There has been much speculation as to the cause of mass shootings, of violence, of the viciousness prevalent in everyday life in our nation.  Was it always there and with the growth of twenty-four-hour news and the internet we see events that years ago would not have appeared in your nightly one-hour newscast?  Or, maybe it really is getting worse, maybe there is a real growth in the lack of regard for one’s fellow person?  I suggest It is both of those and more.

It is our culture, or more accurately, the deliberate deconstruction of our culture.  A deconstruction that seems to have accelerated exponentially since the sixties and has quickened so frighteningly that I question the existence of the United States in twenty years.   The formidable array of agendas that all wish to hold America’s steering wheel are causing us to steer erratically, to lose control and skid, and I am not sure this skid may be recovered from.

It can be argued that in the absence of structure and culture, confusion and violence abound.  If so, then our nation is without a clear culture or effective structure.  Without those, the population is left to improvise, to come up with nonstructural solutions that are as varied as the flavors of ice cream.

But America does have a culture, of course there is a culture.  So, the question becomes, has that culture changed?  Has it evolved into belligerence and arrogance?  I contend that the Unites States of America was born of belligerence, that Americans have always been belligerent, and in most cases that belligerence has served us well.  From the moment a group of raggedy volunteers in 1775 took on the mightiest military in the world, the army and naval forces of Great Britain, belligerence was built into the national culture. 

When offered an opportunity to surrender when facing a much more heavily armed ship, Captain John Paul Jones answered, “I have not yet begun to fight”, an act of belligerence.  During the American Civil War, the Confederate army was always outnumbered two to one, any war strategist could see their effort was doomed to fail, but the south knew man for man they were better Soldiers led by superior generals, and in that arrogance embarked on a ruinous war.  World War Two, the commander of the 101st Airborne division refused to surrender to a much larger German force that had his beleaguered unit trapped in Bastogne, Belgium.  American Bravery or American Belligerence? 

Again, our belligerence has mostly served us well, we beat the British (but with help from their attention to other priorities) and the American army broke out of Bastogne, thanks to General Patton, the ultimate belligerent.  Our belligerence made us successful in business, and it worked well for our national interests.  American belligerence boosted our pride so much we found a nice term for it— “a fighting spirit”.  This “fighting spirit” migrated to our everyday culture, from business to play, from entertainment to sports.  The adoration of belligerent behavior.

In business, we admire those who break the rules.  In our social lives we admire those who ‘break the norms’ to have fun.  In entertainment, we want our actors and singers to be rebels, in sports we like our tattooed players with ‘fighting spirit’.  For those described, once again, their belligerence served them well in competition.  But our admiration of them has allowed their culture to migrate into our lives, ignoring a commitment of civility to our neighbor.

The last twenty-to thirty years of music has put belligerence into our ears.  What is more belligerent than Hip Hop music?  Hip Hop is the most potent dose of belligerence poison being consumed.  Do not leave out Heavy Metal/Speed Metal.  The favorite music of our youth and young promotes the nastiness we complain is all around us.

That belligerence means never losing.  Ever.  Never accept defeat.  The US Army values include that phrase.  Well, isn’t that what caused Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese refusal to accept defeat?  Is that why street violence has gotten worse–because no one admits defeat?  What used to be rare fistfights between two men has evolved to regular public altercations “taking it there”.  I saw an outbreak of this recently, and even after a young man knocked another out cold, he felt the need to kick the unconscious man in the head twice.  Belligerence.

Our culture lost regard for our neighbor and decency, for right and wrong, only what suits ‘me’ at this moment.  Racing past churches on Sunday morning with loud vulgar music blaring; Cursing in public indiscriminately; offending people and calling them snowflakes when they complain; Smoking weed in public places just to annoy others; In the midst of a pandemic refusing to wear a protective surgical mask because “I don’t want them telling me what to do!”; mouthing off at the police when they catch you doing something you weren’t supposed to be doing.

Belligerence has its place, but it is at the root of our gun problem, our race problem, our social problem.  The idea that one should admit wrong and stand down is unacceptable.
Fight!
Fight!
Fight!

Nothing will get the popular approval of fellow Americans like belligerence.

 

I first heard this expression from an associate five years ago. He was ranting that when he was a part of a corporate entity, he vainly attempted to ‘educate’ his white peers about a lack of diversity of input when crafting advertising campaigns. His former employer had just made a very public faux pas that made the national nightly news. It even raised my skeptical eyebrows. Hearing my agreement with his indignation, he imagined I was on board and went pro-blackety black on me:

“They make these mistakes because there’s no one who looks like us in their boardrooms”. I remained quiet. “There’s no one to speak up and say, ‘hey that’s offensive’”.

Actually, President Obama rendered a version of this in 2013. Following the death of Trayvon Martin, infamously shot by George Zimmerman, the entire country was awash in debate. Blacks, and non-blacks sympathetic to Black issues, saw once again a young black man profiled for ‘suspicious behavior’. On the other side of the argument were those who saw a man tired of crime in his neighborhood, thought himself to be protecting his community, and made a error in judgement. As the argument swirled into every mainstream forum, it became unavoidable that America’s first black President address the issue. He said:

“. . . when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago”.

Fast forward to today, and it seems that every channel I turn to has a news show or cultural program or even simple commercial with a non-white person who uses this rhetorical association gimmick. ‘Looks like me’, or ‘people who look like me’.

What’s really being said is as old as America–people from my racial/ethnic/creed group or tribe.

As rhetorically silly as it is, I’m afraid that is valid until a better more credible expression is tabled.

The argument against prejudice is that it excludes people who may have value, based on their identity. Me, being a science buff, will quote Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of physics: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If whites are excluding people regardless of value just because they do not look like them, then it is also true that blacks are including people regardless of value just because they do look like them.

Physics.

As the controversy has boiled around the names of military bases, the existence of certain monuments, even sports teams, I’ve heard some whites say: “This was never a problem before . . . why now?” Others have asked, “Where does this end?”

It was never a problem before because ‘people who look like me’ were not allowed in the room when the decision was made. (I would go a LOT deeper on that thought but that is a different essay)

To address the second question, it ends when whites include people who don’t look like them in decision making. Not just kidnapping one person from the group in question, get a wide population sample.

I encountered this with another associate, we are members of a semi-private organization. He explained to me that whenever he saw me at a meeting, “he was comfortable to see someone else who looked like him”.

Friends, make no mistake; this gentleman and I would never pass as relatives.

In our current lexicon, it seems as though every activist/wokester uses it–and it drives me up a wall. It suggests that if we look alike, we all think alike. And conversely that anyone that I do not look like shares no views with me. Anyone who knows me will frustratedly complain I do not think like most of my Black contemporaries. Consistently. You can take that check to the bank and cash it.

Peoples from a common culture will have some across the board similarities. But will they share every opinion on contemporary matters?

“People who look like me” suggests that by one’s mere presence in a decision-making space or part of a governing body, that some sort of list of interests is automatically addressed for whatever their originating group is. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I hunger for the day when ideas are tabled and argued by the thoughtful, not people who, “look like me”. I grew up in a South Bronx Housing Project with a thousand people who “looked like me”. It was a Ghetto Aristocracy that I still revile. And I’m sure they shared none of my worldview. But according to the wokees, “they look like me” (meaning they represent me and I them).

When looking at a person, tribal identity should be considered. But neither should it be defining.
Extra-tribal engagement should be sought, not dismissed.

But this . . . “People who look like me” — I brand it as a

catchy rhetorical gimmick.

Your opinion? hit reply below

Obama, Barack H. (2013) Remarks by the President on Trayvon Martin The

White House Office of the Press

Secretary https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/19/remarks-president-trayvon-

martin

There are few expressions that generate the level of vitriolic ridicule as the above title.  Being one of this group of political rarities, and pariahs, I and those I will discuss fit into the statistic of only 5 out of 100 blacks are Republican. Most of this political block consists of well-educated and accomplished individuals from all walks of life.

If one had compared the resume of President Barack Obama to those of Colonel Allen West, Businessman Herman Cain, JC Watts, Michael Steele, or Doctor Ben Carson prior to Barack Obama’s election, he would not have measured up to the other men named.  President Obama’s only distinction was that of an unknown democrat senator from Illinois less than a year into his job.  He was an affirmative action hire. 

But yet, he was hired, and supported, and protected.  In contrast, at each moment of choice, everyday Republicans passed on their opportunity with each of the Black Republicans listed.  Somehow we picked Mitt Romney.  Somehow we put Sarah Palin on the fight undercard.  There was the Bob Dole experiment.  Admittedly, I was a Steve Forbes fan with his flat tax. 

Meanwhile, a man with no resume was moved to the front of the line and put in the White House.  Liberal thinkers proved a point, maybe rightfully so.  The Democrat party beat us to the inevitability of a Black man one day being voted president.  I wanted my party, the Republican party, to be first up that mountain.

Senator Obama was identified and groomed.  He was not equipped for every aspect of the job, so they helped him.  Not only was he elected, but his party also assisted him and propped him up.  His failure was not an option.  It is as if they were jumping off roofs yelling, “ITS ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN!” 

The Democrat party ensured he did not trip, they put their best around him, protected him, and today brag openly that he completed eight years successfully and with no (proven) scandals or embarrassing failures.  Democrats now stand on the moral high ground, cheering to the countryside, “SEE!  WE’RE NOT RACIST!” and point at Republicans, “–LIKE THEM!”.  Then, to stomp on our graves they returned with a semi-black woman to do it again.  That is why highlighting Joe Biden’s gaffes and errs and inappropriate ethnic comments fell on deaf ears.

Donald Trump did endorse John James, United States Military Academy graduate and combat tested Iraq war helicopter pilot, who ran for Senator in Michigan.  The endorsement came eleven days out and this black man went home empty handed after his second attempt at the job.  A West Point man, he was clearly more impressive than Barack Obama.  Yet, I do not recall any national promotion from the party frequently accused of being unfriendly to blacks (In a later blog post, I will be holding the Black community’s feet to the fire for this same crime, not promoting our stars).

For the year before and during Donald Trump’s presidency, a black radio talk show host with a solid corporate background and obvious skill at media campaigned for Donald Trump daily.  He expressed his loyalty to conservatism, and even voiced his willingness to be a White house press secretary—As far as I know, Kevin Jackson received no job offer.  If he did, correct me.  Kevin Jackson funded and produced a film titled “Bleeding Blue”, supporting law enforcement.  No mention from the Republican party.  A Black man supporting Law Enforcement should have been promoted.  Aside from his radio show, I’ve never heard the film mentioned.  He used to be a contributor to Fox News, but was banned after a nasty comment about Kristine Blasey Ford, the woman who and accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of rape almost forty years ago.  No spoken outrage anywhere at Kevin’s treatment.

President Trump’s nominations of competent Black persons were not advertised.  A mostly Liberal media propaganda complex plays a large part in that.  However, Republicans when they did have the spotlight, only occasionally touted Ben Carson and Surgeon General Jerome Adams. 

 

 

 

President Trump’s appointment of the United States Marine Corps first Black female one-star General, Lorna M. Mahlock  went unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

In 2017, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) wrote the tax plan presented by President Trump.  This plan included ‘Opportunity Zones’ (OZs), “. . . a brand new federal tax incentive to drive private investment into our nation’s most distressed zip codes”.   The plan included incentives for 47 Historically Black Colleges/Universities. His now retired partner Senator from that state, Trey Gowdy, stated: “Senator Scott is the future of the Republican party”.  I hope to hear the louder and more powerful Republican voices assign Mr. Scott such acclaim.

President Trump’s public affinity for Blacks seemed restricted to the confusing or bizarre: Steve Harvey, Kanye West, Omarosa Manigault, Diamond & Silk, etc.   

The Republican party occasionally will position an African American for apparently cosmetic purposes, most recently Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Granted, his conservatism was inconsistent and perplexing. It may be better stated he was more a Liberal Republican rather than a Conservative.  To address dissatisfaction with Steele’s confounding political positions, Ian Walters of the American Conservative Union admitted, “We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a black guy, that was the wrong thing to do.”  He probably meant to say that Steele’s race was considered before his politics, and that this was their version of outreach, but that may have been almost as bad.  He could have expressed displeasure by saying, “I/we should have looked more closely at his policy beliefs”, but that would admit bad decision making on his/their part.  By saying Steele’s race was a factor infers that the choice of Michael Steele is not really their fault, but the fault of making a public appeal. 

And so, the RNC placed a black man in a position whose chief role is to expand membership and raise funds.  I am going to go out on a limb and forecast that any republican outreach to blacks will require spending funds—not raising.  For instance: if any of your major oil/gasoline companies initiated an African American (not minority, not immigrant) partnership and assisted black men in gas station ownership, they would never have to fight the anti-fossil fuel movement again.  Black people getting financial reward from gas stations?  Black people would beat the pee out of anyone getting in the way of drilling for oil.

And if that partnership happened, the Republican pro-business platform would have much more credibility.

Turning toward the debate over gun ownership, was there any outreach to Antonia Okafor, outspoken second amendment advocate and national spokesperson for ‘Gun Owners of America’ (GOA)? 

 

 

 

Mrs Okafor gave the keynote address at the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legal Action forum and convention.

 

Have Republicans reached out to Candace Owens and began a grooming process? Mrs Owens converted from democrat to republican, and along with Brandon Tatum initiated the ‘BLEXIT’ movement, ‘Blacks exiting the Democrat party’.  This position has made her a pariah in the Black community.

There have been some disappointing Black Republicans.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t share frustration with

General Colin Powell, (USA)

past efforts to enlist Colin Powell as our nominee; he let me down also by not accepting the overtures.  And, despite the admiration bestowed upon him, he threw jabs at us in return.  But, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out, aside from the revelation he was a registered and voting Republican, and a President Bush pick, which Republican policies did he champion?

A number of years ago I listened to the Rush Limbaugh show entertaining callers on “call in Friday”.  I had convinced a few of my African-American peers to tlisten that day.  When Rush, the champion of conservatism said “Hello, you’re on,” the caller responded in a gleeful southern accent: “HI RUSH, THIS IS _____ CALLING FROM THE LAASST CUNFEDERIT CAPITOL!!!”  I could hear Rush sigh, and I could also visualize those who I had convinced to give conservatism a try walk away.  This romantic view of the Confederacy and the accompanying revisionist history is killing us.  I know it is not purely Republican, but the desire to promote the southern American ideal will from time to time put you in bed with this mindset.  If you’re okay with that, that’s your right.  But don’t expect me or other Blacks to get in that bed with you two.

I have supported this party most of my voting life.  I was too young to vote for Reagan, but I liked his economic ideas and how he handled Russia (“trust, but verify”).  I voted for H.W. Bush the first time, but he lost his way and in 1992 I voted for H. Ross Perot.  I also liked Steve Forbes and his flat tax.  When we needed to dethrone Bill Clinton, I spent my vote on the unsuccessful Bob Dole.  I voted for George Bush who refused to fight back against his detractors for eight years.  On and on. 

Today, the only things Republicans living conservative ideals have to show for our vote, efforts, and voice are the celebrations of our political opponents. 

I am not dining at a table prepared for me in the presence of my ideological enemies.  It is THEIR bellies that are full, THEIR beaks that are wet.  We who sacrificed all, are pariahs for our effort.  We are like the South Vietnamese watching Americans climb the embassy stairs to a waiting helicopter; while we are left to face the hordes empty handed. 

  

 

In his 1996 comedy special ‘Bring the Pain’, Comedian Chris Rock joked, “. . . there is a civil war in the Black Community.  There’s Black people, and there’s n****rs . . . n****rs have got to go.”  The mostly black audience roared, roared in a way that we all knew when we heard it Chris Rock had spoken a silent truth.

Black culture is now synonymous with street culture.  Street culture, for all intents and purposes, IS Black culture.  The two are inseparable, forever tied.  No matter where one turns, the daily expression of blackness will always be influenced by the ghetto, the unsavory, disgruntled, and malicious.  Examination of any corner of Black life reveals that the rebelliousness of the street is now tied to being revolutionary.  The most prominent voices of revolutionary blackness today are entertainers and athletes, particularly those who are ‘for them streets’.  They have tied the culture of the ghetto to their promotion of blackness.

To practice one, you must practice the other.  Conversely, the black person not immersed in ghetto/street/Hip Hop culture is an apostate.  His or her blackness is either defective or incomplete.

Chris Rock’s observation was too late, even back then.  That war is over.

Black people lost.  And now are lost.

There is not a segment of the Black existence that if not destroyed by street culture, has not been fully taken over or at least heavily influenced.  Our language, daily interaction, collectiveness (or lack thereof), education, fashion, business, every aspect of a Black person’s existence from sun-up to beyond sun down, every bit of our lives is now undercut by the seductive counter-culture of the ghetto, to the extent that if one is not pro-street culture they are also simultaneously not pro-black.

Street culture has always existed, it was always present, but the culture of the hoodlum was separate.  Hoods lived on the fringes and swept up those who looked for it in unseen corners of ghetto life.  But once it was given admission to daylight, through a campaign of media romanticization, the lure of the streets became irresistible.  It has conquered mainstream culture, through what I describe as an accidental and unplanned campaign.

  1. The ‘black exploitation’ film. Through the sixties and seventies, for the first time, Blacks were not just in films as props for a ‘white’ storyline.  The most popular stories being told on screen led off with drugs, pimps, gangsters and poverty–the legitimizing of ghetto life.  Films and television with more forward thinking and positive storylines were promoted, but the street hustle story was most popular.
  2. The proliferation of drugs and gangs in the Black Community.  Whether this was planned externally, or just a natural evolution of criminal endeavor due to lack of economic opportunity, the black community (in my opinion) was extremely complicit in its involvement.  Drugs destroyed not just the user but the seller; addicts ruined their lives and those around them, while pushers self-justified their activity and warped the community logic.  In the ghetto that was now vacant of the men who guide a community, street gangs stepped in with a new counterculture.
  3. Hip Hop music arrived, birthed by the marriage of the two parents above. HIP HOP DID NOT CREATE STREET CULTURE OR GANGS.  HIP HOP ROMANTICIZED STREET CULTURE AND GANGS.  The new art form, a mixture of revolutionary street poetry and party anthems, was often financed by crime and/or drug crews.  The unorganized early days of rap music enabled the street hustle economy to use the virgin art form as a vehicle to clean their illegal money.
  4. Ghetto culture normalized in sports:  “. . . I’m still ghetto. That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture.”  (Ron Artest after Yao Ming learned of Artest’s possible trade to MIng’s team.  These comments were in reference to Ron Artest’s charging and punching fans in the stands during a brawl during a Pistons/Pacers game.)

For a very long time, the law enforcement structure and justice system in this nation treated all Blacks as hoodlums or their accomplices.  That bias caused . . .

Blacks, in opposite fashion, to accept every accused hoodlum as a victim of police misconduct and a civil rights martyr.  That bias (on the part of Blacks) caused . . .

The acceptance of street culture as unfairly targeted due to its proximity to Black life.  Thus, we unwisely showed empathy toward the street lifestyle.  After the empathy came tolerance, then acceptance, then preference, and now glorification/romanticization.

If you denounce street culture, you will be standing on the same side of the racial battle as our perceived oppressors, such as the police.  For any self-respecting Black person that is unthinkable.

(The above use of the word ‘perceived’ was not a mistake)

Our flag is planted on the hilltop of ‘the streets’ by the thugs that I’d always believed the black community would ‘get over’.  Maybe my mother was right: “In their minds, they are perfectly FINE.  To them, they think, there’s nothing wrong with them, that there’s something wrong with YOU.”  Her eyes brightened with an accompanying grin, “They want to know, why aren’t YOU like US?”

And that is why I admit defeat: Black people don’t want to change: “we’re fine the way we are.”

The Black Civil War is over.  Black people lost.

Research:

The Man Behind Death Row Records – Michael “Harry O” Harris

Capone n Noreaga Rappers named themselves after Al Capone and Manuel Norieaga

Artest: I’m excited about joining Rockets — if Yao wants me

Savannah, GA Rapper Respekk Among 29 Charged in Federal Drug Trafficking Ring

Hip-Hop Drug Lord Kenneth ‘Supreme’ McGriff Gets Life Without Parole for Slayings.

No Avoiding Crime-Rap Industry Links.

Former cocaine kingpin who co-founded label Death Row Records with Suge Knight and signed music legends Dr. Dre, Tupac and Snoop Dogg is set to be released from prison after 31 years behind bars

 

When I was forty years of age, there was still hope.  That whatever it is could still happen.  The prosperity dreamt of; the lifestyle sought.  The possibility of achievement still there, like a car full of friends waiting outside with the engine running.  They are blowing the car horn and telling me to hurry and shouting my name while making room for me to get in.  My hopes and dreams are promising, “We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, come on, there’s still a chance!  Get out here, get in the car, and zoom off with us to an exciting life”.  I promise them that I’m coming, but there’s a few things I need to take care of first.  As I tend to those tasks, looking out the patio window, I see my garden of beautifully growing expectations.

But, at age forty-five, I rush out there, and they’re gone.  Where’d they go?  The hopes, the dreams–have taken off without me.  That can’t be!  They’re tricking me, they must have gone around the corner.  I know what I’ll do.  I’m not going to wait for them to come back, I’ll catch up to them, run up the street, and they’ll be there laughing.  I’ll be mad, but nevertheless, I’ll be in that car with my hopes and dreams, headed someplace big. 

At age fifty, after chasing for another five years they’re not there.  Hmmm.  While I looked around, someone asked me what I was looking for.  I said I’m pursuing my hopes and dreams.  This person said, “It’s too late, those are gone.”  The person went on to try to sell me on one of their dreams.  I never considered “How can I find my dreams if I buy yours?” 

I wasted time on their hopes and dreams, but I still wanted my dreams, and I missed them.  Okay, I’ll go home to see if they went back there.

Fifty-two now, back home, mad as hell, and getting madder by the day.  This ain’t funny.  My hopes and dreams, they wouldn’t have left me like this . . .  they must’ve been kidnapped.  Or stolen.  This is very unfair, to disappear with the hopes and dreams that keep my spirit alive!  When I catch whoever did this, God help them. 

Someone said a guy named Life stole them.  I told that spirit breaking individual that he shouldn’t talk about Life like that.  I have a garden of aspirations for Life, he wouldn’t have done this.  Life is good, he’s pretty fair–Right?

Age fifty-three, still back at the house, standing there by myself.  No hopes, no dreams.  It can’t be . . . this can’t be happening!  I’m supposed to be in that car with my hopes and dreams, out doing big things–but I’m standing in front of my house alone. 

I didn’t want to admit it, but maybe Life did do this.  He doesn’t seem like a very caring person.  I want to kick Life’s ass.  And if it wasn’t Life, then I think those assholes drove off without me!  I stand here without the hopes and dreams I worked for, I sacrificed for, none of the future that I had imagined.  The aspirations and expectations in my backyard garden are all sagging.

I’ve looked everywhere, worked to find them, and I’m exhausted.  I’m beginning to accept that they may be gone forever.  Fifty-four, and my hopes and dreams are nowhere to be seen.  All the planning was for nothing.  The great things I was going to selflessly do have not been done, and the charity promises I made to the world I have not fulfilled.  Evidently, I was supposed to pay this guy Life with my aspirations, and because I did not settle that debt, he took my hopes and dreams.

The aspirations and expectations in the backyard are dying of thirst, unlike my palette, which I soak liberally with goblets of wine and tumblers of merciful spirits. 

Maybe it’s my fault, I should have stuck with my hopes and dreams.  In my youth, I had no idea that Life would come for me so quickly.  My father did ask me, “Do you have aspirations for Life?”  I had no idea that was a literal and serious question, I was supposed to be prepared when Life showed up.  My mother warned me not to tell people about my hopes and dreams, that they would talk me out of them, or steal them.  I convinced myself that my aspirations were safe and would last forever.

There must have been something I didn’t do, or did that I was not supposed to, to keep the garden in my backyard alive.  Did I ignore them?  Did I feed and water them enough, or did I overwater?  Did I protect them?

I tried to get out of my sorrow by walking about.  I saw someone my age, and so as not to offend, I watched him in a store window reflection.  The man was out with his own hopes and dreams, and they all looked so happy together.  It seemed everyone on the street could see his joy.  And he was with life!  And Life smiled on him!  He owed Life nothing, Life owed him nothing; their business was complete.  Then I looked at my reflection in a window and saw just me, no hopes and dreams.  If anyone asks what I have, I’ll be honest, just dead aspirations and expectations for this fucking guy Life. 

A child stopped to look in the same window, and he asked his parents, “One day, can we buy that toy train?”  When they said, “We’ll see, maybe on your birthday”, he grinned with joy, he had a reason to dream.  He had a hope to live for!

That boy used to be me.

©2020 Queen Publishing

tI no longer enjoy football.

As a result, I have had no answer the uncomfortable question:  “Did you see the game?”  but every year found that I had a compounding list of grievances, which has led me to my present walk-away.

Pink Shoes

For eight years the NFL mandated players wear pink cleats and other pink accessories every October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  In my opinion it was a deliberate marketing move to pander to female viewers and boost ratings and merchandise sales.

Let me know when the girls over in the WNBA wear prostate cancer ribbons.

The sport of gladiators was dismissing its customer base in an attempt to appeal to women.  I’m sure it made sense to the merchandising department; women spend way more money than men.  And so, I and millions of other men dealing with prostrate or colon cancer watched the sport we loved ignore us completely to score with women. 

Halftime shows

This complaint really applies to the Super Bowl.  What did Madonna have to do with football?  She, the woman who was, and is, a vocal critic of all things America, was invited to be the entertainment for America’s biggest athletic event.  Has Madonna ever even watched a football game?  The list goes on:  U2, Beyonce’, Prince, etc.  They all make great music, but football fans aren’t looking for them mid-game.  Football fans want a show from performers who are football fans themselves, who understand that football is combat, and the music should be bar-brawl rough. 

Dancing 

I don’t like buffoonery.  When a Black player dances in the end zone, I see the days when black entertainers were relegated to the insulting smiling and shufflin’ tap dancing. I’m okay with impromptu spiking of the ball after a hard fought scoring play, or the big lineman who never touches the ball who gets excited picking up a fumble or interception or scoring.  But the rehearsed routines—I find them silly and unsportsmanlike.

Thugs

Thugs have taken over the NFL.  Troublemakers.  The players who were in the NFL up until the mid-eighties were not ambassadors of street culture.  But, like most of our society, Hip Hop music and gang influences have permeated if not taken over everything, sports included, and in this case football.  The result is behavior that is embarrassing, low class, and sometimes criminal.  The players now remind me of the hoodlums I grew up with in the South Bronx.  But street culture and gang references are popular, accepted and mainstream, thus very profitable, so the NFL is okay with it. 

Professional sports is accepting and helping legitimize a lifestyle that is destroying communities.  Their kids (management) don’t deal with the hood, so it looks glamorous and fun to them; I grew up in the South Bronx and witnessed the streets firsthand.  It’s horrible.

Free Agency

I enjoyed the dedicated team concept.  What I found amazingly human of professional football was the idea that players were dedicated to one another and the city or state they were representing, chasing victory, the ultimate male pursuit.  I was drawn in by the familiarity of the same 11 guys lining up on either side of the ball to do battle, a committed team.  Even if they had a disappointing season, they would go back to the drawing board, return the next year with only small personnel changes, getting better and better, and figuring out how to win. 

Supporting this tradition of male commitment, teams could limit trades, and legally ‘protect’ 37 of its 45 players on the roster.  Another team offering a player more money would need permission from the first team for the trade to happen.  Thus, there would be changes here and there, but the core lineup would return.  This restricted wholesale personnel changes through free agency.  But some players complained that it limited their freedom to ‘shop’ their talent and opportunities to negotiate larger contracts.

So, the first nail in the coffin came from one of my favorite players, Freeman McNeil.  In 1982, He and the NY Jets didn’t win the AFC championship against the Oakland Raiders, but he won a lawsuit against the NFL which lifted restrictions on free agency.

As a result, player movement between teams dramatically increased every year, and the ‘team’ concept is gone, evidenced since then by some prima donna players (especially receivers, what’s with them?).   Just as quick as you buy your favorite player’s jersey, in less than twelve months he might be on another team, but the merchandise company can sell more shirts, I guess. 

Football culture was, and is, a key component of male culture.  The two are interdependent.  When we allowed free agency in football, we gave permission for free agency to young men, we told them you don’t have to commit to something you’re a part of.  Are the young men around you committed?  To their jobs?  Their wives?  Their nation?  Most young people now are free agents.

 

Flipping off customers

For brevity, I’ll put the bottom line up front: taking a knee is a big ‘foxtrot uniform charlie kilo you’ to me.  The sport that America built for Americans has been turned into a political weapon, full of political statements and has been poisoned forever by activists.

To allow one of the few bastions that men have left to be politicized is unforgivable.

With all this said, know that I have found more productive things to do with Sundays, and I go to bed at a decent hour on Monday night.  In some ways, I enjoy the seven hours of my life that I have back (New York has two teams, three and a half hours per game).  I no longer waste time watching professional sports because I have no respect for the people playing, and have complete distrust for the league employing them.