There was a big college football game between Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama, to be played on Alabama’s home field yesterday afternoon. For some reason that still evades me, Trump and Melania attended the game … at our expense, of course.
Now, in recent weeks, Trump has received less than warm receptions at other sporting events, such as game #5 of the World Series where Washington Nationals fans ‘boo-ed’ him and chanted “lock him up!” One Fox News commentator said …
“They should hold those fans accountable. You don’t boo the president! You show respect to him!”
Excuse me, sir, but respect is earned, and thus far Mr. Trump has done nothing to earn mine. Though I have mixed feelings about the boo-ing and chanting, it is a means of peaceful protest, and I’m pretty sure that had I been at that game, I would have boo-ed as loud as any.
And then, there was the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) last week that was attended by Trump, accompanied by his sons Junior and Eric and Republican lawmakers Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows and Peter King. The crowd there also jeered the party, and some even held signs calling for Trump’s impeachment and removal. One gets the impression that he is not as well-loved by ‘everybody’ as he claims, yes?
So, fool that he is, he made plans to attend this Alabama college game. College campuses were almost made for protest, it seems. Young people in the U.S. today are politically savvy and most are not very happy with the way the country is being run, so it stands to reason that there will be protests, right? But wait! Officials at the University of Alabama declared that any students caught “disrupting” Trump’s visit would lose their reserved seating for the remainder of the season. This is a direct violation of students’ First Amendment right to engage in peaceful protest, to make their voices heard.
And so it was that Trump received a ‘warm’ reception at the game on Friday night. Too bad … I think it would have been appropriate if everyone had protested by boycotting the game. But, there was at least one protest outside the stadium …The baby Trump balloon was on display at a park near the stadium! For a few minutes, anyway … until some over-zealous Alabaman/Trumpian decided to … slash it!According to one of the organizers of the protest …
“It was a random dude just ran up to the balloon, stuck a knife in it, and ran off. We had police close by because of another driver earlier, so they went over and arrested him and his getaway driver.”
Three things bother me greatly about this:
- Why has Trump, with Melania in tow, wasted taxpayer money and his time to attend three separate sporting events in the course of two weeks? Does he really have so much free time on his hands? Is there not work he could be doing? Is this what we pay him for??? Or are we paying to feed his over-bloated ego, paying for him to “be seen” by his loyal masses?
- If the students of the University of Alabama had to be threatened in order to give Trump a ‘warm’ reception, doesn’t that tell you something about the sentiment of the public toward Trump? And … where were the students’ first amendment rights? I know it’s Alabama, but last I looked on the map, it is still one of the 50 ‘United’ states, and as such, its people have the same rights, as afforded by the U.S. Constitution, as any of us.
- Where is the civility? I do not recall a single time that anybody acted in this manner when President Obama made a public appearance. But then, I don’t recall Obama ever acting in the manner in which Trump acts in public, either. Perhaps it’s true what they say, that sh*t flows downhill, and Trump’s behaviour has flowed all the way down to his fans. But, are we really going to allow Trump’s behaviour and hateful rhetoric cause us to regress as a society to the point that we cannot even allow a peaceful protest?
The right to peaceful protest is one part of the foundation of this nation. But, like every other right, it is contingent on accepting the responsibility that accompanies it. When protests turn violent, we risk losing that right. But, think about it … remember during the 2016 campaign when more than once, Trump urged people to perpetrate violence on protestors? Remember he even told one group at a rally that he would pay their legal bills if they were arrested for beating up protestors? I wonder if he will offer to pay the legal bills for the man who slashed the balloon? Remember when Trump applauded then-candidate, now-Congressman Greg Gianforte for beating up a reporter who simply asked him a question he didn’t like?
No matter what side of the political fence a person is on, there is simply no excuse for violence. This, coupled with the lunacy of the gun culture in this country, is a recipe for disaster. I thought we were better than this, but more and more I’m learning that we are not.