We all were witnesses to the speech made and tweets sent by the Divider in Chief in Alabama on Friday, 22 September 2017.
We all were witnesses to the reactions and name calling between NBA players and the Divider in Chief as a result.
We all were witnesses to the reactions on the field from NFL players and front offices throughout this weekend.
We all were witnesses to the tremendous inflammatory debates going not only on boards and sports websites but now well beyond the US sports domain and throughout American society as a whole, and as a result, in many other countries such as Canada.
In particular, we all were witnesses to the official announcement made by the Redskins organization and the divided reactions to it:
“Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region.
“We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility and respect to our greater community.”http://www.redskins.com/news/article-1/ ... 2dd59bd9a3
A terribly weak message issued by an organization tainted in history by a previous racist owner, Preston Marshall, and with an ongoing race debate about its name. Better say nothing than make a coward statement.
The question that I have is WHY? WHAT in the World is in the mind of the person supposed to become a unifying factor among ALL the people in the US to ensure that we heal our differences and correct mistakes from the past, fix the present and ensure a better and just future for ALL regardless of race, political orientation, religious beliefs and any other differences that might divide us?
I have to tell you a painful story from my life so you understand my take on this:
I am not a US citizen but in 1968 at the age of 15 years old I had already decided that I would volunteer to fight for the US in Viet Nam. I had made that decision out of ideological conviction to fight the spread of communism in Asia. At that time, I considered Cassius Clay, not Mohammed Ali, a coward and a traitor to his country. I considered many Americans who dodged the draft either by moving to Canada, or did not enlist through excuses and political influences, just like the Divider in Chief, as nothing less than cowards. I had a chance to train Judo in a Texas US Air Force Base with a French Paratrooper, who had fought in Viet Nam during the French occupation, and I had made my decision. I considered all those flag burning demonstrators on the streets and in universities cowards and not worth of the rights and freedoms given to them by their ancestors. I abhorred the raising of the fist with black gloves by Gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos on the podium after the 200 m race at the 1968 Summer Olympic held in Mexico. By the time I came of age to enlist, I knew the US was already in the middle of a debate to discuss not whether it was going to pull out but only how and when.
And then history taught us all, me in particular, the greatest lesson we do not seem to remember and learn from. It was the wrong war at the wrong time and in the wrong place. NOTHING can bring back the pain and sorrow inflicted on both sides. There was nothing to be gained. There was all to be lost, in particular a treasure of young people with tremendous courage, dedication and love for their country. I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for those who served. Those who returned alive and those who dd not. They are heroes in my book. ALL OF THEM regardless of race, political orientation, religious beliefs and any other differences that might divide us. In the end, Mohammed Ali was right and he taught with great conscience not only that the war was wrong. He taught us that African Americans had huge issues to be dealt with in a system that systematically demeans and discriminates against them. It does not matter that it was openly and blatantly done before the 60's and now it is done more secretly and in a more subtle manner.
Later in life, I had the opportunity to visit and work in Viet Nam. I learned then that what I understood decades earlier to be a communist cause was really and essentially a profoundly nationalist and cultural movement to unify the country. Mohammed Ali is regarded as the most popular American, not only because he refused to fight, but because he supported an important charity to assist the victims of agent orange who, through decades up until this date, have suffered the chemical effects of it. Today, Viet Nam is closer to the US than it is to People's Republic of China or Russia. It is on its path, like China, to incorporate fully a market economy.
I do not understand the hidden motivation to create this huge wound and controversy in the soul of the American people by the Divider in Chief. I do not feel that anybody should benefit politically from firing up these horrible divisions among all. A Senate election in Alabama is not worth that price.
But I understand one thing:
Whereas a protest against the most important national symbols for ALL Americans is a source of great and grave concern to me, the lesson that I learned pushes and forces me to try to understand WHY those same individuals who protest, being fully aware that they love their country and wish the best for ALL Americans, feel compelled to take such radical actions. We all have an obligation to listen and try to understand each other.
In the end, the US is tremendously important to all of us inside and out of the United States. It pains and hurts me to no end to see its people divided.
The US is a great country. Not even the Divider in Chief can destroy it through narcissism, prejudice and ignorance.
Love you guys.