By Norm Scott
In this country race really matters – all the time. But then again we were born under the star of slavery, the consequences of which will never disappear.
Some people drape themselves in the flag. Some in the Declaration of Independence. Some in the Constitution. I am not a big flag guy though I have a few in my garden – my block has lots of flags and I want to fit in. I love the Declaration – “when in the course of human events” – and “all men are created equal” – unless you are black – or even one tenth black. Yes, race matters.
Along with people I have political differences with, I also love the Constitution – see we can agree on some things. I would love to drape myself in the Constitution – maybe even make a double breasted suit out of it. But there’s that little slavery thing – something about slaves being counted as 3/5 of a person for voting purposes by their masters. I can protest the 3/5 rule and maybe make my suit out of 2/5 of the Constitution. Patriots may cheer when I wear it, even if some parts of me will be left exposed.
Well, no biggie. Slavery was the thing in those times. If you didn’t own some slaves you just weren’t in. For some people lamenting the past, it may still be something they yearn for. Imagine the freedom to be able to whip people for not standing up during the anthem?
We are hearing a lot about free speech from all sides. But this is not new. Remember how hated Muhammad Ali was when he refused to go into the army because he didn’t want to go killing people of color in Vietnam when people of color had been so badly treated over the centuries in this country? If you haven’t seen the Ken Burns series on Vietnam it is a must see with so many similarities to the divisions of today. (I wonder how many protestors from the 60s are today screaming about the black athletes protesting?)
Some on the right are complaining that the left is trying to silence their voices through campus protests – A pushback against political correctness that forces people to temper their real thoughts played a role in the Trump victory . The libertarian in me is finding it hard to support people who want to suppress any free speech. Maybe an exception for Nazis.
The left has historically been a target of suppression – for well over a hundred years. Like if you said you were a communist you could go to jail. Is swearing allegiance to the United States of Capitalism a requirement? The accusations against Communism is that there is a lack of freedom and democracy and a one party system in Communist countries. There is no little irony that many of the same people who make these accusations are going nuts over athletes taking advantage of our “democratic” system and free speech, which supposedly gives them the right to kneel during the national anthem.
The right to organize labor unions has also been under attack, especially in states like Wisconsin. It began in the earliest years of the movement when police and the army were used to support the bosses from the late 19th century through the depression. One of the great things about FDR’s New Deal was the attempt to redress the balance by having the federal government support workers –good luck waiting for the states ¬¬– most of them are even easier to corrupt, believe it or not, than the feds, though the gap is closing – in the wrong direction. A word of warning to those who love the Republican health care law leaving things to the states.
What is ironic is that Democrats, ostensibly the party of labor, on the whole, has not done very much since FDR to help labor – remember how Harry Truman went after unions in steel, mines and railroads and the Taft-Harley Act (1947) which put controls over unions which were seen as growing too powerful. And Reagan’s destruction of the air traffic controllers union opened a Pandora’s box of attacks on unions to the point that their extinction is being predicted even before global warming puts us all under water.
We can only marvel at how a demonstration by one lone player – Colin Kaepernick – which has caused a lot of commentary – exploded after Trump’s comments into a full-fledged revolt by so many athletes in certain sports. (OK, not hockey – guess why?). Over 70% of pro-football athletes are black. And over 75% of the NBA are black and over 80%, people of color. And most of the white NBA players are from abroad. Interestingly, in baseball only 7% of the major league players are black, 27% Latino and over 60% white. That is why you will not see major protests in baseball but football and basketball will have protests exploding. Yet, even on the Yankees, baby bombers are Latino Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, certainly part black (like Derrick Jeter). Judge was adopted by white parents (like Kaepernick was) when he was a day old. Jeter, Obama (and probably Judge) are half white. In this country that makes them black. Race matters in this country.
Trump called for fans to boycott football over the protests but not over the number of head injuries or the woman beaters allowed to play while Kaepernick is seemingly banned over his protest. Funny how both the left and right have been calling for people to boycott the NFL. (The left often meets the right at certain points). The best American female tennis players are black and the best American golfer in a generation was also black.
Trump needs to spend more time addressing the issue of the disappearing white American athlete so we can make sports great again.
Norm is trying to make his blog great again at ednotesonline.org. Also read his Memo from the RTC columns in The WAVE.