A Hero For All Seasons | THE POLITICUS

A Hero For All Seasons

Alright, everybody, STAND UP AND KNEEL! 
 
If you happen to read this site with any degree of regularity, you have probably figured out by now that I don't give a rat's rear about sports. Next month when everyone else is watching the World Series, I'll be taking a drive in the country; Or maybe I will be curled up with a good book, Or maybe I'll be watching C-SPAN. I'm not trying to make myself seem like some sort of cultural supremacist - for all anyone knows I may  be passed out drunk somewhere (always a distinct possibility). The point that I'm trying to make is that life is short, and people (American men in particular) waste too much of their precious time on this fragile planet pondering and obsessing over the subject of sports. Some of my peers thought (and some still think) that is less that manly on my part. I could never figure this out. Watching a bunch of guys in tight-fitting uniforms jumping around an Astroturf field was never my favorite way of spending a Saturday afternoon. My favorite sport has always been Figure Skating. Some of those gals are gorgeous!
 
So it may seem out of character for me to inform you that I have a new sports hero - my second in my entire life! The other was Babe Ruth - not so much for his prowess as a ball player - but due to the fact that the Bambino could out-party any other player of his age, something I've always admired. (FUN FACT: I was born on the tenth anniversary of the Babe's passing).
 
My latest (and greatest) sports hero is a guy whom a month ago I could not have identified in a police line-up. His name is Colin Kaepernick!
 
He conjured up a right wing shit storm of protest in the late summer of 2016 when he refused to stand for the National Anthem at the start of a game. At first he sat it out. Then, after some reflection, he decided to genuflect in prayerful solemnity. He wanted to make a gentle statement about what was happening to African Americans in his country, that too high a percentage of them were being killed for no good reason. He didn't give anyone the finger, he didn't hold his nose or grab his crotch - he merely got down on one knee. 
 
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
 
Colin Kaepernick
Quite predictably the right wing SCREAM MACHINE went into immediate overdrive. He was disrespecting the flag, some said; he was advocating the murder of policemen, howled others. I imagine everything would have been fine if he hadn't mentioned the reason for the genuflection. Had he told the country that, by getting down on one knee, he was merely doing his impersonation of Al Jolson singing Mammy, these conservative nincompoops would have been quite pleased with the gesture. A lot of them would have applauded him, I'm sure, for reminding America of the good old days when darkies knew their place. That's always an admirable thing to these clowns. No doubt he would have won the heart of Pat Robertson immediately. Pat might have invited him the next day to co-host an edition of The 700 Club. He could even have obliged poor, senile old Pat with a special rendition of the tune:
 
I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles
My Maaaaaaaaammmyyy!
 
Of course, our esteemed Common-Pervert-in-Chief just couldn't resist throwing his two cents into the national conversation (and I'm being generous here. Two cents is a vastly inflated price for Trump's word). At a rally a couple of days ago in Nuremberg - I mean Alabama - he publicly referred to Kaepernick as "that son-of-a-bitch", Which prompted Colin's mom, Theresa, to offer us, on a silver platter, the best line of the week: She said that she was one "proud bitch" indeed. I wanna party with that woman.

 
An amazing and beautiful thing is happening this week: other athletes are following suit - and not only the black ones. An entire Little League team even! These kids, of multi-races, got down on their knees in homage to their brothers and sister Americans who are persecuted for no other reason than the color of their skin. As strange and as hideous as the times in which we live undoubtedly are, something beautiful is emerging from the carnage. It's something to ponder with wonder and awe.
 
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Didn't you just figure?

 

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