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Saturday, June 2, 2018

NFL controversy a cynical ploy

Creating new problems instead of solving old ones
Related imageThe world has enough problems. Real problems. Intractable problems. Problems that aren't political, that don't lend themselves to easy answers, that are far too often far too low on our collective level of awareness.

With all these problems, we don't need to be creating new ones.

The latest back and forth around NFL players and the National Anthem is just exhausting. What started as a quiet act of protest, an act of dissent in keeping with our Constitutional protections about the real problem in this nation of systemic racial injustice, was stoked by President Trump for his cynical political gain into a big deal meant to divide us as citizens.

Now you can disagree with the players and their protests. You can argue that this is a business and they are employees. Or you can believe that this act of civil disobedience should be heralded and encouraged.

I personally stand for the National Anthem and encourage others to do so. That is what's in my heart. And yet I recognize the right of these players to act in their conscience and I applaud their eagerness to try to bring attention to an important issue.

I do not believe they are disrespecting the flag or our armed forces. Rather they are showing the breadth and ideals of our Constitutional republic.

But the bigger issue is that in a world where we are not addressing real problems like climate change, or refugees, or income disparity, we must recognize what is really going on.

President Trump thrives on being on the attack, especially if his target is "others" - as in those who have not traditionally been part of the American power structure due to their gender, race, religion, or cultural identity.

He is a man who likes to create new problems rather than solving the ones that really need solving.
It is the calculus of someone who tallies wins and losses only in terms of how they pertain to his wealth, status and power, not to the nation he is tasked with leading, let alone the larger world.