By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – I’ve been thinking a lot about that old documentary-style television show, hosted by Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy, called “In Search Of.”
Even at a young age, I was generally intrigued enough to watch most of these syndicated episodes on UHF channels from start to finish.
For those who don’t recall – and it’s OK if you don’t – the episodes would be on topics on if Bigfoot, ghosts, Jack the Ripper or if UFO’s were real, etc.
I have been trying lately, as the world literally crumbles around us, to go on my own “In Search Of” journey.
What am I seeking? Oh, not much. Just the truth.
I don’t know much, but I know enough to know that the truth is generally nothing more than one’s own perceptions formed by their own realities shaped by life experience.
While that works with a lot of interpersonal situations – you know women saying “all men are this” or men saying “all women are that” – we really need to start airing out our other dirty laundry and meeting in the town square to peaceably parse out proven fact from fiction.
We are seeing this in the way a pandemic is being politicized by a so-called president who chides doctors and scoffs at science.
We are seeing it in the way the right’s only argument that they are not inherently racist is that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (the parties switched places, in terms of being progressive, a long time ago).
But I’m going to look hard to my left, something I’m not always accustomed to doing, and to do some critical thinking and uncomfortable housekeeping about a troubling trend: A new gash in Black-Jewish relations, with – news flash — Louis Farrakhan playing puppeteer.
Let’s take the the DeSean Jackson situation. As both an Eagles’ fan and a cultural Jew (I consider myself a secular humanist, but my DNA makes me a purebred), I was deeply hurt than a player I cheered for all these years would open his quotations book to “Hitler” and “Farrakhan.” It was especially troubling after Jackson was brought back to Philadelphia by a Jewish general manager (Howie Roseman) and drawing a paycheck signed by a Jewish owner (Jeffrey Lurie), even after Jackson likely put himself on the shelf by doing needless backflips after a touchdown early last season.
Jackson apologized for misquoting Hitler, via Farrakhan, about Jews running the world. He basically gave a convoluted explanation that equates to him not knowing any better. He says he was just trying to “uplift his own people,” I guess by saying that, “If Jews can control everything, why can’t we?”
There was also a lot of mumbo jumbo about blacks being the real Hebrews, which is a theory put forth on street corners in places like Newark and Harlem and is gaining traction with those in the black community that have say and sway.
Just like with white disaffected youth and Neo-Nazism, the same is true with this nonsense that belies all archeological digs done in the Middle East in favor of something concocted from a “vision” in the 19th century.
One of the founders of this belief system — Frank Cherry — also thought the earth was square and that Jesus would return in the year 2000, but Cherry died in 1963 and was not a product of a formal education.
What’s the excuse today for extremists on all sides falling under the spell of beliefs that make wearing tin foil hats as popular as Kangol hats?
If anything, it is an indictment of a public education system that sends people into the world who are open to all kinds of theories – including white and black supremacy – and continue our downward spiral into fantasy-fueled suspicion and hate.
The irony is that, when it comes to quoting Hitler, the more accurate quote – outlined in Mein Kampf and put into action with dire results – was that of the “Big Lie.” It is, to paraphrase, that if you tell a lie – not matter how ridiculous – for a long enough period of time, people will start to believe it.
And people, particularly young black adults spurred to action after the horrific murder of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer who maintained a trance-like stare while Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, seem to be taking their eye off the ball of seeking justice and blaming it on Jews who can’t handle the “truth” about who are the real Jews.
Jackson, who matriculated at one of the best schools in the country – Cal-Berkeley (below) – should not fall into the category of the easily duped. This is a harsh indictment of that whole system of big-time college sports, which is way more of a swamp loaded with snakes than pro sports can ever dream to be, as this is not the first time Jackson’s off-field choices has made us scratch our heads and it won’t be the last.
After the Jackson controversy, I did what I like to do, and took it to my version of the town square – Facebook.
There was feverish debate over the First Amendment, where the “truth” won the day; free speech protects citizens from the government but not an employer, which the Eagles are to Jackson.
There was also a lot of compare and contrast about Riley Cooper, the former Eagles’ receiver who was caught on tape saying the “N” word seven years ago. I tried to point out the subtle differences between the two situations – namely that Cooper was on the team for three seasons without incident prior to that regrettable moment and was there for three more after – but I couldn’t shake the general vibe that he was a “scrub” who got the benefit of the doubt because he was white.
There was a narrative that made it sound like her was handed a contract extension immediately after the transgression, like they waited for him outside a Klan rally without a contract in hand, when the reality – the truth — was that it was two uncontroversial seasons later.
Again, the “truth,” is that he was an OK player, as “scrubs” don’t last five minutes – let alone five seasons – in the league. And they don’t get five-year extensions for $25M. Cooper had a career year right after making the remarks while drunk at a concert he attended with several black teammates, and was a core special teams player and one of the best blocking receivers in the league.
Back when journalism was journalism, a Philadelphia reporter went back into Cooper’s past, all the way to childhood, and basically found a typical jock (he was also a baseball star in high school and college) who hung out with other jocks of all races (and probably lorded over non-jocks of all races).
As a skill position player at the University of Florida and with the Eagles, he was closest with the other skill position players, meaning he had plenty of black friends. I can tell you, from my experiences in locker rooms, the “N” word flies around like spitballs when there is a substitute teacher in middle school. Just a guess, but maybe he – in a lathered-up state – felt it OK to do the same.
It wasn’t OK, but it wouldn’t have been OK to cut him from the team when he had a part to play as a role player and when he took all the right steps to apologize.
The forgotten reality is that his black teammates, led by Michael Vick (below, with Cooper), accepted the apology — saying that doing so was one of the proudest moments of his career — and moved on.
To me, as a cultural Jew, it is not the same as thinking you are quoting Hitler – via Farrakhan – using Jewish tropes and stereotypes. Even with that, Jackson should not have been cut, either.
They agreed to make it a teachable moment and move on, just Cooper’s black teammates did in real time.
I was OK with the Jackson resolution, and so were many other Jewish Eagles fans.
In the town square, though, it was not so simple.
As such, as I battled with mostly black Eagles fans, my consternation worsened.
I encountered – repeatedly – a mindset even more troubling than what Jackson posted and then retracted.
If I didn’t see it once, I saw it 1,000 times: “What does he have to apologize for? He was speaking the truth!”
Here we go again.
In search of … the truth.
Making it worse, there were open debates about whether the Holocaust was any more tragic than slavery or what happen to Native Americans.
Some, right of cue, questioned if the Holocaust even happened.
And they were backed by others saying it was the truth that it never happened.
The “truth” can easily become a hand grenade — even on what it is supposed to be page for Eagles’ fans to talk football, which is what most of the white non-Jewish fans were imploring us to do.
Amid a deafening silence, athletes were coming to Jackson’s defense, and none – until 73-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and now Charles Barkley — were admonishing him. It’s a sign of the times.
Some alleged C-list celebrity, Nick Cannon (below), added to the chorus of twisted history that blacks are the true Hebrews, etc.
It’s out there, spreading through the black community like the way an unattended campfire becomes a forest fire.
Slowly, the righteousness of the Black Lives Matter movement is in danger being perverted and subverted into something else, setting it up to fizzle and fade into something that was “so 2020.”
At its core, “Black Live Matter,” means black lives matter the same, or also. If we get into an environment where it morphs into “Black Lives Matter More,” the ongoing cold Civil War will rage on.
Meanwhile, one of the black community’s most ardent historical supporters – the Jewish community (helped found the NAACP and fought and died in the South during the Civil Rights era) – is taking the hits.
And what I don’t get is why the truth as I know it is so frightening to confront. Black history is one of perseverance and overcoming adversity. It is one of redemption. There is no reason to make up anything when the real story – the true story – is 10,000 times more compelling.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Moe Berg was a mediocre backup catcher in the big leagues for 15 seasons.
Yeah, so what, you might ask? What makes him any different than any other bullpen receiver with a .243 career average who can’t even crack the roster of the all-time Jewish baseball team?
It was peculiar, in the years leading up to World War II, that teams of major league all-stars – featuring the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – would travel to Japan and a relative no-name like Berg would somehow be on the roster, only to wonder off on his own instead of hanging with the team.
There is, or was, a running joke about Berg. It went that he could speak X number of languages — five, seven or 12 — but couldn’t hit a curve ball in any of them.
Turns out, Berg – educated at Princeton and Columbia Law School — was doing some pre-war work as a spy, a role that he took on full-time during the war and served as fodder for several books and a 2018 movie titled “The Catcher Was a Spy” (the name of one of the better-known books).
That’s quite a life, and has me longing for my own spy mission, which would be to be dropped behind enemy lines in the burgeoning Civil War for the soul of our nation.
Since we can almost script out the narcissistic speeches of your president (not mine), which are part Hitler Lite and part Rodney Dangerfield “I Can’t Get No Respect,” it’s not even interesting to me anymore.
And I’ve said all along, it’s not the entity that calls itself the president I have the real issue with anyway. It’s those who put him where he is, allowing this country to devolve into a riots in the streets and a pandemic that the administration was not out in front of from the jump.
My ongoing theory that the coalition that put your president (not mine) in position to stain the White House – beyond Russian hackers and staunch Republicans — were racists looking for payback after eight years of a biracial president, those who could not stomach the idea of a female president to the extent that that a womanizer and sexual abuser was the preferred option and people who are so ignorant that they are just so easily seduced by arrogance that they fall prey to the cult of personality?
But, without proof, how would I know, right? I need to be a spy behind enemy lines. I need to be a fly on the wall while they talk amongst themselves.
The chance to get my Moe Berg on came recently when I finally accepted a repeated invite to join a Facebook group of backers of your president (not mine).
I’m not going to reveal the name of the group, as they have a strict “no trolling” policy (odd, since the person who kept inviting knows who I am and where I stand on this sad situation).
So, despite being tempted by the hour, I suppress my urges and stay quiet in the group.
But I take notes.
A lot of them.
In general, the posts are not overtly offensive. It’s a lot of the flag-waving bologna that they think makes them more patriotic because they dare not think outside the lines.
It is the responses in the comments below the posts that confirm how much venom these snakes have their bite.
I’m writing this on June 26, the first day of the Green Phase we are lucky enough to be in because of the work of a Democratic governor, around 1 p.m. There is a post about Joe Biden – who they call the “Biggest Idiot Democrats Ever Nominated” (the first letter of each word spells out Biden’s last name … rim shot) — coming to Pennsylvania and being greets by like three supporters of your president (not mine).
It prompted ingenious remarks like: “Time to send Sleepy Joe to a retirement home in Wilmington, he’s done enough damage to America for a lifetime.”
How so, I wonder? Didn’t say. You get a lot of that on there. More in the way of pronouncements than backing it up with factoids.
Another actually asked why Biden keeps coming to Pa (after they chide him for staying in the basement, even though their immortal beloved hid in a bunker), when it’s obvious that both candidates are going set up shop in all swing states.
The response from the page administrator was “because they are trying to tell the rest of the country that battleground PA loves Biden … And WE all know that just ain’t the facts!”
Actually, page administrator, a poll released 24 hours earlier showed Biden with a semi-healthy lead in Pennsylvania. But, well, I guess that is nullified – or reduced to “fake news” – by using ALL CAPS.
Then there was a “Keep America Great” meme for the 2020 reelection bid. It had two American flags crossed, almost fascist style, and this quote from your president (not mine): “I don’t have time for political correctness and neither does this country.”
That prompted a high number of “likes” and “loves” and this gem of a comment: “One of my many reasons (why) I voted for him. You fix anything without seeing it and correcting it for what it is.”
Next was a picture of Hillary Clinton with photo-shopped dreadlocks that said she was the new name and face of Quaker Pancakes and Syrups and it called her “Aunt JaPresident.”
Yeah, we’re in the rabbit hole now.
Break out the white sheets.
It gets worse.
The memes aimed at Carly Fiorina for saying she was going to vote Biden (“Mitt Romney in a dress”), Jerrold Nadler (“he justs want to hold subpenis”), Bubba Wallace (“a race CARD driver”) and Colin Kapernick (“don’t mess with Betsy Ross”), in which his Afro was particularly wild.
There is a meme of two lesbians reading: “Let me guess … (He) is not your president.”
There is a meme with a quote from a recent tweet from your president (not mine) saying: “Republicans are the party of LIBERTY, EQUALITY and JUSTICE for ALL. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln and the party of LAW AND ORDER!”
Again, with the CAPITAL LETTERS – equating to someone thinking yelling makes them right – and again with the twisting and turning of the Abraham Lincoln nonsense when Lincoln would crawl out of his grave just to vomit at the way his name is being used.
Of course, the page administrator commented: “YES, we are!”
There is an oddly cropped picture of Derek Chauvin that goes from the waist up, not showing his knee on George Floyd’s neck, and a reminder than he was a Democrat in a city run by Democrats (like most cities).
There is another cropping out the crazy hair of your president (not mine) and photo-shopping up his face enough to make him look semi-human.
Lastly, there was a video clip of a black man decking a young white (or Asian woman) female. The accusation that it was for not kneeling at a protest, but the grainy video was inaudible and she was wearing what looked like a winter coat (suggesting it wasn’t from the recent spate of protests). You never ever hit a female. I get that, but they can’t say 99 percent of all cops are good and not acknowledge that the vast majority of black men wouldn’t act this way, either?
And these comments … wow!
I could report them, and have the page taken down, but that would blow my cover.
Here are a few lowlights (poor punctuation — and profanity — left in, destroying my editor’s instincts) in this give and take:
-Poster A: “That my friends is a nigger. Say what you want.”
-Poster B: “At last someone with the balls to say it!!!They need fuckin’ destroyed before they ruin the country.”
-Poster A: “These dumb fucks need a history lesson. Slavery didn’t start here it ended up here and there are more rights for blacks in this country than whites the problem is they want everything for free and to play the race card because that’s what the Democratic Party has been feeding them since the late 30’s”
-Poster B: AMEN!! And the more we allow them to play the race card and get shit for free the more the problem gets perpetual motion in the action of bringing this country to its knees.”
And there was more, proving that Facebook’s Faux battle with hate speech can only be effective without a colonoscopy with the pages supporting your president (not mine).
“Give them their own state! In 5 years they will kill each other and then take the state back!”
“Start shooting their asses”
“put that stray dog down … he won’t be missed”
“I don’t wanna say what I’d do to that POS!!!!!!”
“It coming people. Wake up fast! Notice most of them pick on women and old people.”
“That’s what they do folks. Wake up out there.”
“Again I’m asking that someone PLEASE send me a video of a bunch of white kids beating on a black kid!!! I don’t know if they just don’t video it or it doesn’t happen?? I know I have seen a dozen of these videos. I think I’m questioning who the real racists are!!!”
“String him up!”
Yep, here I am, behind enemy lines. It’s a dirty business. I can see why Berg turned down a Medal of Freedom after the war. He probably just wanted to take a shower and forget it ever happened.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Starved for some cerebral sustenance, I found a show on Hulu called “The Food That Built America” that wove American history with the stories of the innovators that brought much of what we take for granted today – Coke, ketchup, chocolate, cereal, KFC, McDonald’s, etc. – into what we eat without a second thought.
As fascinating as it was, I almost didn’t get beyond the first 5-10 minutes because I was nearly nauseated watching how rancid meat was sold on the streets of yore, causing all sorts of disease.
The thing with red meat is that when it no longer stays red once it goes bad. Instead, it turns this grotesque green or greenish brown, and develops a smell that almost hit me through the television screen.
I couldn’t help but think of this when the entity that calls itself your president (not mine) defied the medical experts and attempted to hold one of his Hitleresque rallies in Tulsa.
The state of Oklahoma is one of those seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, but the plans went forward. The rally was originally slated for the same day Juneteenth, and in the city where a massacre of a black neighborhood took place in 1921.
Moved back a whole day (eye roll), with all the arrogance your president (not mine) can muster, the rally went forward.
But the steady diet of red meat thrown the crowd, the size of which fell short of predictions, was more of the spoiled variety.
It was no longer red, and it aroma made normal person sick to his or her stomach.
Moreover, the sparse crowd was asked to wash it down with water that would make that of Flint, Michigan taste like Poland Spring.
There was no mention of the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a policeman in Minneapolis. The media was blamed for the lower-than-expected turnout, as were left-wing “radicals” in the streets (so-called far-right nutsies were out there, too, but didn’t seem to have the cojones to do more than tote their weaponry and flex).
Inside, the blame game was played. The me-first diatribe included blaming the surge in COVID-19 cases, oddly happening in mostly red states, on … too much testing.
Acting like a third-grader on the short bus, your president (not mine) referred to the scourge that has already claimed more than 100,000 American lives as “Kung Flu” (yes, it started China, but there was time to prepare).
The red meat gone bad came in such gems as suggesting a one-year prison sentence for burning the American flag, which means it is seen as an act of treachery.
Oddly, your president (not mine) offered a contradictory stance on taking down statues of Confederate generals – or changing the names of Military bases named for them – as those generals. Those were all traitors as well, and took it one step beyond burning the flag, as they raised one of their own in battle and your president (not mine) sees no problem with these flags still being some sort of twisted part of American heritage.
Maybe there is sentimentality here. Maybe your president (not mine) was stationed at Fort Benedict Arnold. Never mind. Never got that far. Pres. Fake Bone Spurs never served anywhere, a fact that seems lost on his sycophants.
While the kickoff to his campaign was a kick in his ass, let’s stay measured here.
While it is all encouraging, I can’t get too excited about it.
We’ve dug this grave before, but no corpse was in the coffin.
The media, the same media that was guilty in the way the 2016 election went down by readily supplying more free coverage than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders combined. It was likely because it was seen as a detour from sanity – as a mere 15 minutes of national shame – and they wanted to be there to record every hateful word that was uttered for posterity.
What was underestimated was how a good portion of white America feeds on the steady diet of red meat being served.
Resentment built at the election of Barack Obama in 2008 – revealing itself in a drastic rise in militia groups, the Tea Party and the Birther movement that your president (not mine) bankrolled – and exploded like an atom bomb.
We are still dealing with the fallout, with the nuclear winter.
And followers are left with no other option but to consume grotesque food and poison themselves.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Another day, another call for Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale to either rescind this comments in the wake of the national protests over the George Floyd death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, or to flat out resign over them.
I’m going to shock you here a little bit, but don’t count me among the chorus.
You want him out? Do it the old-fashioned way — just like I hope you do with your president (not mine) and his many minions in elected office, at all level — and vote them out.
Once that door closes, he will have nowhere else to go.
And that will be the ultimate revenge.
I have it on good authority that Gale, knowing he will be permanently be the in the minority among the three elected spots among the commissioners, has joked that he has a job for life.
Let’s put the joke on him, and pull the plug then.
No need to do it now.
Gale spoke his mind. He revealed his true self, which was not a surprise, really. He has marched to the drum beat — chewing up and spitting out all the generic Fox News talking points — since he has been in the public eye.
No one really cared — or noticed — what he shared on Facebook (we’re “friends” on there) or passed along on Twitter.
Why do it now?
Pigs grunt. A pig grunted.
End of story.
It is his right, as an American citizen to do so, just as it was Colin Kaepernick’s right to take a knee and for everyone else to take to the streets in protest since the Floyd atrocity that — as horrific as it seemed — was the straw that broke the camel’s back, in terms of systemic police brutality.
There is a core group of people, drawn from the same demon spawn, that Gale is clearly trying to score points with by saying what he is saying about Black Lives Matter and Antifa. He doubled down with decrying how the City of Philadelphia, over which has no say as an elected official, pretty much erasing Frank Rizzo — the former police commissioner and mayor — from history (I don’t agree with that, either).
Let him be their hero.
Let him be our zero.
It’s almost laughable, really.
Trust me on this one. I’ve met this guy a few times. I’ve encountered mannequins with better personalities.
They say some human’s brains are not even fully formed until the age of 30. Gale is 30, and he still lives with his parents. Can’t you just picture him in the basement with his little “Don’t Tread On Me” flags on the wall?
Maybe all this is about — this unoriginal cut-and-paste from the likes of Steve Bannon — is a nothing but a cry for attention.
As tempting as it is, don’t give it to him.
Don’t give him any more oxygen.
It’s already a shame with share it.
Feel bad for this little boy lost.
Let him find his own way, post-election, when he doesn’t have his alleged “job for life” anymore.
As what has been proven by the last few weeks of Americans of all colors and creeds demanding their country back is that there are far bigger fish to fry than Joe Gale.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – I wouldn’t do that if you paid me a million dollars.
Who among us hasn’t used that saying?
Truth is, there is not much most of us wouldn’t do – short of something hideous and sadistic – for that kind of a payday.
But I can name two acts that my conscience would never allow.
One is to wave the Confederate flag, that of the side of the traitors, either proudly or to make some sort of a pointless point.
The other would be to take a knee during the national anthem — even though I strongly believe Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” has been, and remains, a better long-term fit, but I won’t go there (even though I just did).
The only difference is that I can understand, in the abstract, why the latter act (like the black power fist, sitting in or the flashing the peace sign) – all public displays of a peaceful protest – would spur one with a different life experience than mine to feel compelled.
None of those are hate speech.
The Confederate flag, well, that’s another story.
The two bloodiest wars for Americans, with more than one million casualties (deaths and wounded) each were the Civil War and World War II.
If you don’t believe me, look it up. I’ll wait.
You back? OK.
It goes way beyond that, though.
It was how they died. A lot of the weaponry was no different than what was used in World War I, and a lot of the battles were fought more up close and personal.
Many of the deaths were slow and painful, coming via infection after limbs were sawed off when wounds refused to heal.
Then, there was the psychological toll, one that we are still calculating in fits and starts.
In some cases, the Civil War pitted brother versus brother. In many more, it was cousin versus cousin.
There were – and still are – many ways to understand what the Confederacy was fighting for, as they will tell you it was a way of life that someone else was telling them not to live and for states’ rights.
But let’s not talk falsely now. The hour is getting late (Dylan reference).
The way of life, the states’ rights yarn, was about one thing: Slavery.
And the slaves were black, brought here in steerage from Africa for decades.
The prime source of income for the South (i.e. Confederacy) was cotton, and the slaves bled their figures raw picking cotton for, well, nothing. They were slaves. Their families were separated, sometimes when children were less than five, or they never existed as family units as all.
It would be unfair to say they were second-class citizens, as they weren’t citizens at all.
Up North, even as they also reaped the economic reward of the cotton trade, this whole centuries-old act wore so thin that a brutal and bloody war seemed inevitable.
And so it was.
I’m not sure why, in 2020, there would be any other need to display – out in the open and proudly – the Confederate flag than to pledge allegiance to racism.
I’ve been told it’s more about the right to do it, if they want, but that falls directly under the definition of prattle.
Often waved alongside that of the Swastika flag of World War II enemy Nazi Germany, which makes even less sense (as if that were even possible), we see it.
We often see the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, which has meant many things to many different people since the 18th century. At present, it seems to be where patriotism flows into jingoism, but not as offensive to all-out flags of hate speech – at least not yet.
It doesn’t need to be.
I was startled – and aghast – in the summer of 2016, when we took a Pennsylvania road trip.
The first stop was Gettysburg, where the seminal battle of the Civil War was fought on July 1-3 in 1863.
There were some Confederate flags there – whether or T-shirts, bumper stickers, paper weights, mugs etc. – for sale (especially on the outskirts of town). I guess that could be expected, while not condoned.
As we drove through the rest of Pennsylvania, though, it got a bit strange. Weaving through some small towns on the way to our other destinations (Johnstown, Pittsburgh, the stupid place where the ground hog comes out once a year, etc.), I continued to see plenty of Confederate flags — from porches, pickup trucks and tattoos.
So many, in fact, that I had to remind a much younger Sofia – and myself – that we were, still above the Mason-Dixon Line.
It was a sign – or flag – of the times.
The times of doom.
A certain entity – an entity I will neither refer to as a “man” or a “person” – was mounting what was a controversially successful bid for The White Horse, and this so-called “human” was running plays out of Hitler’s playbook by throwing chum to a staunch base fed up with a black (biracial, actually) president for two terms.
Following a route that their GPS systems first took them, which was to join Tea Parties, they made another sharp right and let their patriotism crash into a wall of jingoism.
The saying, “Make America Great Again,” was too hard – on either side – to ignore.
Against this backdrop, in the summer of 2016, Colin Kaepernick – then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers – didn’t stand for the national anthem of a preseason game.
When asked about it, he told reporters it was in protest of how blacks were treated in the United States.
After some backlash about disrespecting veterans, which seemed a bit off-point, he began to kneel instead of sit on the bench and stare into space (poor optics, if nothing else).
Players around the league soon joined, giving the presumptive Republican candidate more red meat.
To this day, while I’m with Kaepernick on both his right to peacefully protest and the basics of his cause of racial injustice, I’m not 100 percent convinced the whole thing wasn’t a tantrum because he was bumped to No. 2 on the depth chart behind a white quarterback.
He didn’t help himself during the whole controversy by wearing socks with cartoon pigs depicted as police officers to practice (more bad optics), and it should be noted that he is biologically biracial and was raised in an upper middle-class adoptive family.
One – either a person of color who has a had it tougher or a white person from the right trying to drive a truck through his argument — could successfully ask: “What does he know about it?”
However, President Obama was also biracial and raised by his white grandparents outside the ghetto walls. That didn’t stop the Confederate flag-waving hate machine – including a birther movement wondering if he was a Muslim and not a Christian – from churning its wheels.
That didn’t stop the current person who calls himself your president (not mine) to exploit it all to his advantage (including tirades against Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in three years and probably never will again, and other players who exercised their right of free speech and supported him”.
Would I personally kneel? No. Not for a million dollars. But it is interesting to note that those most critical of him – and others that your president (not mine) demanded be “fired” – condone, at least on some level, are the same who take no issue with displaying the Confederate flag.
That’s different, they say.
It’s free speech.
Once you got two, you got none.
Kind of like flags.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE – Reggie Brown.
That’s the guy’s name.
No, I’m not talking about the former Eagles’ receiver who had a couple of decent seasons after the departure of Terrell Owens and before the trio of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant.
I’m am also not talking about the inventor of Snapchat or the children’s illustrator.
Instead, I am referring to the world’s greatest Barack Obama impersonator.
Brown (pictured below) was introduced to a national audience by Bill Maher shortly after your president (not mine) was elected. Brown used the platform of Maher’s nationally televised show on HBO to roll through what were then some of the “greatest missed hits” of your president (not mine).
The segment was called “What If Obama Said it?” and, man, it was a textbook case of using comedy to reveal a seriously underlying issues of racial hypocrisy that began bubbling on the surface – like the fires of Centralia – when Obama was first elected.
These simmering feelings turned acceptable when your president (not mine) fanned those flames with birther movement and then successfully ran for president by pushing those same buttons with the large print at rallies that would have made El Duce blush.
Brown’s performance that night – using the verbatim rants of your president (not mine) in Obama’s voice — ranged from the sexist Access Hollywood tapes that seemed to get lost in the shuffle in the election run-up to a multitude of other obnoxious remarks (i.e. about John McCan not being a war hero because he was captured and referring to Frederick Douglass as if her were still alive) that were not befitting of a president in any civilized time and place.
Perhaps Maher was shortsighted, like many of us “snowflakes” on the left, thinking your president (not mine) would somehow grow into the position and stop uttering such immature nonsense.
After all — wink, wink – there are “good people on both sides.”
Instead, there has been serious shrinkage.
A whole lot of it.
And Brown (check him out on YouTube), as a regular – or semi-regular – would have be able to illuminate this overriding serious issue, whether it be as simple as who plays golf more to who really acts like a dictator with executive orders.
Consider it a lost opportunity, but it can be placed in the gone-but-not-forgotten file.
We still see it every day, this ongoing case of America in black and white – not to mention the tan suit Obama was vilified for wearing while your president (not mine) drags toilet paper on his shoe up the stairway to Air Force One.
We saw it when Michelle Obama was taken to task for “telling our kids what to eat” in her official First Lady cause of battling childhood obesity. Meanwhile, the current wife of your president (not mine) preaches anti-bullying while her own husband preaches from a divisive bully pulpit eight days a week.
I often look at that picture of Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem and take inventory of the viewpoints it reveals. To some, he was disrespecting the flag our forefathers died to protect. While I’m not quite sure they gave their lives to protect a piece of cloth as much as the other working class kid next to them in the foxhole, I can get it to the point that I could never personally kneel.
But I can respect that others see it as a form of peaceful protest of some serious issues – serious issues of an America locked in a cultural tug of war over double standards.
I have always said that once you have double standards, you have none. I’m sure someone said it first, and more eloquently, but I’m claiming credit for now.
I know, I know … We have bigger fish to fry right now, trying to survive an historic pandemic, than who said what first about hypocrisy.
But this disparity – this sickening Color War – rages on.
Citizens, largely Caucasian, are storming the Bastille, demanding their little lives return back to normal way before it is safe to do so.
These protestors are stomping their feet, and toting their AK-47s (not sure how that factors into their “argument,” but I suppose anything goes when it’s not founded in logic anyway), all around the country.
But Ground Zero seems to be Lansing, Michigan. That just so happens to be where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sets up shop.
Whitmer was considered a leading candidate for the bottom half of Joe Biden’s presidential ticket, but her brand has been sufficiently damaged to the point that she is now on the “B” list just for doing the prudent thing and trying to keep all her constituents, even those who would shoot her on sight, safe.
Hard to believe the ying-yangs protesting are smart enough to know they were being exploited by some sort of nefarious effort to have a VP candidate tip the scales in a vital swing state.
But it is easy to believe that if the protesters were people of color – African-American, Hispanic, Arab, Asian, etc. – that the same double standards between Obama and the current fool’s fool who calls himself your president (not mine) bubble to the surface.
We are talking about people – you know, our friends from the White Right – waving a flag of treachery (Confederate) that shed American blood in its quest get buzzcuts again.
We are talking about people getting so much into the faces of police, the same police that took on a new level of rightful respect after 9/11, that their spit is probably going to their faces on their clothes.
Those who are actually carrying American flags, either with or instead of enemy flags, are seen routinely letting them drop to the ground (but Kaepernick can’t a knee in their eyes).
But, well, it’s the First Amendment when they do it, right?
They get a wink and a nod from your president (not mine), just like the “good people” from that side who invaded Charlottesville like termites.
Meanwhile, as Covid-19 is infecting people of color, there are no plaudits from on high for their suffering in silence.
People wonder why the United States is suddenly ranking first in the world in cases and scratch their heads.
Easier answer: We are anything but united. And we have a leader who does lead, as he thrives in the vast divide.
That is why.
This is us in the U.S.
And The picture — people who don’t want to be tread upon asking to be tread upon — is not a pretty one.
The following is how a column I wrote in 2012 about how I felt about Obamacare …
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Back when hockey was hockey, they had these things called ties.
For we hockey purists, there was nothing inherently wrong with ties.
The key is that there were good ties and bad ties.
If three 20-minute periods – and later a mini-me frame of five minutes that usually saw both teams play it so conservatively that you would have thought Barry Goldwater and Pat Buchanan were coaching – left the score knotted (except in the playoffs), so be it.
It wasn’t until non-hockey people – cut from the same cloth as those who were appalled by outbreaks of fisticuffs – came along and said they couldn’t take the sport seriously because they went to a game once and it ended in a tie.
I presume that left them feeling unfulfilled.
What hockey haters didn’t know was that there were good ties and bad ties. Example: If a team was playing its sixth road game in eight nights and battled back from a 4-1 deficit to earn a 4-4 tie, that was a good tie.
For the other team, well, not so much.
Being a hockey guy (pronounce that ‘gee,’ giving it a French Canadian flare), I don’t always view life’s twists and turns as wins and losses.
Just like arguments are not always being black and white, the outcome was not always a win or a loss.
But we live in a society where the vocal minority gets appeased.
Now, in place of a righteous deadlock, hard-fought games are settled in the most stupid fashion known to professional sports – shootouts (like playing H-O-R-S-E if a basketball game is tied, or having a home run derby – in lieu of extra innings – in baseball).
Sometimes, in the game of life, there are ties.
Upon further review of the Supreme Court’s recent health care ruling, the narrow victory for President Barack Obama is a tie for the American public.
True, a loss would have been devastating for the proletariat, not to mention the death knell for Obama’s re-election bid against Mitt Romney.
In that sense, we the people are looking at a good tie.
But time, more than any Supreme Court justice acting on transparent political motivation, will be the ultimate judge.
The health care system is still in critical condition, and all you have to do to confirm that ongoing status is talk off-the-record with the doctors and nurses on the front lines.
Dreaded Obamacare – a right-wing code word for letting ‘them’ have something for nothing, even though it is a virtual identical twin to Romney’s health care plan when he was governor of Massachusetts – will, among other things, do the following, now that the high court upheld the Affordable Care Act by a 5-4 vote:
•Young adults, you know the ones who are lucky to get part-time jobs in retail after taking out obnoxious amounts of dough from legal lone sharks to catch a whiff of whatever stench the lure of the American dream is giving off these days, are allowed to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
•Not denying children – yes, children (not inmates on death row) – insurance via some non-medical person behind a desk who may or may not know what it’s like to have a sick child.
•Not allowing people with pre-existing medical conditions to be denied coverage – if they can avoid the grim reaper until 2014 (nice, huh?).
•Thirty million Americans (excluding illegal immigrants) who don’t have health insurance can get it (the White House estimates only 4 million people will reject that benefit).
Go ahead, read them there bullet points again.
I’ll wait. Now let it sink in.
Making sure children get health care, whether or not their parents knew the rules of the game (and make no mistake, this ain’t nothing but a cruel game)?
Letting young adults, thrust into an economical nightmare not of their making, have a safety net should they get into a car accident or tear a knee playing hoops?
That’s s-s-socialism? That’s giving the country away?
That’s what you think is making the founding fathers spin in their graves?
Sounds more like an attempt – and more like a bunt than a home-run swing – at solving human problems with semi-humane solutions.
The high court equated the mandate to have health insurance to a tax, a hot-button word (tax) which makes many on the right go apoplectic before they even stop tea-partying enough to learn the facts.
Your tax money is going to go somewhere, folks.
That’s a fact. I don’t get how it is better for the money to go toward a nuclear warhead that can help us blow up the world 1,001 times over instead of 1,000, than to heal a sick child who may find the cure to cancer one day.
I don’t get how it’s acceptable to let the health industry and drug companies – the same unholy alliance that would probably conspire to keep that cure to cancer under wraps so they can keep making money – hold us hostage.
I don’t get how you don’t want the government, the one theoretically in place to protect us from such evil pursuits, to serve as negotiator and free us from these chains.
Doesn’t sound very American to me.
Doesn’t sound very Judeo-Christian.
Doesn’t sound like we are taking care of our own.
Doesn’t sound like waving the flag – and chanting ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.’ – is going to make it go away.
I’m as a patriotic as the next guy, but give me a reason to be proud.
We are ranked 37th in the world in health care, while leading the world in health care spending.
If you accept that – and to the illogical point that you don’t want to even try out what eight presidents (including ones with skin as white as Ivory soap) have wanted – the only conclusion to draw is that you are not playing to win.
That’s why we are losing. That’s why ties – like the the Supreme Court gave us – are the best we can hope for right now during these days of being torn in the U.S.A.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — If Amy McGrath were running for public office in more liberal parts of the country, she would only be able to keep a straight face by a being a right of center Republican.
Sane-minded Republicans, the few that have yet to be tarred and feathered for thinking for themselves, will eat up her unprecedented military service. Free of bone spurs, McGrath flew 89 combat missions during her 20 years in the Marines, breaking the that branch’s gender barrier.
Heavily decorated for her service, Lt. Col McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, then entered politics – as a Democrat – in 2017 (even though her husband is a Republican).
Her stances on key issues – like supporting the second amendment with some baby steps with background checks — place put her firmly into the center lane, where she is careful not to make a dangerous move, lest she commit career suicide in home state of Kentucky.
Concerning your president (not mine), McGrath has stated: “I want to do what’s best for Kentucky,” adding she will support him when he has good ideas. “To me it’s not about your political party, it’s not about wearing a red jersey or blue jersey.”
In a state where it would be a shock if a referendum on going back to white and colored water fountains would not shock me, she has to walk that tightrope like a Wallenda.
She accepts climate change as fact, but with a keen eye toward what substantial legislation would mean for the coal regions of eastern Kentucky.
Not to be confused with Bernie Sanders, she is firmly behind Obamacare as is and against free college tuition.
And yet, Amy McGrath is my favorite politician right now.
Of her combat missions, what she faces now may be her most important.
With no more need to donate my $27 to the Sanders campaign for mugs and bumper stickers, I may just send some that way.
And, if you want to save the Union, you should feel the same.
She is running for senate in Kentucky against none other than Mitch McConnell, who struggles for a 20 percent approval rating nationally but is around 50 percent in the home state he rarely even graces with his presence (and allows for eastern Kentucky to remain in squalor while overwhelmingly grabbing votes there).
Your president (not mine) can’t help the fact that he is who he is, as we all knew he was who was before too many of you (not me) gave a sociopath his ultimate playroom.
It is his enablers, both in the House (before the 2018 midterms) and still in the Senate, that have collectively failed to give him his rabies vaccine.
Some know better, speaking in hushed tones under condition anonymity about how they’d like to vote for sanity, if they only could, on draconian policies.
But they fear retribution so much that they follow the lead of McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who would probably block aid to starving kittens if his lord and master – not to mention special interest groups – told him so.
I have engaged with many other concerned lefties about other contests — from Arizona and Colorado to Maine and Iowa — that could help tilt the Senate back to a place of sanity and humanity.
McGrath is currently being given a 45 percent chance of winning, suggesting a waste of money and effort, as compared to those. I get it, but the whole landscape could continue to change with what is going on currently with the coronavirus and the economy.
My argument with throwing unmitigated support behind McGrath is that a victory, seen as difficult but not impossible, would kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.
It would knock McConnell off his perch of power, and send his butt bhome.
The fact that she has built a nice war chest already, which is driving McConnell bonkers, shows that I am not alone.
Why is this so important?
Let’s recount the ways, using the book “Un-Trumping America: A Plan to make America a Democracy Again” by Dan Pfeiffer, the cohost of the podcast “Pod Save America.”
Quickly establishing that your president (not mine) is nothing but a petulant child who can’t help himself, he begins getting to root of the matter, with the scourge he calls “McConnellism” by page 13.
It boils down, as he breaks it down, to a cultural Civil War between Yes We Can vs. Because We Can.
In his position of power, he led blockades against President Barack Obama without showing any willingness to compromise, as he lone stated agenda was for him to be a single-term president
As much as the Russians and the poor timing of James Comey, he set the table for your president (not mine) to place our democracy in peril.
McConnell does nothing because it is or is not the right thing to do in his mind. That would mean he has a belief system and a moral compass in the first place.
He will hold up a stop sign simply because he can.
Pfeiffer flat-out dubs McConnell as “the worst person in American politics.”
And that’s saying something, since we have the worst president in modern American history in the Oval Office.
So here we are, with Amy McGrath. Her bid to unseat McConnell, and turn McConnellism to ash, may be just as important – if not more so – than the presidential race.
She’s all we have, and the best we can hope for in a state like Kentucky, so let’s do all we can to make it happen.
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Stop asking, will ya?
Yes, I’ve accepted the sad fact that Bernie Sanders will not be president of the United States.
Some of that is on him, I must admit. He was fantastic with laying out the broad strokes of all that ails our ailing nation, he had a hard time when quizzed on the minutiae.
What a pity.
The details were there. They just could not be captured in a sound bite on the debate stage or even in an interview with Rachel Maddow.
And saying “go to the website,” while helpful for we the diligent few, amounts to bad optics.
In both 2015-16, and again in 2019-20, Sanders was grilled on how he was going to pay for his ambitious plans to level the playing field and he could never quite get a piece of that hittable curve ball.
And here we are. It took a pandemic on the level of the Black Plague and the 1918 Spanish Flu (even though Spain had nothing to do with it) to prove him right.
Locked up in our homes like the “Man in the Iron Mask,” with the economy at a standstill – an irony of all ironies, since your president (not mine) is like a savant who only sees life in dollars and cents without any common sense – the House and Senate voted on a stimulus package in an attempt to do an end run around a pending depression.
The price tag? Try $2 trillion.
For all those who asked Sanders how he was going to pay for it, guess what? You just did.
And at an amount well above his wildest dreams of free college tuition, health care and combat against climate change.
You can argue that it took a so-called act of God – coronavirus — to create the need for the elected leaders, grudgingly in a troubling number of cases, to meet the need in a one-time payment.
Sanders, and backers like myself, will respond that the human crisis was always there. It was just always neatly tucked away, out of view, while the mainstream media didn’t venture too far from the center lane to unearth the underlying issues that made us more prone to a scourge. It was a storm without a name.
People were dying of hunger, because of lack of health care and going broke just to keep roof over their heads.
The coronavirus is easy to talk about in its own narrow context, but not in a broader one. People are going to work, defying orders, because they have no choice. They have preexisting conditions, weakening their immune systems, making them more susceptible. This are issues all in Sanders’ longstanding, and unwavering, wheelhouse.
They are most vulnerable, and the most vulnerable now to the threat of a spread of the virus. It might interest some of you to note that, while I still get e-mails from the Sanders campaign, they are no longer asking for donations to it.
Instead, they are asking for donations to several organizations seeking to help working families, whether it is restaurant workers or Amazon workers or those who won’t be able to make their next month’s rent.
That’s what he has been all about for decades, and that’s what he is all about today. How and why he didn’t receive more black support (other than from, maybe, those in the middle class) and from seniors will keep historians occupied for decades.
I can’t help but mention that polls suggested Sanders might have fared better in the 2016 general election than did Hillary Clinton, who was more palatable for dyed in the wool Democrats but not enough with swayable people in the street.
What would that have meant now? It would have not have stopped the coronavirus, and no one should suggest anyone would, but a less archaic and nearly criminal healthcare system would have been in place to provide resistance.
Proactive testing — like in Iceland or Germany – would have happened sooner. People would have been able to shelter in place by late February or early March without fear of surviving, as a President Sanders (or Clinton, to be fair) would not have been in a state of denial.
But, while reality has now endorsed Bernie Sanders for president after all, he was a victim of his own inability to full articulate what he wanted to implement.
We – the so-called Bernie Bros. – always got it, but doubters needed more and never got enough candy in their trick-or-trick bags to wipe the masked smirks off their faces.
When they cried socialism – conveniently dropping “Democratic” from in front of it – he should have said “Nordic Model.” Instead, he repeatedly just copped to the charge and threw himself at the mercy of the court of common opinion.
And he never realized that the term “Medicare for All” scared the bleep out of too many people, especially seniors. He should have just said “universal health care” and left it at that.
As I age – I just reached a new demographic of “55 and over” – I have come to reach the conclusion that your legacy is all you have.
It equates to the fairy tale of ascending to heaven, just as a negative legacy equates to going to hell and no legacy to speak of equates to purgatory.
And Bernie Sanders, when history is written, will have a legacy that will prove him to have been a man a good decade ahead of his time. He will go down as the father of the modern progressive movement that may save this country from itself.
And one day, when someone like Alexendaria Ocasio-Cortez becomes president, his name will be fondly evoked.
Because of his age, he may or may not be alive to see it.
Let’s hope that we are.