It is amazing to think that back in 2004, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean successfully used social media to connect with his constituency. President Barack Obama followed up and expanded on that way of thinking as he utilized the medium to connect directly with his fanbase throughout both of his four-year terms in the Oval office.
Today, the Queens-born shyster known as Donald J. Trump is President of the United States. Like any tool or apparatus commandeered by egoism and demagoguery, Twitter has been hijacked by the most famous troll in the history of the Internet, perhaps the world.
Groupthink is described as: a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
Almost from the start of his campaign, Trump has consistently drawn lines in the sand to separate and divide. From demonizing Mexican and Latino immigrants, to making fun of the handicapped, he and he alone has lowered the bar of civility in the political sphere.
Just when we thought he could get no lower, he has used his position in the ultimate bully pulpit to force a false referendum on what is, and is not, considered American. This, from a man who may not even be in the White House if not for Russian meddling.
here’s video (via @mikecwright) https://t.co/Nb1IY39nZs https://t.co/KJrR1LGL6f
However, there is a significant portion of his political base that is fearful of a changing world, scrambling for certainty as once solid industries evaporate, hungering for clarity amid lies designed to foster fear and hate, clawing for a scapegoat to heap all their woes upon.
White House decorum may not be permanently dead, but its most certainly in a coma.
Just a few weeks ago, ESPN admonished star reporter Jemele Hill after she posted a tweet describing Trump as a white supremacist who hires white supremacists, paraphrasing of course. Additionally, Colin Kaepernick was consistently and viciously taken to task for bringing politics into sports.
However, sports has always been political. From politically connected team owners like Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, to the NFLs decision to have players stand for the national anthem after years of playing the anthem while players were in the locker room, to the NBA forcing players to stand for the national anthem, and the NFL fleecing the military for millions to honor the U.S. Armed Forces in what is basically a recruitment ad for our countrys ongoing wars.
LeBron James says he doesn’t regret calling Trump “u bum.” https://t.co/fmiSiz1Puh
Indeed, it was professional sports teams and politicians themselves who have made this political.
Yet, when a player decides that he would like to peacefully leverage his position and influence to bring light to a situation dear to his heart such as police brutality and the oppression of people of color in America, he is a pariah, a traitor to his country and a son of a bitch.
Meanwhile, individuals bearing the standards of the Confederate States of America and the Nazi Party are called pretty fine people. Anyone feigning outrage over calling Trump a white supremacist has about a 70 percent chance of being a white supremacist himself. Birds of a feather dont always flock together, but rats can always be found in a dumpster.
After his comments admonishing protesters and NFL team owners, the flood gates of dissension burst open anew at a time when many analysts believed the protests were actually dying down. Could it be that the president is manipulating the narrative to further solidify an already rabid fanbase? Perhaps.
The responses of people like Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich are only the most recent of several overtures from the sports world aimed at the White House. Not only has LeBron James spoken on the matter at NBA Media Day, but Bradley Beal has had choice words for the president as well.
LeBron James: “The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him.” https://t.co/b82ojpXkZt
The sight of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones kneeling with his team prior to the national anthem, as well as over 204 players kneeling or conducting other forms of protest, was eye-opening. However, as was spoken of by FS1 commentator Shannon Sharpe, billionaire owners who still would not give Kaepernick a job, were likely protesting simply to put a thumb in the president’s pie, and not as protesters led by conscience.
But Trump’s words are designed to force individuals to pick a side. By claiming to be on the side of the flag and nationalism, he has cast dissenters as being anti-American simply for being anti-Trump.
This calculated risk of bullying billionaire owners, some of whom have a greater net worth than he, and “woke” players may have an effect contrary to what was intended. Somebody should tell Trump that democracy is all about choices. And many Americans don’t take kindly to despotic discourse.