The Hit Dog Always Hollers

By DUSTIN WHITLOCK,

When the President ripped open a culture war a few weeks ago, I decided I was not going to write about it because the whole intent of Donald Trump was to create division. The week after, I wrote a draft, and I trashed it because I still felt it was too divisive. And now I am writing about it again because the subject just will not go away (Vice President Pence walked out on a NFL game over the weekend because some players kneeled during the national anthem).
Trump speaks and tweets at a 3rd grade reading level (with a never-ending list of empty, abstract adjectives like big, great, bad, and tremendous (which all mean absolutely nothing), but he is as clever as a housecat at identifying what will create the biggest distraction.
He barbed the NFL owners, telling them how to run their business; and then he equated NFL players with property — IE, slaves. The subtext of the speech from Trump that set this firestorm off and any talk about how much players earn is that these players are owned. Trump portrayed them as under the ownership of the brand owners and went further in associating them as property of America itself. Whether he had commanded them to stand or kneel or dance for him, he was giving an order, as one would a slave.
Trump knew what reaction he would get from the players and owners. Trump knew what the reaction would be from the fans. It went off better than his wildest dreams. He deserves a big, beautiful… the most beautiful sash, and a crown, with flashing fiber optic lights like one of those trashy dorm room Christmas trees. And cake — the most beautiful chocolate cake you have ever seen.
Put yourself back together, America. You’re smarter than this. The kneeling by NFL players was originally intended to be about criminal justice reform, but now it has become something larger about racism and freedom of expression (including team owners that joined in defying the order). The kneeling was never meant as a protest against the military. That’s fake news — Russian active-measures.
If you are upset by the kneeling, you are choosing to be upset about it. You are making the choice to believe the symbolism is something it is not.
Kneeling is a show of penitence. Penitence means sorrow and regret.
As an individual, you are America. These football players are aware that they are America — they are aware as we all should be that we are responsible for the path of this nation.
Kneeling cannot both be a show of repentance while simultaneously, for black Americans, be a sign of iniquity. Americans are being told that kneeling means something it does not. And in the context of the President waging a war on the NFL (showing he is more concerned about television than governing), the kneeling has taken on a new meaning as a striking back at Trump where he hurts most — his pride. Nothing hurts an authoritarian like telling them, “No.” The hit dog always hollers.
As one friend pointed out on social media at the start of this play-action-pass by the President; there are so many important issues at the federal level that need the attention of the American people — the looming bankruptcy of Social Security, deflation of the value of the dollar, lack of liquidity of money, a super-massive income gap, American imperialism, Russian infiltration, and our failing and dated infrastructure.
Football is not on the list of our shortcomings.

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