Monday, September 25, 2017

Kneeling is the new middle finger?

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being disrespectful in public.

Rich Lowry said on "Meet the Press" yesterday that, if the protests of NFL players and other athletes can be defined as disrespect for the flag, Trump wins.*  I used that argument as an example to my freshman English class of how defining the argument in a problem/solution argument, defines the solution.  One student, inspired to surf the web during my class (eh, whatever) read a news article on the controversy and raised a very salient point with me after class:

What's wrong with kneeling?  What is a more respectful, more demure, less confrontational method of protest than to kneel?  No player, so far, has turned their back on the flag or the singer of the anthem.  Indeed, three teams on Sunday stayed in the locker room until the anthem had finished, before taking the field; arguably a far more disrespectful act than simply bending the knee.

So what the hell are we talking about?  This swamped the news on Sunday, forced Administration personnel to respond to it on TV news, and meanwhile Puerto Rico has been set back 20-30 years by Hurricane Maria according to its own government officials, and may not see electrical power restored for up to a year.

Yet the President is obsessed with his alpha-male status and must defend his idiotic remarks at all cost, and drags the rest of us along with him.  We allow children temper tantrums because they are young and are still developing their abilities to function in society as human beings.  We have yet to come to grips with the fact our POTUS is the Toddler-in-Chief.  Temper tantrums, after all, are about getting attention for the toddler.  As Slate put it:

Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests were never explicitly about Donald Trump, but, thanks to the president’s comments at an Alabama rally on Friday night (as well as an ensuing series of tweets), Trump has made sure that he will be the focus of any and all protests this NFL Sunday.

And Trump is determined to make sure it stays there:

NASCAR threatened to fire any driver who kneels during the national anthem (because kneeling is bad?).  Of course, we'll just see how far that extends:

What is wrong with us?  What has our Constitutional system of government wrought?

*and if you think Trump supporters aren't desperately trying to do just that:

“Clearly, what the president did was, and I read this on an op-ed page, President Trump has taken the side of the flag and anthem and provoked millionaire athletes to oppose the symbols of patriotism, like the National Anthem,” Doocey said. “He made it very clear out at the airport, spoke to the White House poolers, said this is not about race, this is about patriotism.”

As Toure points out, the other new issue is the wealth of the players ("millionaire athletes").  No, I don't think either effort is working.  Except that we're still talking about this nonsense as if the fate of the nation depended on it, or even as if giving Trump the middle finger mattered more than Puerto Rico or Florida or Texas or the other national problems that plaque us.

So disrespectful....

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