The rhetoric is pretty fierce these days, the election of Donald Trump has led to the United States revealing itself to be a racist, misogynist, transphobic hell hole well on the way to 21 st century fascism (cont pg 94 of Salon). The rest of the world looks at a place where the President seems to be throwing the occasional piece of red meat to his base while all enjoy the greatest physical comfort, liberty and freedom it’s ever been the privilege of a nation to suffer under. Clearly we need some form of test to decide between these two wildly divergent views of that reality outside the window. Fortunately today’s newspapers offer just such a test:
President Donald Trump said on Friday that National Football League (NFL) players who do not stand for the national anthem should be suspended for the season without pay.
Well, will they?
More importantly, will they because the President says they should?
There are places in the world where such obiter dicta by the bloke with all the guns and all the money would mean a screeching u-turn in public and social activity. A totalitarian state such as North Korea has been known – OK, we’ve reports of varying quality that – to execute those who diss the Leader’s merest musings. An authoritarian state could usefully be defined as one in which the Great Leader’s thoughts on football players become those of the league. A free country is one in which everyone thinks well, that’s an interesting thought Mr. President and then carries on to do whatever it was they desired in the first place.
Which gives us our test about America under that Trumpian bootheel, doesn’t it?
Is taking the knee going to mean a season’s suspension without pay because The Donald said so? If so then I agree, the United States is very much more authoritarian than any of us should be comfortable with. If not then we can leave Salon and its writers to their teenage fantasies, can’t we?