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September 26 2017

Headline of the Day: Trump vs. Tattooed Millionaires

by Charlotte Hays

Whatever you think about President Trump's butting heads with the NFL, you have to find it disturbing that people who have become multimillionaires in the freest country in history refuse to honor that country's national anthem. It is sad that they feel that way about a country that has done well by them.

The politicization of football began three years ago, before Trump was president, when the St. Louis Rams ran onto the field in the "hands-up, don't shoot" position, in homage to Michael Brown, the African American teen who was shot and killed by a policeman in what was later found to be a justified shooting. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularized kneeling for the national anthem.

In a way, as Steven Malanga points out in a City Journal piece headlined "Trump vs. Tattooed Millionaires," the athletes have become just one more segment of a rich, spoiled elite that does not appreciate its good fortune in having been born and attained immense wealth in the U.S. Malanga writes:

It’s often said that trends in professional sports mirror the larger society, and certainly the growing distance between increasingly rich players—“tattooed millionaires,” to some—and their fans reflects the same kind of division that drove millions of blue-collar voters to Trump. Once upon a time, professional athletes not only came out of working-class, scrappy neighborhoods, but they also pretty much stayed working class their entire lives.

Until as recently as the late 1960s, NFL lineman worked construction or loaded trucks in the offseason to pay their bills. Players with a college degree traded on their celebrity status to sell stocks or insurance. (The policy my mother cashed in when my father died was sold to him in the early 1960s by a retired New York Giants player).

Many of today’s players, by contrast, live in a world of ostentatious homes, fast cars, and red-carpet celebrity appearances, far from the struggles of those whose support pays their salaries. These players have deemed themselves important enough to impose their political views on ordinary fans watching sports as a respite from life’s daily grind.

Another member of the entertainment elite, George Clooney recently published a prayer that alludes to the NFL players's kneeling. Here's Clooney's prayer:

“I pray for my country.
I pray that we can find more that unites us than divides us.
I pray that our nation’s leaders want to do the same.
I pray that young children like Tamir Rice can feel safe in their own neighborhood.
I pray for all of our children.
I pray for our police and our first responders.
I pray for our men and women of the armed services.
I pray that dissent will always be protected in this great country.
I pray for a more perfect union.
And when I pray, I kneel.”

Saint Augustine he's not, but I commend Mr. Clooney for praying and hope that God finds his prayer less passive aggressive than I do.  As for uniting our country, Mr. Clooney might do his bit by not giving any more money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was a good organization when it started in the Civil Rights era, but now does little more than stoke hatred.

I am not hopeful that Mr. Clooney or the NFL players will stop their antics any time soon--this is all about being trendy, being with-it and right now in elite circles it's stylish to run down the country, which dared to elected as president a man they hate.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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