "offends combat veterans". You know something? This protest started with people refusing to stand for the national anthem, and I could maybe be convinced that a person could feel offended by that. Just a tad. But then, the protest was changed. Instead of staying seated, people are getting up, and dropping to one knee - a clear show of respect.
So: they're making a respectful gesture, to make a point about something that really matters to them, and should matter to everyone. But, let's bear with Caputo to see where he goes.
Let's summarize the next bit: his dad taught him to love football, it was a big connection to his dad, and they watched a lot of football together.
Okay, I suppose since taking one knee before the game ruins the players' ability to play? No? Hm. Well, let's keep going.
This part's especially good:By then, the Bills were everything to me, and no matter where I wandered, I always came home and dropped in on the parking lot for games. When I lived in Washington and worked as a writer for Jack Kemp (yeah, that was supercool), I'd come home some weekends and pretend I was helping park cars. When I worked overseas, I made it home to some games.
But that's not my only connection to the anthem issue.
Um... may I please point out that you can't say "that's not my only connection" when you haven't mentioned a connection yet? I'm being nice here - I'll allow as how it might be hyperbole to say "the Bills were everything to me..." rather than insinuate a life must be awfully empty for a single sports team to be "everything." But loving football, and loving a football team, is not a connection to "the anthem issue". Not even if it's a connection to dear old dad (cue Augie Doggie).
He continues:In high school, I enlisted in the Army and served in the 25th Infantry Division. I never went to war, but I served alongside some real heroes and grew deeply loyal to the service of those who fought and died. To me, as you might guess, the United States flag and National Anthem represent solemn reverence to combat veterans, the fallen and their families.
This is really good. "If I say it, you must believe it!" See, no one else can tell us if Caputo thinks the anthem is stupid and boring, or represents "solemn reverence". So: no one can say that's not how he feels. Thing is, while I can't prove otherwise, I can still say that I think he's making up an emotional appeal because he thinks it'll sell. I don't believe he feels any "solemn reverence", but really, I don't care.
See, this really is supposed to be a free country. And that means he can think the anthem represents solemn reverence or he can think it's a good chance to sneak out back and let out some of the pre-game beer he's been sipping; his feelings don't dictate anything but his feelings.
Here's the money shot (and I know that term is used in pornography sometimes, and that is, in fact, precisely why I chose that term; this is the climax of the wanking!)So to me, even as a lifelong football fan, it seems pretty normal to find something offensive about players continuing to take the knee during the anthem, especially after so many people have made clear how uncomfortable it makes them feel. After all, if you walk up to me and stomp on my foot, I'll give you a pass if you say it was an accident. You don't even have to apologize. But the second time you do it, I know that you know that you hurt my foot when you stomped on it. Yet you've chosen to hurt my foot again and again, so that speaks volumes about you.
Since some people feel uncomfortable, taking one knee during the anthem is the same as a deliberate physical assault! This brings back memories of disparaging talk regarding the "reality based community." If people feel uncomfortable, then they feel uncomfortable. That's not assault. And protests can and should make people feel a bit uncomfortable. They should realize that these privileged athletes care about people who look like them getting killed by police, when other options existed. They should think about whether police officers are a bit too quick on the draw, a bit too quick to resort to lethal force, when they see a toy gun and a black male holding it - whether it's a 12 year old child, or a gentleman walking in the store, carrying one of the store's own toys!
But back to his wank. Here, we have the de-now-ment. (In literature, it's the "denouement" but this ain't literature!) I say all this while acknowledging that I can't possibly understand a black man's perspective on racial issues. So I try to be mindful of these matters and I respect the NFL players' right to protest. In fact, there are some current and former players whose opinions on civil rights have helped shape mine over the years. But by the same reasoning, the majority of the kneelers must also acknowledge they cannot understand the perspective on the flag and National Anthem of a combat veteran. Yet still, they kneel.
Remember, this guy is not a combat veteran but still speaks for them! And he says that they're a bunch of wimps who can't handle the emotional turmoil of a man taking one knee, to show respect for the flag, while simultaneously making a statement, one that should hold no offense to anyone who is interested in justice. Because, after all: it's not the gesture of respect that other people have chosen!
I'm sorry - no. And I really wouldn't care if he was a combat veteran; once again, he'll swear up and down that he feels a certain way, and, of course, we can't quite prove that he doesn't. Still, he can show a pile of bullshit, and swear he produced it, and while I'll believe in his bullshit production, I don't have to believe he's a bull.
He continues on in the same way, with a weak wrap up - never showing how a show of respect for the flag is offensive, and certainly without any demonstration that it's akin to a physical assault!
The thing is, it doesn't matter. The point is, see, he said that this is a bad thing, because, you know, The Flag! America! Combat Veterans! He doesn't have to make a meaningful, or even coherent point, and he can get linked on the front page of CNN.
It doesn't matter that taking one knee is a show of respect; it doesn't matter that these athletes are making a statement about something that's important, nor that we all know what that statement is, and how it's completely inoffensive to any soldier who has fought for our freedom. It's a battle in the culture war, one that can be milked to snag some headlines and try to help America forget that there's a complete incompetent in the White House, and how it's the fault of the Republican Party.
So: bash on football players who make an inoffensive statement; insist that it's bad, because, hey, "Flag! America! COMBAT VETERANS! You don't HATE our COMBAT VETERANS, do you?" What the hey - it Demonstrates Leadership, which is a good thing, I suppose. Neither Trump, nor Pence, nor Caputo, can lead a person anywhere good!