"#Take the Knee”
by James Howard Kunstler
There’s a lot to complain about in this deranged republic - if it even still is one - but the burdens of being a multimillionaire football player would not be at the top of my list. Personally, I find it a little peculiar that we have to play the national anthem before any sporting event. All it really shows is how insecure we are as a nation that we have to display our love of country in this obsessive manner. Same with congressmen and their stupid flag lapel pins, or the flag in front of Denny’s chain restaurants. Are eaters of the “lumberjack slam” so disoriented when they leave the place that they need to be reminded what country they’re in? “Oh, look hon, we're in the USA after all…”
What burns my ass is seeing baseball players in camo uniforms, as if they were an extension of the US military. What’s up with that? Is San Diego suddenly a theater of war? And why do US soldiers need to wear camo uniforms when shopping for eyeglasses? There used to be a distinction between battle dress and what you wore the rest of the time, even during a world war. And why on earth is it necessary to fly Air Force fighter jets over the stadium before the Super Bowl? Who authorizes the spend for that? Who are we trying to scare?
Of course, this new gale of ill-feeling stirred up by our intemperate president, the Golden Golem of Greatness, is driven by the oceanic currents of racial animus that are drowning the country more ruinously than the recent spate of hurricanes. The #Take the Knee campaign was already there, and getting hotter, even before Mr. Trump chimed in. At least he didn’t issue the usual sort of vapid nostrum about “diversity” and all of us getting along. In his blunt, blundering way, he may force the nation to clarify exactly what the beef is.
Surely it’s not about the woes of professional athletes. They are representing the grievances of a different realm in black America, perhaps the places they came from, the city ghettos or the rural backwaters of Dixieland, or maybe even boring black suburbs like Prince George County, Maryland. And the lingering question, to be equally blunt, is: how much is non-black America keeping black America down?
I say non-black because there are plenty of other ethnic groups in the mix besides the dwindling majority of “white folks.” I daresay there is as much, perhaps more real animus between Asian-Americans and black Americans than between white and black. But Asian-Americans did not enslave black Africans, so they’re off-the-hook for that original sin.
Mostly what Asian newcomers do is demonstrate that it’s possible to succeed economically and educationally in this country even if you start out with a culture and language completely alien to American ways. This is especially noticeable in places of exacting achievement like Silicon Valley. If anything, Asians complain that they do so well in school that the universities have to tamp down their admission numbers to give other ethnic groups a chance.
There seems to be so much psychological displacement in the feelings between black and white America that it is next to impossible to sort out what to do next. White Dem-Progs (formerly “liberals”) appear to be so consumed with anxious consternation over the outcome of the long civil rights struggle that they are ready to commit a sort of hara-kiri to atone for their unforgivable cis-whiteness. To some extent, they have attempted to compensate by campaigning for an ever-growing list of other “marginalized” groups in the hopes of showing some positive results for social change - it’s just easier to get significant numbers of homosexuals into the corporate executive suites than to get blacks in there - but the Dem-Progs are still left with the grinding reality of a large, dysfunctional black underclass. They certainly can’t admit that their own contrived “remedies,” such as subsidizing out-of-wedlock births, has anything to do with it, or the devastating effect of “Multiculturalism” on some sort of unifying common culture based on values that everybody can agree on.
Similarly, black America displaces their oppositionality to whatever remains of a national common culture into the memes of “systemic racism and injustice.” It has evolved insidiously in their own culture since the 1960s, probably (I believe) as a reaction to the anxiety provoked by the civil rights legislation of 1964-65. It’s really about behavior, especially in school. Are you interested in speaking English? Believe me, that would help a lot in this society. Consider this: Ella Fitzgerald was not singing black or white back in the day. She was just singing.”