Just about anybody who is anybody, i.e., people who don’t shop at Wal-Mart or belong to the NRA, agrees with UC Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen. President Donald Trump exhibits “ a broader pattern of behavior that enables sexism and racism, and disregards the welfare of all Americans, the global community and the planet.”
Another expert, Prof. Kevin Boyle of Northwestern, whose teaching focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights, reminds us that white supremacy has “always lurked in America’s shadow” until Trump brought it into the political mainstream and “emboldened” white supremacists’ hate. These are more staid formulations of comparable insights articulated creatively by Maxine Waters, Stephen Colbert, members and friends of the International Piers Plowman Society, various wealthy movie and TV stars, linebackers, point guards, and other moral leaders.
The self-indulgent rich and the aggrieved professoriate and social organizatoriate are pretty much insulated from tangible blowback. But lately others, those who pay the stars’ bills and get them out of trouble, are joining the Coalition of the Intemperate and the Outraged. In fact, they are moving right out front, despite the fact that doing so could cost them some serious money. Sports franchise owners and league officials are joining with cable news, major movie studio heads, and other media magnates in underwriting their employees’ becoming common scolds, foisting their ignorance and prejudice on customers who increasingly resent paying for tickets or media content that neither entertains nor informs.
As one who was convinced that after the presidential election loony left cable news and Internet sites would moderate in deference to the audience and the bottom line, the sight of those NFL owners and other big shots kneeling on arthritic knees or locking arms in solidarity with their employees really came as a shock. All of these guys know this is not good for their businesses, so professional sport’s succumbing to what seems to be a growing epidemic of madness is puzzling and needs explanation. Here it is.
Tuition-free state college for all, single-payer healthcare, carbon taxes, and student loan forgiveness, like relentless opposition to across the board tax cuts, border controls, rationalizing immigration, letting parents choose the schools that work for their kids and rescuing big cities from decades of misguided policy all are proof that the Democrats have no credible ideas. Policy bankruptcy required another reason to vote Democrat, and as a result, we have seen racism, sexism, LGBT and Islamophobia, police repression, etc., emerge as the putative “issues” separating President Trump and his followers from The Resistance. While we may disdain it, thus far this political cynicism has been nothing out of the ordinary, and it did not cost anybody very much – beyond making lies the medium of politics and dividing Americans one from another, that is.
Lately, though, insinuating The Resistance into virtually every aspect of American life has become politically imperative for the left. Trump has not quit; he has not lost his support base, and despite being denied by Senate sluggishness the personnel he needs to staff his administration as well as key legislative victories, he is firmly in charge and rising to a variety of challenges. As such, Trump’s presidency threatens to deliver successes, and with every success, every demonstration of competent efficiency, he undercuts The Resistance’s foundation: the carefully crafted and assiduously nurtured illusion of the inevitability of leftist cultural and social change. The Resistance depends upon the illusion of its inevitable triumph to counteract its sorry history of bad ideas and electoral and policy failure. The more the left fails to deliver anything of value, the more essential it becomes to create the illusion that every element of American life has signed on to the struggle. In the case of NFL players, no shadowy Soros agents in the locker rooms or the skyboxes are needed. The stridently-political new ESPN and mindless babbling of social media, along with a few willing attention-seekers, are enough for a sizable proportion of players to convince themselves that insulting the fans’ sensibilities is brave and meaningful. The players’ collaboration then swells a chorus rich with notes of race and exploitation, tailor-made for magnification by willing media.
The sorry NFL spectacle joins Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charlottesville. Players’ “taking a knee” are just the latest in a string of stunts the left uses to breathe life into what is, in fact, a corpse. If Donald Trump responds to the phenomenon by encouraging Americans’ natural revulsion, it is a sensible and necessary political counterstroke.