No doubt Keith and Andrea Smrekar of Concord Township is a very fine, well-meaning and upstanding couple. But they simply are dead wrong about LeBron James and other athletes that refuse to go to the White House after winning championships. The Smrekars feel that the office of the president should always be respected, even if these high profile athletes feel — similar to so many other Americans — that the person occupying it at present isn’t worthy of respect.
In a letter to the PD they state how they “nearly always disagreed with President Barack Obama, but … respected him and the office of the president.” What they obviously fail to comprehend is the fact President Obama conducted himself and the business of the presidency with complete dignity, grace, and respect — for everyone, and at all times.
But contrast that to how Trump has conducted himself from the very beginning. There are so many examples, but I’ll just cite two of the most egregious: Mocking a physically disabled reporter and stating how he grabs women by their pussies. Respect should not be automatically ceded to anyone, no matter how high the office; it always has to be earned. Following the Smrekar’s logic, they would give respect to a murdering despot, simply because that person occupied the highest office in the land at the time. That’s downright dangerous thinking.
There’s an old saying, “You can’t win a mud-wrestling contest against a pig because the pig simply loves being in the mud and you probably don’t.” And that’s certainly true, at least up to a certain point. But sometimes you just have to get down and dirty with the pig. We now see that Trumpism must be challenged at every turn, by every peaceful means available, and by all true Americans, even if that means splashing around in the mud on occasion.
The problem with Michelle Obama’s dictum, “When they go low, we go high,” is that it makes us into noble victims, and victimhood is never empowering; it doesn’t turn out enough voters. We need to raise as much hell and fight back as hard as the right is fighting against us. This is the most effective way to get people to the polls and thereby win elections. Just look at the Democratic primary win by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over long-time Congressman Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th District. She didn’t pull off the victory by playing softball; she was spitting fire, invective and occasionally vituperation. She didn’t go low, but she went hard.
Currently, there’s a controversy over comments made by Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California. She stated that citizens should continue to call out members of the Trump administration when they’re out in the public and make them feel uncomfortable by expressing displeasure with how this administration is conducting the business of the country. This is not only fair but necessary in a representative democracy.
Yet, right-wing commentators are all going ballistic over Waters’ comments (in spite of the fact she never called on the public to do physical violence to anyone) but always remained stone mute when Trump called for actual physical violence against individuals who spoke out against him at rallies when he was running for office. Their hypocrisy is astounding … monumental … staggering.
The Smrekar’s letter rightfully lauds LeBron, citing all of the finer points of his character, none of which he diminishes by speaking out and calling a bum a bum. But for this couple to admonish him, or anyone else, to remain silent and respect the office of the Presidency when the person currently occupying the White House is conducting himself in such a totally disrespectful manner is totally wrong — indeed, as wrong as two left shoes.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.