There was a time in America, for a significant couple of centuries, that anyone who wanted to come to America was allowed, no welcomed, to emigrate and stay. In fact that welcoming sentiment was enshrined on the Statue of Liberty and it signified what B-movie actor Ronald Reagan claimed was how the world’s people should view America; “as a shining city on a hill … open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
That sentiment, like much of what actually used to make America exceptional among nations, has proven to be anathema to Donald Trump. It is why he has aligned himself with xenophobes, nativists, and Aryan acolytes. Since before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, he singled out several non-Aryan groups that he implied are not welcomed in America. Now he has added another group to his list of “undesirables,” United States citizens who are also African American athletes. And it is remarkable that Trump believes those Black athletes should not be allowed in America simply because they celebrate America by exercising their constitutional right of free expression and freedom of speech; it is what Trump claims is an abominable display of anti-American sentiment.
Trump made his patently unAmerican remark about Black athletes after the National Football League obeyed Trump and announced it would “discipline” any player who dared exercise their constitutional right to kneel in protest during the singing of the National Anthem prior to the contest. Of course the NFL regularly “disciplines” its players for all manner of “infractions” such as wearing the wrong shoes, overly zealous celebrations, and using banned drugs; it is their game and they get to make the rules. But disciplining athletes for expressing their outrage over the mistreatment and shooting of unarmed African Americans is a signal to Trump that the the NFL owners will to do his bidding; it is an action they will live to regret. Obviously, protesting violence against African Americans does not impact an athletes performance, or display animosity towards America, its Veterans, or that tri-colored piece of cloth; so the NFL’s actions are not founded on anything other than pacifying Trump.
Although Trump sort of praised the NFL for threatening its players with fines for exercising their First Amendment rights, he was irritated that “the League” allowed the players to “sit out” the National Anthem in the locker room instead of taking a knee as a form of protest. Remember, Trump did say the NFL should get the African American “sons-of-bitches” off the field if they wanted to act like an American citizen and exercise their constitutional rights, but his real sentiment came out when he said”
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem—or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Trump’s “long-running quest to stop Black athletes from protesting peacefully” became a cause célèbre among his adherents because there are just enough racist Americanswho believe in Trump’s attempt to “compel patriotism” as he defines it. However, no small number of Americans have rightly noted that there is nothing as patriotic as those African American athletes exercising their First Amendment right to protest the patently unconstitutional practice of discrimination against Black Americans by some law enforcement officials.
It is true that this issue highlights that there are some people who shouldn’t be allowed in America, but the first people that come to mind are Donald J. Trump and his boot-licking little preacher Mike Pence; two Republicans condemning Black athletes for exercising their constitutional rights. Pence and Trump believe that protesting racial injustice is attacking America, Veterans, a nationalistic song and a flag. And speaking of the Constitution, Trump shouldn’t be allowed to be in America because he is opposed to the nation’s founding document to the point of calling it “bad for the American people and really bad for the country.” This is after he swore a “so help me god” oath on two bibles to uphold, defend, and support the document he holds in contempt; Trump shouldn’t be allowed to be in America, much less in the White House.
It is no great secret that Trump “holds democratic norms, culture, laws, and institutions in contempt,” or that he is doing everything in his power to become an honest-to-dog tyrannical dictator. And in no small measure, his dictatorial aspirations are borne of his fervent support from racists who are more than willing to support an authoritarian tyrant is he promises to fulfill their dream of crushing dissent and making America white.
No American should believe for any amount of Planck-time that Trump’s attempt to crush dissent is going to stop with African American athletes; and that is all his faux outrage about kneeling during the National Anthem entails – squashing dissent. Authoritarians cannot exist with any amount of dissent and Trump knows this well; he may be a moron but he has studied Adolf Hitler and revered no small number of modern-day tyrants.
He assailed peaceful protests against racism and fascism as an assault on America, and he even informed Great Britain’s Prime Minister that unless she promises to stop protests against him, he will not visit America’s closest ally. His perpetual assault on the free press is founded in squashing dissent and nothing else. There is no doubt that if the media were cheering his every word and deed, he would bestow honors on them. But they are reporting the truth and in Trump’s vile mind the truth is dissent against him and he is not going to tolerate it.
If anyone does not belong in America it is Donald Trump; not African American athletes exercising their First Amendment rights. Those athletes were protesting racial injustice and discrimination against other American citizens; precisely what many people naturally regard as “being good Americans.” Trump wouldn’t know what being a good American involves any more than the Sun will set in the East, and it more than disqualifies him from living in the White House; it disqualifies him from being in America.