18 August 2018

My response to a Trumper

Probably with excess of zeal, I posted this in response to an old friend, now a Trumper (a former legal secretary), who posted one of those hyper-nationalistic anti-NFL "take an knee" videos on FB.

... you and I have been friends for a long time, but it's apparent we have drifted into different "camps" in this regrettably most divisive time in our nation's history. (At least since the Civil War). I read this (sound off, couldn't take the sappy music, sorry), and I would like to respond to it an a civil and respectful manner.

First, the question of whether someone endorses the viewpoint of the players who choose to demonstrate their opposition to systemic racism by "taking a knee" or not is completely beside the point. I happen to respect their viewpoint, as I believe systemic racism is a far, far more serious detriment to our nation's well-being than perceived disrespect for a SYMBOL, namely the flag. The Article III courts in our country, which are charged with protecting the Constitution, long since have ruled that the 1st Amendment protects the right of everyone to express political views through symbolic actions such as this. Whether they have a "right" to do it as employees of the NFL is a different issue. I happen to favor a high degree of toleration in society for expression of diverse views, in various manners, as we live in a corporatized society where the threat that our liberty will be constrained because "the boss doesn't like it" is a real threat. But, in any case, the fact is that the NFL HAS ordered the players not to do this going forward, so the issue is really rather stale anyway. I suppose if they insist on doing it, it will be like Civil Disobedience, except in the private sphere; and one of the basic tenets of civil disobedience is that you are willing to accept the consequences of your actions. Sit down at a lunch counter, and you may go to jail. And you GO. That's how it works.

The fact that football players have the luxury of using their game as a platform for political speech (whatever the consequences) is one of the things that makes our country WORTH fighting for... we have freedom of expression. Countries and societies who have been America's enemies... including our president's best buddy's country, Russia, do not. OF COURSE, if you don't like their point or their behavior, it's YOUR RIGHT to boycott them, and their employers. (I hate football anyway, but that's not the point either). And it's your right to post this, but what I want to appeal to you is to say, that this is not reasonable. It more than implies that people who have a different view are not patriotic. And, frankly, that is insulting. I love my country. I support its Constitution, its guarantees of freedom, its system, however flawed, of ensuring that the governed are asked for their consent. And I don't appreciate being preached at by people who say, or imply, that because I have a different view from them on exactly what our country needs to do better, and what is an appropriate form of expression of dissent, I am somehow less patriotic than they. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve our country, even when we have opposed the wars that they had to fight in. But it is the touchstone of a democratic form of government, that service to it is precisely to preserve it, to preserve the rights of those who stay home and serve their society honorably in other ways. We are not in an existential conflict, where it is everyone's duty to fight. You notice that among the leaders of the present government (unlike, for example, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, John Kerry), almost none of them have ever done military service, so the suggestion that you aren't really a patriot if you haven't fought in a war is actually rather repellent to the core ideals of America.

And my last point (I'm sorry, I know I go on) is this. This issue is TRIVIAL. We have a president who stands with a murderous thug in Helsinki and says the suggestion that he should turn over a US Ambassador to be interrogated by the modern successor to the KGB is a great idea. Who, alone among presidents in our entire history, stands there and says the trial of a man credibly accused of tax fraud, bank fraud, and receiving MILLIONS of dollars in illegally concealed income from foreign bank accounts; money he undeniably received by supporting the dirty political tricks of a pro-Putin would be dictator in Ukraine..is a "disgrace," and that this accused criminal "happens to be a good man." (Any employee of the justice department who commented thus on a case before a jury would be fired immediately, and even Nixon, who inadvertently referred to Manson as "guilty" before he was convicted, apologized profusely for having done so and claimed to have misspoken).

A president who, from day one, has used his office to PROFIT from the taxpayers, by staying in his own hotels at the costs of millions to the taxpayers, and effectively pressuring those who would do business with our country to do likewise. All in violation of the Constitution. Yet his party does nothing about that, and he has the gall to call a Republican serving as a special counsel who has served his country honorably throughout his entire career, including as a commander in Vietnam (while the president got deferments for bone spurs) "heavily conflicted," because (!) there are some Democrats on his staff (Justice Dept. regulations forbid even ASKING what an employees political affiliations are) and because Mueller once had a minor billing dispute with a Trump resort (which the Ethics Bureau already ruled was not a violation). I could go on and on. But my point is that becoming incensed at some people because you don't like the OPTICS of their form of Constitutionally-guaranteed protest, when our president is making mincemeat of the rule of law and violating not only norms but actual legal strictures designed to limit the power of the executive, while the Congress of his party is supine and doing nothing whatsoever to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, as is their mandate, seems to me to be complaining about a crooked cabinet door when a hurricane is raging and about to take the roof off.

OK, enough. I know we don't agree. But I hope you will at least realize that people like me, who loathe and detest Donald Trump for the horrible, divisive damage he is doing to our country, are also patriots.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gyromantic Informicon. Comments are not moderated. If you encounter a problem, please go to home page and follow directions to send me an e-mail.