Kneel, stand…fight fight fight

What if I told you that the country of Nambia just suffered hurricanes that devastated much of its southern reaches and that millions of people had lost their homes, are still without power, can’t find food to eat?

And what if I told you that the leader of Nambia, aware of all those extreme hardships, was taking on professional athletes in his country for their failure to stand for the national anthem, and he seemed to focus on that more over the weekend than the millions of his people who were suffering on top of facing the threat of a nuclear war with a country whose leader is similarly not mindful of what’s best for his people and isn’t even as mature as Nambia’s leader?

Well, my friends, if you think Nambia’s leader is clueless then we have trouble that starts with a capital T and that rhymes with Trump.

And, by the way, Nambia was made up in the mind of our President who created that country in a meeting of, who else, African leaders.

Do I prefer that folks stand for the national anthem? Yes, I do. Do I think they are breaking any laws if they don’t? No, I think they are exercising their freedom of speech. Do I think the owners of their teams should fire them? No, but I also think that’s up to the owners not the President of the United States (or by the way his press secretary who has called for the termination of an ESPN announcer who tweeted something not so nice about her boss.)

Mr. Trump, Ms. Sanders…we live in America which is governed by a Constitution not in Nambia which is governed by Covfefe.

For the President to have spent so many hours focused on athletes rather than the troubles facing his people, well, I guess he has nothing else to do. His approval rating increased mildly because of his handling of the hurricanes (this was before Puerto Rico). I guess that’s because people think his signing of disaster orders equals doing something because most of the real work has been done by federal, state and local first responders and folks from other states who volunteered to travel into devastation to help their fellow citizens, whatever their color. The stories of examples of this are endless and the media has yet to cover it fully but they have covered it or, guess what, I wouldn’t know about it.

Trump’s appointees, notably his Sycophant Secretary, I mean Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was on TV saying things like, “I think the president can use whatever language he wants to use (Trump called kneelers “sons of bitches,” very presidential). The issue is the topic, okay? I agree with the president — why does the NFL have all these other rules that they enforce, that they fine players? This is about respect for the military, the first responders.”

And, no Mr. Mnuchin, it isn’t about the first responders or the military. It’s about free speech. I would venture to guess that there isn’t a professional athlete you can name who isn’t a supporter of the military and first responders. That is not why they took a knee. The guy who started this latest round of kneeling, Colin Kapernick, did it to protest the oppression of people of color in this country. And Kapernick opted out of his contract, he wasn’t fired. Though he hasn’t been able to land a job since. So, he did pay a price for acting on his beliefs.

And why the heck do you care anyway, Mr. President? What I want you caring about is not taking away constitutionally given rights to my fellow Americans but protecting us from that kook in North Korea, not egging him on by calling him grammar schoolyard names.

What I want you to do is send troops into Puerto Rico to help those poor people who have lost pretty much everything — and they are Americans too so it shouldn’t rankle your apparently strongly held views about immigrants in this country (also in direct opposition to “give me your hungry, your tired..” etc.)

Do I think health care in this country can use some fixing? Of course, who doesn’t? But you don’t do that by repealing a law that has provided millions with health care, and also created some problems. You fix that law, you don’t repeal it. And, by the way, if you try to fix the existing law I bet there are plenty of Democratic votes you can pick up. that’s if you really want to fix it, of course.

You may think your presidency has been the most successful in history but the only people who agree with you — or did anyway — include Sean Spicer who seems to think now that he never lied to the American people.

Still, you have your base, that’s for sure, about 30 percent or so of the populace, including the fellow at my nearby gas station who pumps the gas. He and I got on the topic of the “whose is bigger” match between you and Kim Jong Un and he said “that’s one crazy guy.” I said, well we have two crazy guys at the helm. He said, “Yeah, that’s true, Obama and Bush weren crazy too.”

So, if you saw your job as completely demonizing your immediate predecessors to make yourself look good, you’ve done that with your base.

Congratulations, or something.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

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