Both Feet!

I have posted before about the protest that is going on in the NFL (especially) by a number of players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. It is a hot topic, indeed a large pond of hot mud, since there is a great deal of pointing of fingers and angry cries of “foul” but very little seems to be happening. The problem is the focus of attention is directed to the protests themselves and not to the problems that have brought on the protests — namely, the civil unrest, especially in large cities and most especially in poor neighborhoods where there have been numerous clashes between police officers and citizens who see the police presence as a threat.

This issue, as I say, is very muddy indeed and a number of the players — not only in football but in other professional sports as well — are actually working with those in the ghettos to help resolve the tensions that exist there between the citizens and the police who patrol the streets. What is needed is dialogue, of course, between the two sides so that an understanding can be reached between two groups of folks who simply see the world differently.

But of recent note is the insistence of our Fearless Leader to jump into the mud feet-first, throwing mud in every direction and generally making a mess of things. He sees things in black and white terms, as so many of us do. And he insists that the NFL Commissioner simply demand that the players stand or fire them. I kid you not! Simple solutions to complex problems: that’s in the man’s DNA. It’s the sort of thing that will appeal to a great many Americans who are offended by the protests and refuse to see beyond them to the real problems the athletes seek to draw attention to. But it is not going to help matters one bit.

This country was founded on protest. Those who ignore that are really not in a position to call the protests “un-American,” or “un-patriotic.” They are the very heart and soul of America. But the protests themselves should not be the focus of attention, as I have noted. We need to ask ourselves why certain individuals, many of them after deep soul-searching and at the risk of hatred and derision at the hands of those in the stands, would choose to disrespect the flag of their country. Is it possible that there is something amiss? Something that should be addressed? To be sure, there is.

We do love simple solutions and we find those who suggest simple solutions to complex problems reassuring. I give you Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh. It helps us avoid the exhausting effort of trying to figure things out for ourselves. Donald Trump is not the first to suggest a simple solution to a complex problem and he will most certainly not be the last. But the issue is there and it will not go away until people start to talk seriously with one another, to make a concerted effort to understand the other’s point of view. And shouting “Fire the bums! is taking this in precisely the opposite direction. To mix metaphors a bit, it is throwing gasoline on the fire. Or, to stick with my original metaphor:  jumping in with both feet simply makes the mud pile deeper and more smelly.

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15 thoughts on “Both Feet!

  1. Well written. You have taken on a tough subject and did it with some good love and empathy. If there WERE simple solutions to solve these complicated issues we’d have utilized them already. Forcing a square peg into a round hole just screams dictatorship, no matter if the dictator means well. Also Im a huge football fan and will continue to be one regardless of who stands up for the national anthem or not. One person sitting does not in any way diminish my act of standing. Great post!!

    • Many thanks. Oversimplification is one of my pet peeves and our Fearless Leader seems to be the Champion of oversimplification — among other things. I shall also watch the NFL.

  2. Hugh, I added this comment to my recent post on hypocrisy in the NFL regarding Kaepernick. I hope you don’t mind me adding it here.

    It has been encouraging to see the players response to the latest denigrating and divisive comments by the White House incumbent. In Alabama Friday and again Saturday, Trump said NFL players should be yanked from the field and fired on the spot if they kneel during the national anthem. He also disinvited the basketball champions – the Golden State Warriors – from coming to the White House, after they said they were not coming.

    The NFL players will likely make a statement today. What is interesting the NFL is standing against Trump on this issue, which has two underlying themes. First, they want to support their players and citizens’ right to protest, which stands taller than any flag could. Second, this is a business, so they have made a calculated decision that going against Trump’s divisiveness is the better course than siding with him on this issue. Question – will any offer Kaepernick a job, now?

    Keith

      • Thanks Hugh. I added this and an additional comment to Jill’s post this morning. To me, the White House incumbent is showing disrespect to the flag by lying 69% of the time since he has been in office, per Politifacts. Right now, other world leaders do not trust or believe this man. That is frustrating and sad to me.

  3. Well spoken, Hugh, and you are right, of course. The subject of the protests may be getting lost in the controversy over the protests. And the social injustices and racism that ARE the subject of the protests MUST be addressed. But I applaud these NFL players who, in response to Trump’s ignorant comments on Friday, added their weight to the argument that we are guaranteed the right to peaceful protest. To see those such as these players and entertainers like Kimmel using their wide reach to get a message across is, I think, heartening. And now it is time to work on the complex problem that we are all trying to draw attention to. Great post, Hugh … and now can I have just one moment of childish, totally irresponsible pleasure …

    It may be juvenile of me, but I am still chuckling about LeBron James’ comment, when Trump said that an invitation to the White House is an honour, responded with “Going to the White House was an honour until you showed up”. Yes, I know … but I got a much-needed chuckle, so humour me … 😉

    • The coach of the New Orleans Saints NFL team put it in a nutshell when he said “we need more wisdom in that office.” The players, coaches and even the owners are of like mind: the president has put his foot in his mouth once again.

      • Yes, we certainly need more wisdom … and I would add more honesty … in that office. He’s been on about it again today … just doesn’t know when to shut up, does he? I wonder where his handler is … ???

  4. Dear Hugh Curtler,

    President Trump’s words of divisiveness have backfired on him. He has managed to bring peoples together on opposition to his words, where before there seemed to be ambivalence.

    Peoples are talking about the issues of police shootings of our Black brothers and sisters.This will not be solved anytime soon, but this is the second time the president is getting a lot of negative feedback for his racist words as he is bringing peoples together in opposition to his views.

    Maybe now Colin Kaepernick may even get hired.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Yes, it is a hopeful sign. He poked the bear. I dare say he had no idea this would happen. In fact, I dare say he never thinks about the consequences of his stupid tweets!

      • Hugh, Gronda, it is interesting Conservative news is focusing on what a genius Trump is for focusing on this populist issue. We live in two worlds – the news and the white-washed (pun intended) version of the news. Keith

      • The irony is that his comment has brought about a great push in the right direction: people are talking and there are important things being done to bring people together. It’s the “backlash” effect! Eventually he will take credit for it, of course, but his intent was to simply rid the teams of the dissenters.

  5. So my self-imposed isolation in a miniParadise comes with problems. A big one is lack of connection with the world, though the kind landlord gives me a news summary every so often. ‘Lisa, news just in – an 8.0 earthquake in Mexico…’ or, ‘That hurricane jumped to a Category 5.’ Since he’s from Switzerland, the NFL-national anthem news would not have been top interest. It’s taken me a while to piece together what’s happened, and why exactly they did or did not want to stand… so if I’m unsure, most likely many others outside of the USA might be baffled.. One needs ‘background’ info to grasp the story!

    I will be online for a few days as I pack things from the apt in Mindo and prepare to return to miniParadise… it’s good to catch up on what’s happened, yet that little oasis offers a calming respite from the troubles of our world.

    You and Keith and others keep up the vigilance!

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