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We’ll defend free speech, yell the ever so present defenders of free speech. In the background plays God Bless America, a bald eagle sheds a tear and Kid Rock rips a guitar solo with red white and blue fireworks lighting up the sky.
That is until players start to kneel in defiance of their military industrial masters who have spent millions to indoctrinate the people that watch players beat each other up for our amusement. WE DON’T WANT POLITICS IN OUR SPORTS! Yell the people who watch as our sons and daughters parade around the stadiums, some of them no doubt going to lose their lives in the wars to come.
I’M FOR FREE SPEECH! they yell, as they cheer on Trump for saying he’ll tear down libel laws, sue organizations that don’t love him, and even threatened to strip NBC of their license for simply reporting that Trump may or may not have a hard on for nukes.
And then we watch the black-masked anarchists attack their opponents in the streets, no matter who they align to. Actual Nazis, white nationalists, centrists, leftists, conservatives, they don’t care what your political ideology is. But they’ll tear gas people of color in the defense of people of color, attack a black man because he doesn’t support their chosen candidates, and mace a woman for wearing a red hat.
BUT WE’RE AGAINST NAZIS! They yell, as if they were at Omaha Beach, Hurtgen Forest, Stalingrad, Kursk, and Berlin combined. WE’RE PROTECTING PEOPLE OF COLOR as they attack people of color. Everything will soon be a Wolfenstein video game unless we back Antifa. If we don’t, mechanical Hitler will rise from his humble job as a sheepherder in Argentina to lead the hordes of Nazi zombies buried in secret graves all across America.
It has always been a mess. The right-winger will say that it’s the left is racist. Wasn’t the Democrats who founded the Confederacy, slavery, and Jim Crow? And then when you say that Confederate statues should be brought down -as they were Democrats who fought for slavery and then Jim Crow- you’ll get a mess of defenses ranging from ‘you’re tearing down history’ (I didn’t realize that books and museums went extinct during this time) to ‘where does it end?’ (It ends somewhere. Parents don’t say, ‘Well we’ve given Charlotte chocolate, might as well shoot her up with heroin!’)
The left-winger will say that it’s the right that’s racist. And it’s true, the right does have racist elements. After all, it was the right who drove out poor minority kids from liberal enclaves like San Francisco, Portland…wait a minute. It was the right who signed a massive crime bill that imprisoned millions of blacks in the 1990s…It was the right who overlook cities like Detroit and Chicago…well hell. The right has been overlooking states like Texas, North Carolina, and god forbid, Florida, where blacks and Latinos have been moving to. But it’s the right that has a monopoly on racism, right?
YOU’RE A CENTRIST! partisans will yell at you. PICK A SIDE, they demand, YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE!
No, I don’t. I can pick and choose what I support or don’t support. There’s a reason why I have an I next to my name when I see my voter registration. There’s a reason why I can side with Rand Paul most days and Bernie Sanders on matters that aren’t about economic or guns.
Here’s my simple advice. You can choose when you can support or don’t support someone. Just because Rand Paul is the best damn thing in the Senate since sliced bread doesn’t mean I support him one hundred percent. Just because Kamala Harris is an idiot doesn’t mean I can’t support her when she does something smart, like team up with Rand Paul. Just because Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer doesn’t mean that I can’t criticize the so-called ‘one of the most libertarian members of the Senate’ when he does something unlibertarian, like vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Just because Trump won doesn’t mean you have to defend him every time he says something idiotic, like being anti-free speech.
Of course, this is a simplistic explanation of both sides. It’s meant to be. You’re guilty of it. Your opponent is guilty of it.
Stop playing partisan games. Support who you wanna support. Oppose who you wanna oppose. But do it on consistent and principled grounds, not just because the guy happens to have an R or D next to their name.