Category Archives: Politics

Missing My Missed Opportunities

SingleBullet

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — And there I was, in the VIP Room at Presidential Caterers, acting like a 12-year-old kid in the presence of Dick Vermeil.

The guest speaker for the 17th Annual Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame banquet was holding court with many willing sycophants, and I was among the jesters hanging on every word and hoping my laugh track was synched up with the guy talk that strayed into activities that are against the law in Gordonville: Hunting, golfing and feeling sorrowful if Penn State chokes away a game.

I never got Vermeil alone – except briefly by the cheese and crackers to tell him that John Pergine gives his regards – but I had ample opportunities to let him know I was no ersatz Eagles fan.

And I refrained from saying two words that may have sent him on an infamous tirade and out the door.

Those words: Mike Michel.

Who? Sigh, let’s go through the past darkly.

While the Eagles steadily improved through the 1970s, particularly with Vermeil’s arrival, their kicking game remained atrocious.

Until it was solidified by drafting a kicker (Tony Franklin) and a punter (Max Runager) after the 1978 season, one which saw Vermeil guide the Birds to the playoffs for the first time since their championship season of 1960, it was a litany of no-leg names: Kickers like Happy Feller (no lie), Horst Muhlmann (as awful as his name) and Ove Johansson (made a 69-yarder in college and couldn’t make a 69-footer in the pros) and punters like Spike Jones (the band leader would have been an upgrade) and Rick Engles.

After Engles proved no better than Jones, Michel was brought off the street corner halfway through the 1978 season to take his place.

He had been a draft pick of the Dolphins, and punters aren’t drafted that often, so there was anticipation in the air when Michel dropped back for his first punt at the Vet.

Whiff City.

I don’t mean shank.

I mean whiff.

He did something we were beyond as young teens in the schoolyard. He missed the ball altogether.

At that point, you could even boo – or look for Santa Claus to accost with snowballs or beer bottles. We just laughed as Michel averaged 3 yards on his first three punts.

He became mediocre enough as a punter to ride out the season, but Vermeil made the fateful choice to have Michel – an OK college kicker at Stanford — also serve as a placekicker when Nick Mick-Mayer was injured.

In the playoffs against Atlanta, the Eagles built a 13-0 lead – despite a missed extra-point and field goal by Michel that would have made it 17-0 – and fell behind, 14-13, before Ron Jaworski drove them into field goal range (and some guy named Oren Middelbrook almost made a diving one-handed catch for a touchdown). With time running out, Michel missed a 34-yarder that would have made everyone’s Christmas merry (the game was played on Christmas Eve).

Not asking Vermeil about Michel was not the first time I chose discretion over valor, and it put me in mind of my handful of chances with Sen. Arlen Specter, as it just so happened that two days after the banquet, Nov. 22, was the 55th anniversary of the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy Jr. in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

In a past lifetime, in the more isolated atmosphere of editorial board meetings, I had more than one chance to go a few rounds with the late – and occasionally great – Specter.

We talked current events, and he decried gridlock inside the beltway and gerrymandering, but we kept the past buried.

Here in Gordonville, it was only fitting that a turkey shoot on Nov. 22, 1963 took place on Turkey Day 55 years later.

While we only display Festivus poles in public, it is taught in our schools that the assassination remains unsolved.

The official story – one that Specter, then an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia with wide-eyed ambitions, helped sell for the Warren Report — is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone by hitting JFK with pinpoint accuracy with two shots after missing the car with the first.

Instead of Mike Michel, I could have gone with “single bullet.”

The problem with the theory was that one of the two connecting bullets zigzagged up and down and in and out and all around in order to do all the damage it did – all while emerging in nearly pristine condition on a stretcher at the hospital.

With witnesses hearing shots fired from other directions, including the grassy knoll that would have provided ideal cover for a gunman to fire the kill shot, there had to be an explanation to tie it all up in a neat little bow.

And as the years passed, and in spite of a multiplicity of theories that get shut down, the damage to the truth was permanent.

Specter was able to carve a solid career for himself as a politician – Philadelphia DA from 1966-74 and US Senator from 1981-2011 — and was one of the few Republicans, which he was for most of his career, I voted for on a regular basis.

But he still lost points for being a willing participant in this trail gone as a cold as the current president’s heart.

Football coaches, like Vermeil, can learn as they go about saving a roster spot and hoping to get by with a punter as a placekicker, as he never treated the kicking game as an afterthought again.

There appears to be no such contrition from Specter, who passed away in the fall of 2012.

If I had questioned him on it, my only satisfaction would be to have a story to tell while in my rocking chair.

While Specter would have reverted to the form that made him captain of the Yale Law School debating team, I would have reverted to the form that made me an oft-penalized captain of my street hockey team.

But that wouldn’t have made him right, or me wrong.

It would just make me part of the 61 percent of Americans, as compared to 33 percent, who believe “others were involved” in the assassination.

The explanation from those who don’t want us to believe it in a conspiracy is that we can’t handle the truth, with that truth being that a loser and loner like Oswald could kill such a powerful and wonderful man.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not even living in that galaxy, let alone zip code.

If a total dingbat can become president – witness Exhibit A on the news every day – it is more than conceivable that a doofus like Oswald could kill the president in a time when security was a lot more lackadaisical.

The problem is that the evidence, despite the efforts of the likes of Specter, is as shaky as a kick off the foot of Mike Michel.

This column originally ran in The Times Herald on Dec. 2

Finland Is A Fine Land

Norther_lights_Konsta_Punkka_VisitFinland-1524828443696

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — I’m all for challenging myself and going after that Holy Grail.

But, sometimes, you just have to grab the low-hanging fruit and gorge upon it.

Such was the case a few days – and 1,606 news cycles — ago when your president (#notmypresident) decided to pull the toilet paper off his shoe and visit the devastation caused by wildfires in his least favorite state, California, for a photo op of feigned caring.

But it was just more bungle in the jungle for your president (I’m going to act like an 8-year-old on this name thing for as long as he does on his Twitter feed) tried to do two things that are out his wheelhouse: He tried sounding both empathetic (an impossible task for a sociopath), and intelligent.

Pres. Bone Spurs (as so dubbed by presidential candidate Richard Ojeda) pulled Finland out of his baseball cap, citing it as a shining example of wildfire management because of something to do with leaves – raking too much, not enough, whatever.

And Mr. Science attributed the source of this knowledge to Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto.

The response from Finland was quick.

Amid a flurry of #RakeAmericaGreatAgain hashtags – along with some hilarious pictures — from the small Nordic beacon of light that plays some big-time ice hockey, Niinisto made no mention of “raking” anything in a brief generic conversation on the topic.

Somebody is fibbing, and I don’t need to wait on the fact-checkers to know who.

Without getting too in depth here, let’s just say that Finland and the US, especially California, are vastly different climates.

You may as well compare Hawaii and the North Pole, or Earth and Vulcan.

Chalk it up to yet another in an assembly line of ignorant statements, any of which would have had White Nationalists surrounding the White House if said by Barrack Obama.

But since Pres. Bone Spurs went there, comparing the U.S. to Finland, let’s stay there.

Please.

This is low-hanging fruit at its sweetest (well, maybe second to the first daughter using private e-mails, Hillary-style).

If Pres. Bone Spurs wants to rip pages out of the Finnish playbook, instead of that of Vladimir Putin and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, consider the following as we move from gibberish about Finland’s raking acumen to its actual world rankings, which include No. 7 in Quality of Life Index (U.S. News & World Report) as compared to No. 17 for us in U.S.

Here is a good one, considering the constant labeling of the free press as the “enemy of the people.” Finland is currently No. 4 in the world (Reporters Without Borders’ Worldwide Freedom of the Press Index). This means the Finns are doing the First Amendment thing better than we are, as the same index has the US ranked a pathetic 45th (behind the likes of Jamaica, Uruguay, Trinidad and Tobego and Taiwan).

What’s next? Countries beating us at our games, like baseball and basketball? Oh, wait, never mind.

Had enough? No? Good. In the immortal words of Clubber Lang in Rocky III (one movie before the series jumped the shark), “I got a lotta more.”

Here we go. Finland has these notches in its belt:

-Best environmental performance (Environmental Performance Index) and cleanest environment (World Health Organization).

-Most Technologically advanced (UN’s Technology Achievement Index). Funny how that works, while not selling their souls in terms of being environmentally conscious.

-Most Olympic medals per capita (population is only 5.5 million, and yet they whip our butts).

If you recall the mumbo jumbo from the campaign season, Pres. Bone Spurs talked a lot about “law and order.” Guess he meant the TV show.

So far, we have averaged about a mass shooting per game since his reign of error began.

Finland? Thanks for asking.

Consider the following:

-Finland is the safest country in the world (Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report) and ranks a second in police and internal security (World Internal Security and Police Index).

Pres. Bone Spurs might be enlightened to learn that Finland is second to only Denmark in free and most reliable elections (Electoral Integrity Project of the University of Sydney and our own Harvard), and has the third least corruption in the world (Corruption Perceptions Index).

And before you start with the typical angry white male responses of “if you like Finland so much, go move there, you Commie-Pinko,” consider that one of Finland’s most powerful political parties is the Democratic Socialist party.

What does that type of Bernie Sanders governance do to the economy?

Well, Finland, with the soundest banks in the world (Global Competiveness Report), has one of the best performing economies in the EU.

And yet, it blows us away more than the Saints did to the Eagles in terms of health and wellness rankings across the board.

Publicly funded, with universal healthcare available to all, Finland ranks in the top five in the world in satisfaction.

So, why don’t I move there? Aside from not enough Bruce Springsteen on the radio (or Taylor Swift for Sofia) and “real” football on TV (assuming the Eagles ever play “real football” again), Finland leads the world in milk and coffee consumption (my sensitive liberal system can’t handle either).

Besides, it’s not a question of loving it or leaving it, is it?

I don’t want to move to New Orleans just because the Eagles got destroyed, do I?

In order to be heartbroken by something, you have to love it. I love my country, which is why I’m so heartbroken by it right now.

As for those leaves, Pres. Bone Spurs, I have an idea. There are some Honduran refugees who would be willing to rake them – probably while the embers are still burning — in exchange for asylum.

I’m sure Finland would approve.

This column first appeared in The Times Herald

Jive Turkeys To Avoid on Turkey Day

Nugent

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Three years northbound of 50 (the new 30), I’m old enough to remember when the term “jive turkey” was as common as men wearing platform shoes and women all trying (and failing) to look like the one and only Farrah Fawcett (my second celebrity crush after Marcia Brady).

With us now into Thanksgiving week, we are a country in such turmoil that we are deathly afraid to stray from narrowing choice of safe topics just to avoid the fun of the healthy political debate that should be as required as cranberry sauce.

Adding to the tension is the outside noise from jive turkeys keeping the volume raised.

A start would be to end the constant “gobble-gobble” of certain attention seekers. They have their pulpits – i.e. blogs, Twitter accounts, microphones in front of their non-stop traps, etc. – but that doesn’t mean anyone is required to take in their sermons as gospel.

For this pre-Thanksgiving public service, we will exclude elected officials and full-time employees of accredited media outlets, from the PNML (Pay No Mind List).

As for the rest, get these noisemakers out of your life:

1) Michael Avenatti – During minutes 10-12 of his 15 of prime-time exposure as Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, some saw him as an out-of-the-box Democratic presidential candidate who would actually bring some fight into the ring. His act has since worn thin, though. A recent poll of Democrats showed him with less than 1 percent support as a candidate in 2020. Bye, Michael. Hello, Richard Ojeda of West Virginia, a new gloves-off kind of a guy.

2) Steve Bannon — For many of us, any chance to give the president half a chance was ruined in Charlottesville. That horrific August weekend in 2017 – from the planning, to the chilling nighttime Nazi-to-English chants to the equal blaming of both sides afterward – had the DNA of Bannon, then serving as White House Chief Strategist, all over it. He has since departed from that role. That’s the good news. The bad news? He still draws the same air as the rest of us, and has a full calendar of public speaking engagements to prove it. Ain’t that America for you and me?

3) Ann Coulter – If we had a dollar for every idiotic thing this Cornell graduate has written and said just to grab back the attention she briefly enjoyed a decade ago, every homeless veteran would have shelter and every hungry child would be fed. She has a right to spew her nonsense – “liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole,” etc. — but we have a right to ignore it.

4) Louis Farrakhan – No denying the good he has done within the black community, with the Million Man March of 1995 serving as a highlight, but there is no denying the bad vibes puts out simply because he just won’t let his raging anti-Semitism rest. With each incendiary remark (questioning what Jews did to Hitler to earn what they got), he loses any credibility in the mainstream — let alone the mainstream black community.

5) Kardashians – Not going to break it down to this Kardashian or that Kardashian. They are not even worth the time I just spent on them.

6) Ted Nugent – Going back to the Classic Rock era, when people used the term “jive turkey,” this guy was just another B-level turkey mostly known for one song – “Cat Scratch Fever.” It seemed nonsensical at the time, with lyrics just to serve as fodder for his half-decent guitar chops. Upon further scientific review, “Cat Scratch Fever” is an ailment with long-term side effects of brain damage. Nugent is entitled to extreme right-wing views, but a “tough guy” who admittedly did whatever it took to get out of going to Vietnam shouldn’t be considered a cogent voice in the political debate.

7) Sarah Palin – Oh, man, what was the late John McCain was thinking by adding someone with limited political experience (not even one full term as governor of Alaska and mayor of a small city) to the bottom of his presidential ticket in 2008? Right idea, going with a woman, but the wrong choice. Those who were bitter about Barrack Obama winning the presidency, and immediately – and curiously – demanded their country back, should trace their angst to Palin, as she may have cost McCain the election (I know it made my decision easy). She seemed to go away for a bit, but was empowered all over again by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Ugh!

8) Phil Robertson – Ah, the Duck Commander of Duck Dynasty infamy. Remember that? The once formidable A&E Network chose to grab the low hanging fruit and produced a reality show about a family of duck hunters. You can’t make this stuff up. His relatives grew beards to fit the façade and, with consequences we are still dealing with, western civilization went on life support as ratings soared. The show ended, and his kinfolk shaved their beards and went back to the real world. Meanwhile, Robertson’s sense of self-importance continued when he became a right-wing Buddha often propped up by Bannon. If you hear this guy’s patented duck call (eye roll), please duck!

9) Melania Trump – I have kept her off-limits, but no more. The first “lady” is suddenly sticking her beak in where it does not belong, ripping a page out of Nancy Reagan’s playbook (and we know why Mrs. Reagan had to become increasingly protective of her husband). Isn’t it ironic that Mrs. Trump’s stance is supposedly against bullying, especially cyber bullying? She not only condones it with her husband’s 3 a.m. Twitter tantrums, but she is becoming one herself. What’s up with that? Three cheers for the Einstein Visa.

10) Kanye West – Already public enemy No. 1 on the Glantz home front for that bizarre awards-show incident with Taylor Swift back in 2009 (Sofia was only 2 at the time, but she knows every detail the way I do about the JFK assassination that took place two years before I was born). “Kanye being Kanye” was a cover-up for clear untreated mental health issues. He lauded the president’s persona, earning a bizarre visit to the White House, and then changed what is left of his mind about his support. We are dealing with the ultimate jive turkey. And don’t get me started on the “music.” I’d rather listen to Ted Nugent.

This column first appeared in The Times Herald.

West Virginia Plays The Fool

WVA2

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Good thing I’m not a good Catholic – or Catholic at all.

I would have spent a lot of time confessing to the sin of taunting and teasing, with the only excuse being that they asked for it.

I didn’t make life hard for the kid with a physical disability or the kid with thick glasses or the one with acne.

They couldn’t help it, and I really tried to look past that stuff.

I was also aware of my own vulnerabilities. I had fuzzy hair that grow to the cloud instead of down to my shoulders like Roger Daltrey. I had some serious buck-ass teeth. And the occasional zit would rear its ugly head at the worst times.

We are all not perfect.

If I had been a state, it would have been an insignificant one – like one of the Dakotas (which should be combined anyway, but that’s another story).

Good for hockey, and not much else.

Who would have been open to my teasing?

West Virginia comes to mind.

Why? Because West Virginia – at second to the bottom in life expectancy — brings a lot of its troubles on itself.

It asks — practically begs — to be teased.

It’s not like it didn’t try to improve its lot in life – the equivalent of seeking tutoring – but going for JFK in 1960 and Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996.

You could argue that its self-made mattress on the floor would not full of bed bugs was not made any better by going for the Democrat winner, but you could also argue that it had the right instincts to continue its own momentum by going for Democratic losers in 1968 (Hubert Humphrey), 1980 (Jimmy Carter) and Michael Dukakis (1988).

Those guys didn’t win, and neither did West Virginia under Republican regimes rolling back what the Democrats tried to do.

Instead, by waffling back and forth, it finds itself where it is now – in an embarrassing scenario of fading into oblivion while worshipping at the altar of the current president it helped to elect with 68 percent of the vote in the most recent presidential election.

They most recently cheered him on like blind loyalists a high school pep rally crossed with a bible revival while he spoke of “falling in love” with fellow loon Kim Jong-un.

Maybe they saw a messiah in this bronze idol, and maybe you can’t blame them at the time – especially since their Democratic choice in the primary season, Bernie Sanders, wasn’t on the ballot (and Hillary Clinton had bad-mouthed coal mining beyond repair).

If their hearts were in the right place then, their heads need to follow now.

If not, they are living up to their stereotypes of imbeciles in overalls.

If not, I have no choice but to pull their chair out from under them when they go to sit down or stick that handy “kick me hard” sign on their ass in the hallway.

Turns out, the wool has been pulled over the eyes of the state that ranks 43rd in poverty and 45th in education.

If this state had a collective brain, the cheers should be turning to jeers, as several news reports – you know from the purportedly evil “Jew-run” mainstream media – reveal that things are getting worse under the current regime.

Last year, for example, West Virginia’s poverty rate went up (that’s not a good thing) to 19.1 percent from 17.9, making it just one of four such states.

What makes it ironic was that the president went to West Virginia with the plan to boast about his accomplishments that, along with his love affair with a leader who allegedly doesn’t defecate, are economic.

He proclaimed that he pound his chest about how he “turned West Virginia around.”

I guess he figured, after getting laughed at in the more astute UN, that he would find a more willing audience in West Virginia.

And he did – meaning some just cause for placing some pre-chewed bumble gum in its hair – in Social Studies class.

When liberals such as I like to point out conservatives – about 98-99 percent of them – who don’t vote in their own best interests, West Virginia is Exhibit A.

The nation is bitterly divided along all kinds of lines, and yet West Virginia finds itself in a vicious cycle serving as cannon fodder for a president while life gets worse there.

How so? Its workers – cashiers, retail clerks, service people – are the fastest growing in the state. It points to an upward arrow in employment rates – despite factors like inconsistent hours — but a downward spiral in the poverty rate.

Want the type of numbers that never get cited at these presidential pep rallies? A soup kitchen in Charleston, W.Va. served 9,700 meals in January. Come August, try 10,800.

“There’s a direct correlation between the hopelessness and the lack of jobs,” Director Tara Martinez was quoted as saying. “The jobs that are available are minimum wage and part time — they don’t have benefits. When you have that, coupled with the hopelessness of, ‘How do I get out of this cycle?’ and having to go to a soup pantry, it’s like a hamster wheel.”

And there is the elephant in the room – and the only social issue for which the president has shown any concern – that being the opioid crisis.

The brother of an addict, the president claims sensitivity to this, but has yet to make any really connection at the core of the issue. He remains too much of a single-issue president – almost a savant – with that issue being economic indicators indicating he is the “best ever.”

But poverty in places like West Virginia goes hand in hand with its ongoing battle with the opioid crisis woven into its culture as much as coal mining used to be.

Maybe I should take more pity on West Virginia. After all, it is in the hook of that wonderful John Denver song and all, but I can’t get past its infatuation with the president and the reasons it exists.

Consider that West Virginia is:

-Around 95 percent white. That, in and of itself, is not a crime. But we all know what base was played to during the election after eight years of Barack Obama allegedly holding the country hostage from itself.

-On the education thing, just 21 percent of the state’s residents between 25 and 64 have college degrees. Again, not a crime. However, whether you have a 4.0 in school or a 2.0, you learn critical thinking skills that make less gullible to con men and hucksters. Don’t think for a second that the president doesn’t keep biting into this like a KFC chicken thigh. This sad fact also puts West Virginians way behind the curve, in terms of joining their bronze idols alleged recovery that is weighted heavily toward those with any sort of degree beyond high school.

-Beginning this month, as the president exited from after chest-pounding routine, the state’s indigent face the burden of new work requirements for food stamps that will only mean longer lines with those in MAGA hats outside soup kitchens like the one run by Martinez in Charleston.

“It’s frightening and I’m worried and I’m doing everything I can to make sure our doors are still open,” she said, noting that she expects demand for meals to rise by 30 percent. “It’s going to be a lot of fundraising and pleading.”

And while I would have never mocked anyone getting a free lunch in my school daze or yore, I would have to mock them for not knowing enough to realize that they are placing their faith in a scam artist.

Don’t Look Away

Dipshits1

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Tonight, one of the networks is airing a show about some former white nationalist type who has since reformed himself.

I think it’s going to be on MSNBC, but it could be CNN. I don’t know and I really don’t care.
It’s the not first time, and it won’t be the last, that someone tries to make the rest of us feel comforted and weepy-eyed about one rare case with a positive outcome.

For every one guy who de-clowns himself enough to start rid himself of tattoos with enemy flags (SS symbols, swastikas, Confederate flags, etc,) gets himself out, countless more clowns go into the hate machine.

A recent study came out, meant to coincide with today’s latest example of the drain getting more swamped, estimate that 24 million Americans hold alt-right beliefs. They are estimating low.

A whole lot more than that “wanted their country back” after Barack Obama was elected (not even sworn it), and a whole lot more than that call him “Obummer” to be cute and clever and call him the “worst president ever” with zero details to back that statement up.

Those may not qualify as alt-right beliefs by those taking the study, but they do in my book (the only book that matters, at least to me).

It’s a scary trend, and one we need to confront. I confront it every day on Facebook, trying to engage the MAGA crowd in logical debate, and bits and pieces of deeper hatred come oozing out like saliva on a rabid animal.

Maybe not enough to meet the standard of the survey that cut the number off at 24 million, but enough to tell me that there are more out there ripe to be plucked like the low-hanging fruit that they are.

Every time I earn a check mate in these “debates,” I get called a troll. My response is that if you don’t want anyone to disagree with you, don’t make a public post. I know I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I invite debate.

They do, too, trust. It’s all meant to incite and inflame and agitate, but they don’t like being called out on it in a logical manner. Any fact check, even from non-partisan entities, are meet with “fake news” trump card (and that is the only time you will see me use the word trump, as I refer to him exclusively as David Dennison, and you will note “trump” was not capitalized).

Then it inevitably morphs into me being called a libtard and/or a snowflake. Sometimes I’m told to go move to Denmark (not a bad idea, actually) or challenged to meet in person for some sort of dual in the public square (one such situation in Florida actually resulted in a shooting).

With the one year anniversary of Charlottesville – and the death of Heather Heyer, which has somehow been reduced to a footnote – upon us, that topic came up. A woman flat-out told me that it all started because Antifa was violent with “patriots” carrying the flag.

When I explained that the flags they were carrying were actually enemy flags, she said they were … paid actors.

You can’t argue with stupid – as much as I try.

The reality, according to another survey, is that most of these white hate clowns fall into predictable categories – poor, unemployed and uneducated (no wonder that most are also divorced).

That is pretty much the demographic – along with some Russian bots and the Electoral College – that helped sway the 2016 election.

There was a lot of coded hate speech used to make this fools feel empowered, and the results made them feel legitimate enough to stage Charlottesville under the nonsensical guise of protesting the removal of a statue of a traitor, Robert E. Lee.

Just because the clown of all clowns in the White House dances around the subject and won’t confront it, let alone denounce it, doesn’t mean we need to lower ourselves to that level and wear blindfolds.

On this the anniversary of the national tragedy — perhaps the largest in my daughter’s lifetime (born in 2007) -that was Charlottesville (a place we took her on vacation a few summers ago), take whiff of what is going to happen today in DC and let the stink sink in.

It’s more nauseating to me, as an American still waiting to still our potential for greatness fulfilled, than NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem (a common source of battle with daily deplorable sparring partners, even though I would personally never not stand for the anthem – even if should be “This Land Is Your Land”).

So go ahead. You can watch tonight’s show focused on one guy, all while dabbing your eyes with tissues, but the real time to watch is today.

That’s when you need to cry for we’ve devolved into, which something far from great.

 

Mississippi’s Still Burning

miss kkk

Mississipi’s Still Burning

Taking target practice

At the plaque for Emmitt Till

Making out their lists

Of who they’d like to kill

 

Still with them four eyes

That still can’t see

Last in high school diplomas

First in teen pregnancy

 

CHORUS

Ain’t nobody teaching

Ain’t nobody learning

Ain’t nobody dreaming

Ain’t nobody yearning

That history book page

Ain’t nobody turning

Live to die with the hate

Mississippi’s still burning

 

Out in Greenwood

Assembly line of bibles

They should read one

Every once in a while

 

Still with them four eyes

That still can’t see

Tops in unemployment

Last in life expectancy

 

REPEAT CHORUS

 

In their Philadelphia

Ain’t no liberty bell

Three civil rights workers

Dead in living hell

 

Still with them four eyes

That still can’t see

One thing worse than the drivers

The rank of the economy

 

REPEAT CHORUS

 

They refuse to recall

What they long to forget

It didn’t take long

To shed all regret

 

Still with them four eyes

That still can’t see

Last in all that matters

Except the rate of misery

 

REPEAT CHORUS

 

 

 

 

 

Part of a Bigger Situation

trump-james

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Everything is a situation.

That phrase comes up from time to time during NYPD Blue, an all-time favorite television program of mine that was the subject of a recent binge-watching session.

And my life experience is that the phrase holds true to form – certainly much better that what it is or is not the hard truth or who is or is not right or wrong at any given moment.

In an interview on CNN, LeBron James accused Pres. David Dennison – aka John Barron, aka John Miller — of trying to use sports to divide the country, and Mr. Thin Skin couldn’t help but respond.

In a hissy-fit response on Twitter (yeah, that’s what we’ve come to in this ongoing situation in our broken nation) stating that James is wrong – kind of like how he rudely bellowed wrong, repeatedly, when Hillary Clinton was trying to speak in a debate – he is not wrong.

Not 100 percent anyway.

Everything is a situation.

And in this situation – sadly – it seems like it was a much larger umbrella under which sports falls.

It is joined there with other forms of red meat that Dennison/Barron/Miller throws to his rabid base – from supporting the Second Amendment to saying “Merry Christmas” is vital to combat a contrived war on Christianity to being inhumane to other humans seeking asylum here (just like so many of our ancestors did back in the days of alleged greatness).

Dennison/Barron/Miller pulls out this well-worn stunt when putting himself on tour in friendly Deplorable terrain in a blatant — and pathetic — act of self-affirmation.

This is all coded language, and it’s meant to divide – not unite – at its rotted core.

The sports part of it predates the regrettable results of election, where the perfect storm of the arcane Electoral College and an uninspiring Democratic candidate with a virtual mannequin as her running mate led to the surprising outcome, as it goes to back to the summer of 2016, back when his election seemed unthinkable. That’s when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began not standing (he sat the first time and then kneeled, out of respect to veterans) for the national anthem.

My personal feeling — other than that “This Land Is Your Land” should be the national anthem — was that Kaepernick was probably protesting the fact that then-49er coach Chip Kelly was starting a middling white quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, over him for the third preseason game (a sign that Gabbert had won the job) than he was any major injustice to people of his race. (Kaepernick is actually biracial and was raised, middle class, by white adoptive parents).

But everything is a situation.

And, whether intended for not, the situation turned into something bigger than what it was probably intended, which was the way people of color are treated by police and the criminal justice system as a whole.

For a while, it caught on. The louder the outcry, the more other players knelt.

And then, like a dance craze, it seemed to fade.

While the issue at hand became more enmeshed into the national debate, NFL players either moved on or – like Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins – took it to another level, being constructive in addressing the issue instead of symbolic.

So when Pres. Dennison/Barron/Miller stood up in front of a crowd of trained seals in Alabama (where else?) during the heart of last football season and talked about players (“sons of bitches”) not standing for the national anthem, he was a day late and a dollar short.

It was, for all intents and purposes, a dead issue.

But what’s the difference when tossing chum to chumps, right?

And when you need to pump up those approval ratings and divert attention away from the crisis du jour, well, everything is a situation.

There were an estimated 10-15 players – league-wide – still kneeling at the time of the Alabama diatribe. Kaepernick, no longer in the NFL, was not even among them.

The next Sunday, approximately 250 players of the nearly 1,500 in uniform engaged in forms of protest that including kneeling.

They made it clear why they were kneeling, and it had nothing to do with disrespecting the flag or the troops (that job is left to White House policies that send home spouses of servicemen because they are not “legal” immigrants).

In addition to criminal justice reform and how they perceive racial bias by police in the streets, they were protesting the occupant of the highest office for dealing low blows and saying they were “sons of bitches” (meaning he was, technically, referring to all their mothers as “bitches”) who should be “fired” from the profession that they scratched and clawed to buck extreme odds to join just for choosing a form of legal free speech during the national anthem.

Turns out, just for a point of reference, that the national anthem was never a big show that required players on the field until after the NFL and the military struck a deal on a mutually lucrative ad campaign in 2009.

From my experience of going to NFL games since 1970, most people pay little to no attention during the national anthem. They are late to stand, and early to sit. They continue to talk, take gulps from their warm overpriced beers and struggle to pull up their pants to cover the cracks of their asses. If I had to guess how much thought was going into the meaning of the national anthem and the flag, I’d say very little – certainly as compared to the players who followed Kaepernick’s lead and protested.

Some may argue it’s a respectful protest; others the opposite. A healthy debate would be welcomed, but that can’t happen without leadership, both from inside the Beltway and in NFL owner’s boxes, can it?

Since 2009, we see a bit more of a dog-and-pony show – complete with military jet flyovers to elicit “U-S-A, U-S-A” chants before games — after which players of multiple races and creeds bleed side by side for fans who are not divided.

If only it could last beyond the end of the game, huh?

Instead, the players shake hands and kneel together in prayer. Everyone else goes back to their little corners in this ongoing battle.

Everything is a situation.

A regrettable one.

In this ongoing situation, which has grown to include teams in those sports dominated by players of color exercising their rights as free citizens and not accepting invitations to the White House after winning championships, the broader national divide continues.

Is it just sports? No.

Are sports part of it? Yes, they are.

It has led to many of the president’s supporters going to the old fallback of saying James should just “shut up and dribble.” They may not realize that when they are going on record with such bombastic commentary, they are opening themselves up to anyone saying to them “just shut up and adjust insurance policies” or “just shut up and change the oil in that car,” etc.

We are divided – perhaps to the point of a cold Civil War – because it is beneficial for a president elected by virtue of self-made division and who will only get re-elected if he can keep it that way.

The list of divisive acts include funding the “birther” movement to prove previous president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States (to be fair, Dennison/Barron/Miller may not have realized that Hawaii is part of the U.S.) and to saying there are “fine people on both sides” after the national disgrace that was Charlottesville.

How much more divisive can you get than that?

James, on the other hand, has the following quote attributed to him: “You have to accept failure to get better.”

That’s certainly a major difference between these two, as the one charged with the task of acting presidential never accepts failure for anything. Instead, he doubles down on it.

Hence, the lashing out at James (no comment on CNN host Don Lemon).

Fair? Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

In addition to being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the greatest basketball player of all time, James came off the streets of Akron and went straight from high school to the NBA to be paid more than $400K per week at the age of 18.

He was clearly born with amazing natural talent, but we all know – or should know – how the “Bronx Tale” axiom about the saddest thing in life being wasted talent. City playgrounds are full of guys in pickup games who were born with NBA talent who are not earning a paycheck to put a ball through a hoop.

James worked for everything he got.

But there is more.

James, who has been with the same woman for 15 years, has always been a solid citizen. He doesn’t even have a parking ticket on his record.

It would have been nice if he came to the 76ers as a free agent, positioning our hometown team for a title run, but this situation is bigger than that.

He wields as much, if not more, sway in this country as the president.

There is one difference, though. James has sent more than 1,100 kids to college. The president was busted for starting a university that proved to be, like many of his other ventures, a sham.

Yes, we are divided. Yes, sports is a part of it. Hard for anything not to be a part of it these days. Just the way you cut and chew your food or walk your dog is part of it.

Guess we just have to pick a side and ride the storm out until we’re rescued by the return of sanity.

While I personally would not kneel during the national anthem, I know which side I’m on.

Everything is a situation.

This column also appeared at phillyphanatics.com