“Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation,” reads a headline in the Washington Post. “Postcards from an island of ruin,” the Los Angeles Times calls out, complete with color photos of the destruction. “Devastation from Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back nearly 20 to 30 years,” says Slate.com.
But for Mad King Rump, the real story of the week is that some NFL players have chosen to kneel during the national anthem. Nice to see that he’s got his priorities in order.
Colin Kaepernick, who while a San Francisco 49ers quarterback launched the silent action last year to protest police violence against African Americans and other minorities, is no longer employed by any NFL team, the effect, many commentators theorize, not of substandard playing on his part but of the political action he launched, an action that grew to enormous proportions this past weekend. The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team — or Stiwwers, as they are known back home — for instance, stayed in the locker room rather than participate in the playing of the national anthem.
PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus
“From London to Los Angeles, virtually all NFL players on the sidelines before kickoff of Sunday’s slate of 14 games locked arms with each other in response to President Trump’s three-day campaign demanding that team owners ‘fire or suspend’ players who kneel during the national anthem and calling on fans to boycott games if the form of protest continued,” the Washington Post reports. (London, you may be asking? Yes, London. England. “NFL game day began at London’s Wembley Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens and [Jacksonville] Jaguars kicked off at 9:30 a.m. ET,” the Post explains about what is a once-a-season Jaguars tradition.)
Colin Kaepernick. | TWITTER.COM
As the Post continues, “The silent rebuke to the president, determined independently by each of the 28 NFL teams in action Sunday, represented an unprecedented collective action and show of solidarity among players who battle against one another 16 weeks, some more, each season.
“Some, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins, were joined on the sideline by their team owners, Shahid Khan, Jeffrey Lurie, and Daniel Snyder, respectively. Most were joined in standing shoulder-to-shoulder by coaches, staff, and, in some cases, police officers.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, almost 3.5 million Americans on the island of Puerto Rico remain without power or running water as the result of the devastating Hurricane Maria. Maybe Rumpy never heard the soundtrack album of “West Side Story.” I’m thinking not of “Maria” but rather of “America”: “Immigrant goes to America/ Many hellos in America/ Nobody knows in America/ Puerto Rico’s in America!”
For whatever reason, his royal Rumpitude has chosen once again to ignore the suffering of the citizens he (supposedly) governs and focus his attention instead on an irrelevant sideshow. No, I take that back. The protests Kaepernick launched are far from irrelevant. But compared to the immediate needs of Puerto Rican Americans — a roof over their heads, clean water to drink, food to eat, power to run air conditioners in the sweltering heat — Rump’s concerns are at best misplaced.
The speed with which he rushed to the State of Texas after Hurricane Harvey — neglecting, I might add, to console even a single hurricane victim but basking instead in a series of ill-considered photo-ops with his stripper wife — stands in marked contrast to his conspicuous absence from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Yes, he’ll rot in hell, but that’s no consolation to those of us he’s taking there in a handbasket.
“‘Imagine, if you can, government officials sitting down with Alfred Hitchcock back in the day, to tell him that, despite his commitment to making great films of suspense, political correctness demanded that he start making musicals, too. Or else,’ Carl Larsen wrote in a December 2016 commentary in the [Minneapolis] Star Tribune. ‘Or maybe they’d crack down on Steven Spielberg. If he’s going to make a monster hit about a shark, he’s going to have to do films about dolphins, too. Again, or else.’”
Larsen and his inappropriately named wife, Angel, are videographers who refuse to film same-sex marriages and plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a provision in Minnesota’s Human Rights Act that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation. Kyle Swenson cited Larsen’s idiotic comparisons last week in a Washington Post news article.
No. The comparisons don’t fly, and it’s ridiculous to have to explain why. The real point of comparison is this: imagine if the Larsens said they’d only photograph Christian weddings; Jews and Muslims need not apply.
Chief US District Court John Tunheim agreed. He dismissed the case, ruling that the Larsens’ wish to turn down same-sex clients was “conduct akin to a ‘White Applicants Only’ sign,” according to the Post.
“The Alliance Defending Freedom — an Arizona-based Christian right legal advocacy group behind same-sex marriage and trans rights challenges across the country — took up the couple’s cause,” the newspaper reports. “With reportedly 3,000 attorneys across the country and $44 million in funding, according to Mother Jones, the ADF is a considerable force in a courtroom. The organization is also behind Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake maker who sued for the right to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. That legal challenge, which like the Larsens’ case is framed as a fight for of artistic expression, will be heard before the US Supreme Court in the fall.
“The Larsens’ lawsuit, however, has been temporarily sidelined. In last week’s ruling, Tunheim stated the couple’s artistic desires are not protected.
“‘Posting language on a website telling potential customers that a business will discriminate based on sexual orientation is part of the act of sexual orientation discrimination itself,’ Tunheim wrote in the ruling. ‘As conduct carried out through language, this act is not protected by the First Amendment.’”
Rump’s Justice Department, led by the Dishonorable Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, is — surprise! — siding with the Colorado baker and one could reasonably assume also with the disappointed Minnesota videographers.