While we awaited official word this weekend about the state of emergency in Puerto Rico, what we got instead from our President was distracting and hateful comments about the NFL and players brave enough to address injustice.
But some lingering words from Trump remain to be addressed.
- His complete disregard for players who are peacefully protesting unchecked police brutality
- Trump’s call for unquestioning fealty to the flag and national anthem is un-American, not the peaceful protest of the players. We are in a free country and no one can make us bow to the flag or the president.
- Suggesting that players should feel “privileged to be in the league” mistakes the fact that the League should feel privileged to have such talent on the field. The League is its players and they’ve earned their stripes.
- His reckless call for viewers to walk out or stop supporting the NFL until owners make the players stand for the anthem. That doesn’t support his supposed friends among NFL owners. And how does that grow our economy?
- Yes, his swearing which remains a disturbing pattern in this White House
- And most alarming, his desire to return to a more violent game by saying “it’s a different game” now that there are penalties for hard hitting, despite modern understanding of the danger of concussions
The problem with Trump’s comments, when viewed together, is that they reveal an utter disregard for people (and really he is targeting people of color). They imply that people should feel privileged for jobs they’ve actually earned (because as people of color you are lucky we let you in at all?), even dangerous jobs, and they must perform with a smile on their faces at all times. Sing for your supper! His comments conjured images of gladiators fighting to the death, or “honored” youth fighting in the Hunger Games. I could imagine him saying, “look how hard they hit, they like it!” And I could see him forcing these gladiators to salute him and the Roman Empire, or suffer the consequences! His joy in the pomp, and his pleasure in the pain, is so President Snow.
Meanwhile, I fear that real-life hunger games are underway on an island of 3.5 million people hit by Hurricane Maria. Power will be out for months, flooding persists, and water, medicine, and other critical resources are scarce in Puerto Rico right now. These are fellow Americans. Shall we send them flags or sing the anthem to them? Or shall we actually show them what it means to be American by helping them? If you know how best to help, please comment below.
Trump’s rants stir the pot of racial discord, like Hurricanes stir winds of destruction. And just like a hurricane, Trump’s damage starts with a lot of hot air, rapidly rising in our collective consciousness to create friction. What results is a vacuum, swelled by the vacuum in moral leadership in our country. The resulting swirl leaves broad scale damage, unintended consequences, and needless despair.
We may not be able to control for Hurricanes (though we can each take steps to slow global warming from human activity that is feeding them), but we can control for who is elected to lead our great nation. Whether it is Congressional and legislative elections, gubernatorial elections, or the presidency, let’s do our best this time to steer clear of President Snow, Hurricane Trump, and any other man-made disasters.