Tag Archives: Trump Administration

Where is Antifa When Trump Need Them Most?

New Orleans      Ol’ Donald Trump dropping like a rock with no one to catch his fall.  He doesn’t want to talk about race, because he sounds even more the fool than usual.   Most recent example was his description of George Floyd, hardly in his grave after being killed by the police as “having a great day,” as Trump grasped at the straws of a better than expected jobs report.  If Trump was right and Floyd was looking down, trust me on this, he was spitting.  Protests in towns large, small, and even tiny for racial justice and against police brutality, and Trump and his sidekick William Barr are gasping and groping for anyone but themselves to blame and for anything to talk about other than the pandemic and the justice of the protest.

They cry out for antifa, like children cry out for Peppa Pig, to come save them from this horror.  Where is antifa when they need them most?  The country and the world are on the streets crying for justice.  Can’t everyone see that if this doesn’t stop, that there might be real change?  Can’t everyone see that none of this helps the president’s re-election?  If Trump can’t find a fall guy, then he’s the falling guy.  Where is antifa?

Remember antifa was a small, loose network of activists who were willing to suit up and stand their ground as anti-fascists at white supremacy rallies and the like.  They were willing to go toe to toe and not back down.  There weren’t many, but the specter that they existed at all as opposed to the gun toting, fat bellied, MAGA hat crowd is the kind of thing that keeps the president up at night with his tweet finger wagging.

The problem is that no one can find any evidence of antifa in these protests.  A study in Minneapolis found that 85% of the arrests were local Minnesota-nice folks.  Those arrested for any vandalism were also locals, but with police records in some cases.  These are all home-grown inside agitators.  Trump now is facing the horror that beset Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson and hundreds of redneck sheriffs down south and up-south as they tried to paint everyone with a happy face and blame it on the commies or the outside agitators.  Trump can’t blame it on the commies probably because he doesn’t want people to think Russia or make his big buddy Vladimir Putin unhappy.  He’s left with antifa, and there’s no one to call in that loose network or to stand as the face of the troubles.

A movement is a problem for power.  It’s everywhere, and there is no quick call to co-opted leaders or a way to threatened the funding of any specific organization to get it to stop.  The marches and actions are multiplying.  The targets are becoming local.  The only way it might stop is when there is evidence of real change.  Trump knows nothing about that.

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Politics and Sports, Peas in a Pod

Pearl River     It’s totally over now.  No way of pretending that sports and politics are not welded at the hip, peas in the same pod anymore.  Of course, this has been true forever, but the cultural and corporate presumption, when it served the interests of power, were to pretend they were separate and totally different.  This allowed sports business to protect a mass consumer and viewer base on one hand, while keeping their thumb on the scale for the interests of owners, which invariably skewed to self-interested entitlement and often archly conservative views.

Think Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New York Knicks Dolan, or virtually everyone involved with the New England Patriots, if you lost any facilities during the pandemic.  It’s over now because race and union contracts allow players to not only speak their minds, but have the protection to do so.  Professional players are no longer vassals of the owners, sponsors, and networks, so racism in sports where African-American players are a majority like professional basketball and football has erased the rightward political line dictated by the owners.

During the cultural and political wars of the 60s whether civil rights or Vietnam, sports figures were dependable poster boys for the wrong side.  For every Muhammad Ali or Bill Walton, there were thousands of high school, college, and professional coaches pushing the players to keep their mouths shut and their opinions to themselves “for the good of the team.”  Find the lowest common denominator and hold onto it as long as possible.

President Trump is big in the mix here.  He wants to presume that the fan base and his base are the same.  He will never learn and listen, but it is important that this time as he tries to stir up his kneeling controversy, he is encountering aggressive and immediate pushback.  Drew Brees, vaunted New Orleans Saints quarterback, spit out the crow he was eating and had to slap back at Trump trying to use his insensitive and idiotic remark that missed the point about the kneeling protest.  For a change, the spineless lapdog of the billionaire NFL owners, Roger Goodell, also had to admit that he had not been listening and concede that players had the right to protest and that the NFL supported it.  Since Trump is all about inflaming racial division, it is actually important that Brees and Goodell hit his hands with a ruler and told him to finally pay attention in class.

Steph Curry, Lebron James, and a bunch of other big names are clear that police brutality and racism is simply off limits and doesn’t allow silence.  The NFL despite all of the owners’ fulminations, was not able to discipline any players, despite Trump calling for their firing, after their union filed a grievance over the threat.  Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player, has been huge in standing up for his Houston friend, George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis.

No matter how powerful the SEC teams are, the days when the politics and culture of sports and the NFL are that of “good ol’ boys” from the South are gone.  It’s been over in the NBA for a while, and now as Drew Brees learned, it’s way over in the NFL.

Sports is not real life, but it’s important in moving the culture. For sports to start pushing politics on race, war, and police brutality so that peoples’ interest is more important than the opinion of power and privilege is actually a big thing.

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