As one who has complained from time to time about the role the Department of Defense has played in helping mold the minds of Americans into a shape more malleable to those with deep pockets in this country, I was delighted to read “Point After” in this week’s Sports Illustrated (Nov. 16, 2015) that helps me to make my case. I agree that the point of the SI article was not to take the DOD to task. Rather, it was to take the NFL and other sports groups to task for “paid patriotism” at professional sports games. The teams apparently collect millions of dollars every year.
The article mentions that the DOD paid $879,000 last year to the Atlanta Falcons to put on displays of patriotism before and during games. They also paid the New England Patriots $700,000 according to the article. We can assume other teams received similar amounts of money for the same reason. It goes without saying that this is our tax money, the money the Republicans desperately want to keep flowing in the direction of keeping our nation strong, defending us against ….. what? Disloyal football fans?
We all know about the obscene waste of taxpayer money when it comes to the Department of “Defense.” For example, when I was coaching tennis we shelled out a precious $30,000 for two “Omni” tennis courts as an experiment. If we liked them it was said that we would get four more. This was exciting, since we were playing on six weathered lay-kold tennis courts that saw their better days in 1968, though I never really believed we would ever see four more Omni-courts at that price. In any event, the men who were laying the courts told me they were headed to the Offutt Air Force base just outside of Omaha where they were going to put down 15 of those courts for the officers at the base. That’s nearly a quarter of a million of our tax dollars so the military brass could whack a tennis ball back and forth — when they weren’t playing golf on their own 18 hole golf course. But I digress.
As I say, we all know about such cases of waste of tax monies at a time when Congress cannot find a way to balance the national budget and the Republicans will simply not allow anyone to touch a penny of the “Defense” spending. But let’s reflect on the waste of this money on fly overs and other examples of “paid patriotism” at professional sports games. What are the implications? For one thing, it leads to jingoism, which is often confused with patriotism. The difference is a love of country that leads to such nonsense as “my country, right or wrong.” True patriotism requires a citizenry at least enlightened enough to question what the government is doing and suggest from time to time that what they are doing, (if they are doing anything at all) is simply wrong. But the “paid patriotism” displays are a form of brain-washing that leads people to leave the game convinced that we have the most powerful and greatest country on earth when, in fact, there is much that needs to be improved both at home and in the way we conduct ourselves on the international stage. We have a penchant in this country for telling the rest of the world how to live when our own house is filled with dirt and broken glass.
So there is much to regret when finding out how our government spends our tax dollars. But it is really not that surprising, given the trend I have pointed out numerous times to dumb down this nation and people it with obedient citizens who will do what they are told and agree that what their government does is always the right thing.
The obscene defense budget is beyond reasonable, and is supported by the Republicans misguided attempts to prove how patriotic they are by dumping more money into the military coffers, often for programs that the military doesnt even want. See the A-10 and the Abrams tanks, for example, or in programs that any normal thinking individual would say its time to pull the plug, as in the hugely wasteful F-35 program. But no, we can accuse the repubs of lots of things, but rational thinking isn’t one of them.
And as a PS: Be ready for demands for extra funds based upon the development in Paris, today.
More than enough is never enough. Thanks, Barney. Good examples.
The attacks in Paris will certainly feed the fear frenzy the conservatives in this country employ to get their way. It should give their presidential candidates a boost in addition to assuring that the Congress will want to increase the “defense” budget — as you suggest. What’s the world coming to???
Hugh, when I first saw this story, my reaction was “paid patriotism.” We as a football team and league will put on “airs” if you pay us. What is next, $20,000 for the national anthem? I wonder if someone pays the NFL for wearing pink in October? I recognize there are bigger stories out there, but this made me ill. Thanks, Keith
Me too. The NFL is being incredibly greedy (and unpatriotic) and the DOD is playing fast and loose with our money. All in the name of God and Country. Sickening indeed.
On a different subject, there is a movie coming out about the attorney who pushed hard on the concussion issue, which they tried to cover up until they could not. It is not unlike any other corporation, such as in the fossil fuel industry, where they spend a lot of money to hide their secrets.
I taught business ethics for years and did considerable research. I rarely found a company that tried to do the right thing (Maldin Mills was one) and if they were publicly owned I found none. It really is about the bottom line: ethics is something for Sunday.
I just checked. Malden Mills went bankrupt in 2007. Sad. It was a good privately-owned company that tried to do the right thing by its employees after the factory burned down.
P.P.S. The possible exception to my claim is the Merck Company that developed Mectizan and distributed it for free to folks in Africa and Latin America to treat river blindness. The scientist who worked for Merck and developed the drug was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. That would appear to have been (and continues to be) a truly selfless act on the part of a company — though they have garnered considerable publicity from the move which translates into higher profits for the company (if one wants to find a piece of dirt somewhere).
“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” Samuel Jonson