We’re a Weird Country

September 27, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Trump

Americans are weird. No, really; Americans are weird. We play the national anthem, wave flags, and parade active duty military and veterans around before major sports events. EVERY major sports event. Even some little league parks play the national anthem before the little tykes run out on the field to play for 30 minutes.  And we love HUGE flags.  Not just any HUGE flag, cover the entire football field HUGE.  In fact, if you don’t get all weepy when you see that HUGE flag, you’re a reprobate and un-American.  It’s like, “BE PATRIOTIC!  IF YOU’RE NOT PATRIOTIC TO OUR SATISFACTION, WE’LL SLAP IT INTO YOU PATRIOTIC!!! DAMMIT!”

This is a strange custom that is unique to the US. No other country does this Kabuki play every time we gather to watch huge guys beat each other to a pulp.  When did it become tradition to play the Star Spangled Banner before sporting events?  Well, according to an article in Time, the first time the tune was played before a baseball game was during the Civil War in 1862 (before it was declared the national anthem), was played again before the opening game of the World Series in 1918 at the end of WWI, but didn’t really get ingrained in sports until after WWII when loudspeakers replaced live bands and they could play the tune any and every goddam where.

Up until 9/11, it was a tradition with really no controversy.  We’d get up, discreetly sip our beer and wait for the song to be over so we could drink more beer.  However, in 2003, when we invaded Iraq for no good reason,  the US government started using the national anthem before nationally televised games as a propaganda opportunity using veterans and active military as props to whip up all those patriot emotions and tears.  In 2009, the NFL started requiring players to be lined up on the field for the anthem.  The government even started paying the NFL for these displays.  In fact, between 2011 and 2014, the Department of Defense paid over $5 million dollars to the NFL for all the pregame red, white, and blue hoopla.

So, all this televised nationalism is really very recent and has been normalized by bribing the NFL and other major leagues to promote it every week.  It’s not surprising then, that when Colin Kaepernick starting sitting out the anthem as a protest against systematic racism in America, that all the jingoists would go nuts.  After being thoroughly hated on, he was then blackballed from the league even though has has one of the best records in the NFL; he also became the new punching bag for Fox Noise. The whole controversy just kind of rocked along until last week when Tweeto Jesus wandered into the mess looking for something to distract from the Mueller investigation.

Hilariously, the Orange One got more than he bargained for.  Suddenly, the Great Divider actually became the Great Uniter, at least this week, by galvanizing the protest movement.  The pressure on NFL owners is so great now that even THEY are taking a knee on the field, if only just before the anthem than during.  The whole thing is pretty entertaining.

But let’s look at the real issue here…There is a lot of hand wringing by my conservative friends on social media fretting over young athletes daring to disrespect the (flag, veterans, active duty, our country, our patriotism… Insert your descriptor here) _______.  The problem, though, is that they are not doing that.  Not at all. They are exercising their right of free speech – to protest what they see as injustice.

Let’s take other examples of protests:  When Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, was she protesting public transportation?  Of course not.  She was protesting institutionalized racism.  The young black men who sat at the Whites Only lunch counter.  Were they protesting lunch counters?  No, they too were protesting institutionalized racism.  There are many examples of civil disobedience for the greater good, and that is exactly what these young athletes are now doing.  They play a prominent role in our modern culture.  They can have an influence on our society, and they, led bravely by Colin Kaepernick over a year ago, are doing just that.  Good on them.

So, for all my conservative buds who are fretting over this whole thing or burning their cheap Made in China replica jerseys in their trashcans in the backyard, maybe they should just think a little bit about this protest.  Even today we live with the scar of the cancer that was slavery.  Even today, over 150 years after it was ended, we still live with the symptoms.  Even today, we still face institutionalized racism on a daily basis.

This is still a free country, and people can express themselves how they please.  That is what’s happening here and the movement has grown with the inadvertent assist from Tweeto Jesus.

We can be thankful for that, even if we are just a little weird.

Distractor in Chief

September 25, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Goat Rodeos, Healthcare

While the media was obsessing this weekend over Trump’s latest foul-mouthed tirade, his staff extended the Muslim travel ban and Republicans in the Senate wrote in more payoffs to hold out Senators to get them to vote for gutting the US healthcare system.  This has become a common occurrence since Cheeto Jesus infested the WH, and I don’t believe it’s a strategy put in place by him; I believe it’s a strategy developed by very evil and very smart people who are exploiting his proclivity for attention-getting bombast.

Trump’s childish tirades and embarrassing behavior are well known.  They’re also predictably unpredictable.  Almost every time he engages in outrageous behavior, his staff slips something out to the public – unwinding environmental protections, rounding up immigrants, issuing some other cringe-inducing executive order.

This weekend, Trump attacked NFL and NBA players for various fake affronts.  Steph Curry declined to come to the WH with his NBA team, so Trump rescinded the invitation in a Twitter based insult.  Later, in one of his silly campaign rallies, this time in Alabama in support of appropriately named Luther Strange, Trump started his war on NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem as a form of protest against violence against racial minorities by police.

During the ensuing firestorm, his staff issued a new travel ban, adding countries to the existing ban that has been blocked by the courts.  Also, under the cover of this circus, Senate Republicans added payoffs for Arizona, Kentucky, and Alaska to the latest effort to destroy healthcare for millions of Americans in an effort to get yes votes from John McCain, Rand Paul, and Lisa Murkowski.

Stayed outraged.  But pay attention.