It’s time to Break It Down!
To paraphrase Charles E. Weller, a not particularly acclaimed typing teacher whose phraseology is much better known than he, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” Typing drill notwithstanding, never has a single catch phrase been truer…or quite frankly, more compelling, vis-à-vis the future of our great nation. The United States of America, of it’s own volition, plunged into the depths of governing darkness, when on November 8, 2016, it elected Donald J. Trump the 45th President of the United States.
Since President Trump was inaugurated in January, countless efforts have emerged to challenge his ascendance. Collectively those efforts are frequently referred to as The Resistance, or simply RESIST. The ongoing national conversation, or more aptly, debate, concerning whether we as a nation should embrace the TrumpWorld philosophy of dissembling, deflecting, and/or distracting, or stand and fight the power, not unlike Republicans of virtually every stripe, conventional, and non-conventional, did for the entirety of President Obama’s two terms, roils our political discourse daily. This trench warfare will almost surely continue for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, every now and then, a voice bursts upon the scene and speaks a clarion truth so scintillatingly poignant that it minimizes, if not mutes, all others. For this week anyway, Gregg Popovich has done that…for me. I admit, last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, nailed it. His alleged “eff’n moron” appellation was acutely forceful, conceptually, yet subtle due to Tillerson’s deftly dancing around whether he really made the comment. San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich left no such lingering question of certitude about whether he said what he said. He did.
Like in virtually every instance of resistance to TrumpWorld antics, the protest or act of resisting was preceded by Trump’s own comments. Sometimes it’s a tweet, at other times it’s remarks, but it’s always something. This time, during an impromptu news conference at the White House on Monday, Trump told the assembled media that he’d personally written letters to the families of soldiers who’d been slain in Niger, and that those letters had either been sent, or were going to be sent later in the day. He claimed to have written them over the weekend, and asserted that he would soon call the families. He insisted that calling is something that he traditionally does, but that he wanted some time to pass, and that he’d do it when it’s appropriate.
In discussing his actions, Trump apparently felt compelled to invent a fictitious contrast between his actions, and those of President Obama and other Presidents, whom he suggested never, or seldom called such families. More precisely, he said:
“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls.” He went on to add, “President Obama, I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals. Other presidents did not call. They’d write letters. And some presidents didn’t do anything. But I like, I like the combination of – I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.”
As you might imagine, such a statement, ubiquitous and nonsensical claims of fake news and alternative facts to the contrary, is easily researchable. This one was quickly proved to be false.
From the standpoint of those inclined to pushback against the never nuanced machinations of Mr. Trump, there is seldom heard a more piercing, probing, or powerful voice than that of Gregg Popovich. He has weighed-in a number of times, and did so again Monday. Popp’s Spurs teams have won five NBA Titles. He is considered a basketball savant by many fans of the sport. In the past he has previously decried Trump’s disgusting tone and tenor, as well as his xenophobic, homophobic, racist, and misogynistic comments. However, according to Dave Zirin, a writer for The Nation, he’d never heard Popovich more frustrated, fed up, tense, and angry than he was about Trump’s comments Monday. In response to the above noted commentary, expressed by Trump, Popovich said:
“I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just never-ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous Presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have words (almost).
The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner – and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers – is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
Then he said, “Bye, Dave.”
The beauty of Popp’s comments, among other things is, by contrast to those attributed to Rex Tillerson, Popovich, always comfortable in his own skin, owned his comments like a boss. He prefaced his remarks by saying, directly, to Zirin:
“I want to say something, and please make sure this is on the record.”
Perhaps this rant was courtesy of the bald-faced nature of this particular lie, conceivably it was borne of the outrage that sprang from Popovich’s own history in the military; regardless, it was his time to vent…and he claimed it, without mercy.
In any case, there is one final notion, upon which I must place the finest of points. Mr. Trump casts himself as a counterpuncher. And sometimes, it’s true, he applies his rhetorical pugilistic skills in that manner. But as we know, he has also been known to take an occasional sucker punch, such as when he, without provocation, called the smattering (less than 10 at the time) of NFL players who had kneeled during the playing of the Anthem at football games, “SOB’s.” That was not a counterpunch; it was an all out unprovoked assault. His Bob Corker and Rex Tillerson remarks (noted in last week’s post) entailed counterpunching. The distinction is quite clear.
At least two news cycles have passed since Popovich made his remarks. I haven’t seen the tweet storm or heard of a savage rant aimed at him. To be clear, I’m not trying to incite such a reply. Rather I’m citing a trend that Mr. Trump seems somewhat less inspired to clapback in some instances, and/or against certain people. Feel free to read between the lines or make you own inferences. He seldom attacks Stephen Colbert, or Jimmy Kimmel, or Jimmy Fallon, or Seth Meyers, or James Corden, or John Oliver, or Trevor Noah, and most of them satirize him on a regular basis. Who knows, perhaps he has a sense of humor after all. What I can say for sure is, for the moment, Coach stands tall…”A Soulless Coward: Popovich’s Lament!”
I’m done; holla back!
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