FLEISCHMAN: National Anthem Protesters Help Trump – But Can’t Help Themselves

Bruce Maxwell (Ben Margot / Associated Press)
Ben Margot / Associated Press

I admit that I spend more time binge-watching television via streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime than I do watching actual live television.

As I have read about various professional athletes choosing to “take a knee” during the playing of our national anthem at their games, I’ve been rolling my eyes, thinking to myself, “What am immature way to show your dismay at Donald Trump being elected president.”

Then I finished binging Season 4 of The Blacklist and turned on the news…  Just in time to see Bruce Maxwell, the catcher for the Oakland Athletics baseball team, fall to his knee as everyone else in the entire stadium stood to revel in the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

I have to admit that I didn’t expect the visceral, emotional reaction that came over me.  It made me angry. Maxwell wasn’t “downing” on our President. He was expressing a silent but bold protest against America.

How anyone could stay on their knee during that emotional stanza as we all celebrate that, despite the shellacking the our American Army took at Fort McHenry from the British Royal Navy in the Battle of 1812, our flag still flew?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Being from California, observing the apoplectic left-wing politicians that dominate my state throw down against President Trump is so common that it really starts to fade into static. Last week’s passage of legislation that Governor Jerry Brown has pledged to sign officially designating California as a sanctuary for illegal aliens hardly earned nothing more than an eye-roll from me.

I suppose somewhere in my head I knew that this .244 hitting Major League Baseball player was “acting out” his frustrations with a president for whom he clearly did not vote – but my heart was filled with anger.  All I could think about were the Americans who died in 25 hours of the British naval bombardment of Ft. McHenry and how they died to create an amazing country where someone could even have a successful career – playing baseball!

Having watched this fresh display of anti-Americanism from someone playing our national pastime brought back vivid memorials of 2016, when San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat, rather than stood, during the singing of the National Anthem. Others followed suit, revealing a disturbing anti-patriotic pattern from some.

President Trump doesn’t always speak for me. But when, at that campaign rally in Alabama last week, he said that the NFL should fire players who don’t stand for the National Anthem, I thought – now there is a strong defense of the land of the free, and the home of the brave (in Trumpian style, of course).

On Sunday over a hundred NFL players took to their knee during the singing of the anthem at their respective games.  And besides having to contain my contempt for these anti-American protests, it occurs to me that those protesting the presidency of Donald Trump couldn’t be doing more to help him out.

There is no doubt that America is a country heavily divided, politically.  There is a core constituency on the left that sees  Trump as a pariah, and they are waging a permanent campaign against him. And there are a lot of folks on the GOP side of the aisle who are pretty pleased with the job that Trump is doing – definitely seeing his election as an infinitely better outcome than seeing Hillary Clinton in the White House.  But it is the folks in the political center – ideologically and temperamentally – who propelled Trump into the White House. And it is largely that group of voters who will decide whether the president serves a second term in the White House.

I can’t help but think that these “swing” voters have to be looking at these athletes protesting the singing of the national anthem in the same way that they looked at all of the wacky-left protesters who stalked then-candidate Trump during the elections last year, dressed up in crazy outfits and waving signs using harsh and uncouth rhetoric that would make even an activist cringe. After all, what could appeal more to a swing voter than someone dressed up in a life-sized vagina costume, right?

No doubt there are some anti-Trump folks out there who actually have strategic minds, and who can see that this conflict between the president and those who kneel during the national anthem advantages Trump. Could it be that the visceral hatred that Trump’s opponents seem to have for him is so powerful that it drags even the smartest of his opponents into cheering on the Bill Maxwells of the world? Wonder if flag-burning comes next?

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart, California.  His columns appear regularly on this page.  You can follow him on Twitter here.


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