Chris: Day 250. The president who used the words “very fine people” to describe violent, torch-holding white supremacists, now used the words “son of a b***h” to describe courageous, black NFL athletes who use their platform to peacefully protest racial injustice. And now, the whole country loses their mind. Really? This is what it took for Tom Brady and Rex Ryan to finally oppose the man they supported and campaigned for? Seriously, this is what it took for players like Ray Lewis and LeSean McCoy to finally kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick after publicly shaming him for his actions? His shaming of Senator McCain for being a Prisoner of War or his defense of our foreign enemies wasn’t enough for the ‘patriotic’ NFL owners now opposing Trump? His never-ending insults towards women, immigrants, or Muslims didn’t seem like enough reasons to abandon him, yet his attack on wealthy NFL players and owners did? Over the weekend, Trump tweeted more than 10 times about the NFL or the NBA, yet not a word about Puerto Rico, a state currently suffering without water or electricity. Amidst this tabloid madness around sports, we have completely ignored the new travel ban the administration will soon roll out, ignored the fact that his threats against North Korea were taken as a declaration of war, and somehow forgotten that his campaign is still under investigation for treasonous collusion with Russia. Once again, the media and the rest of us have been manipulated for his gain.
Jason: We all know the drill: President Trump says or does something that a substantial portion of the population finds deeply offensive, but toes the line just close enough so his supporters can find some slightly rational argument to defend or ignore his actions. For the sake of argument, let’s be generous to the lingering supporters of the president and assume they have no malicious or prejudiced motivations in continuing their devotion to him. Assuming even the best of intentions, it’s hard to see exactly what is in it for them by steadfastly maintaining their position. Trump’s entire legislative agenda has stalled. His cabinet is in free fall with the use of private emails and investigations. He loses diplomatic capital with other world leaders every time he comments on geopolitics. He’s put forward no actual economic policy other than some sort of half-baked protectionist rhetoric. The Russian investigation still dogs his legitimacy, and he’s still the most unpopular incoming president in modern history. Instead of dealing with these unpleasant realities, the president seems resolved to simply lambast his ideological enemies on Twitter and hope his bluster will distract the country, or at least his base, from realizing the magnitude of what are often viewed by the opposition as his failures.
Chris: We are told we are American, but what does it mean to be an American anymore? We pledge allegiance to the same flag, but each of us see a different vision projected by those stars and stripes.
As political polarization intensifies, the question of what it means to be an American continues to tear our communities apart as we battle to provide a better answer. America used to stand for freedom, or at least that is what we’re told, yet now we ban the very immigrants our monuments claim we pride ourselves in accepting into our communities. America used to be a safe haven from persecution, yet now it appears that we need a new haven to escape the persecutions of today’s America.