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Vietnam thoughts after Trump, the rich draft dodger, Tweets to a standoff against the NFL while forgetting the days when he was a coward who didn't want to fight the NLF...?

Colin Kaepernick has been blacklisted by the National Football League since he began his protests against racism in the USA, but Donald Trump has managed to expand those protests by Tweeting a demand that the owners of the professional football teams play Celebrity Apprentice in a McCarthyite way and bleat "You're fired!" whenever their players exercise their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest the government for a "redress or grievances."Just when many of us were vowing to try and ignore the demented nonsense spewing out of the White House and from the mouth (and little finger tweeting) of the President of the United States, the guy who couldn't tell you which foot his supposed "bone spurs" were on (that's how the Young Donald -- the late safe 21st Century "patriot" -- got out of the real challenge of the mid 20th Century for men of our age dodged the Vietnam draft) decided he was brave enough to defend American patriotism against the NFL (that's National Football League) and safe from anyone demanding that he show real patriotism by fighting the NLF (that's the National Liberation Front -- or "Viet Cong" -- of South Vietnam back when both of us were young man and those our age were facing the draft. Some of us chose resistance (I was a CO who organized with soldiers for six years across the USA and in contact with the soldier's resistance around the world; most of our generation chose various ways to avoid military service, especially those wealthy enough to have doctors willing to prove elusive bone spurs at the right moment).

It's almost too unhinged to be believed. After safely dodging the Vietnam draft in 1966 behind a phalanx of privilege and well-paid physicians, Donald Trump in 2017 safely dodges democratic accountability while criticizing better men behind a phalanx of Secret Service guys. Let's remind the record, too, that Trump's training in such things was done by Roy Cohn, the lawyer who sat beside Joe McCarthy during the lowest points of the "McCarthy Era."

So it was interesting to read that the NFL fought back against the Cowardly Creep with as much vigor as the NLF had one defended its homeland against guys who had been forced to fight there 8,000 miles from our home.

Within a few years after he dodged the Vietnam draft and the challenge of our generation's patriotism -- the Vietnam War -- Trump teamed up with one of the most odious public figures of the mid-20th Century -- Roy Cohn. Cohn, a New York lawyer who had worked with Joe McCarthy to slander many in the United States during the early 1950s and who helped create the tone that led to the First Korea War, taught Trump many of the confrontational and racist tactics that would one day make Cohn's tutee the President of the United States. Some of this piece was prompted by my binge watching of the Vietnam story currently on the air from Ken Burns. While there is much silliness in this latest Ken Burns was story (more about that later and elsewhere), it makes clear that the majority of those from the USA who went to war, the majority of us who fought against the way (the "protesters" here at home and within the military) and the majority of the people of Vietnam stood up with some integrity. However, within our generation, a minority of hypocrites and cowards (Trump personifies both, along with a smaller group of celebrity draft dodgers like Sylvester Stallone, who avoided being Rambo by going to a rich kids' private school in Switzerland instead of facing the draft) can still get away with pontificating safely. Or maybe not.

As the Daily Beast article below make clear, even the NFL is ready to stand up to Donald Trump's addled chauvinism. Perhaps this is an example of what Kim Jung Un has diagnosed: Is Donal Trump truly a "doter" -- an old many in the early stages of dimentia? With each passing day, the symptoms become more clear, even to some of The Donald's most enthusiastic former patrons. When Trump get the NFL owners to criticize him, maybe it's time for a 25th Amendment diagnosis...

ANOTHER KNEE-TAKING TAKE

President Trump Fumbles His Culture War Drive

What discernible difference is there between HUAC demanding that Hollywood studios fire “un-American” writers and actors and Trump calling on NFL owners to fire kneeling players?

MICHAEL TOMASKY

09.25.17 5:25 PM ET

You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump. I mean, he’s turned NFL owners, of all people, into defenders of the First Amendment.

These are people who’ve devoted their lives first to making fortunes and second to plowing them into the ultimate adolescent fantasy toy—an NFL franchise. We may fairly wonder whether men who made millions in packaging material (Bob Kraft, New England), Hardee’s and Denny’s franchises (Jerry Richardson, Carolina), wallboard advertising (Dan Snyder, Washington), and sale of a cogeneration plant to Enron (Robert McNair, Houston) have spent much time contemplating the Bill of Rights.

But the owners stepped up Sunday. Cautiously, but they did it. The statement by McNair — and in fairness, he’s involved with a lot of educational and cultural philanthropy, so he seems to have a view of the world that’s broader than money and football — was compelling, especially so considering that he presides over a team in Houston. “The comments made by the President were divisive and counterproductive to what we need right now,” it read in part. That’s not bad, for a 79-year-old rich white Texas football team owner.

We don’t know where this is headed — whether, for example, the number of kneelers will spread and spread with each successive Sunday, or whether this was a one-off thing to send a message to the White House. But it’s clear enough what’s at stake. This is about two competing visions of society and ideas about patriotism.

Trump’s vision is of a society where the rules are the rules and those who break them — at least some of them — must be repudiated, scorned, and even denied livelihood. I was thinking about this Sunday, and it’s hard to see what distinguishes Trump’s remarks in Alabama last Friday and the kinds of things that used to be said by Joe McCarthy and the chairmen of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

What discernible difference is there between HUAC demanding that Hollywood studios fire “un-American” writers and actors and Trump calling on NFL owners to fire kneeling players? Absolutely none.

Likewise, his idea of patriotism reduces it to the bluntest of gestures and makes patently false allegations about the motives of dissenters. Colin Kaepernick and the others didn’t start kneeling to disrespect soldiers or veterans, or in protest of any war. They started kneeling to protest the frequent shootings of young black men by police. You can like that or not like that, but it has nothing to do with the military. Trump is, as usual, lying and being a demagogue.

And of course he’s being a racist, too. No, as he protested Sunday, he didn’t mention race. He didn’t have to. Smart demagogues haven’t explicitly mentioned race for a couple generations now.

The other vision is of a society where of course there are rules, but when people break or challenge them to appeal to the very principles those rules are intended to maintain, we should, even if grudgingly, respect that. For my own part, I never cared much for this whole kneeling business, because I always figured it would spark exactly what has happened here; that is, we’re not having a conversation about police shootings, we’re having a conversation about kneeling. But there are a lot of things I don’t agree with that I recognize people have the right to do. And that leads us to the other idea of patriotism, which is that love of country doesn’t mean love of symbols or wars, but of the principles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Trump could have raised this issue in a way that would have put the league and the owners in more of a bind, simply by being more circumspect in his rhetoric, appealing to the owners’ collective sense of patriotism, which is surely a lot closer to his than to Kaepernick’s. But if he did that, he wouldn’t be Trump. So he made his case, his appeal to the collective id of Duck Dynasty America, in a way that outraged even conservative multi-millionaire football owners.

Because of that, this disgraceful episode may yet prove to be a civic blessing. This week, I’d imagine, we’ll start to see polling on all this. One is tempted to think the worst of our fellow Americans in these situations. On the other hand, if even the very Republican club of NFL owners saw the offense in Trump’s remarks, maybe that means that most regular Americans will see it, too.

There was a guy quoted in a Times story I read Monday, a 61-year-old man with an Italian surname from White Plains. He said he was a Republican who voted for Trump, but he had a measured view of things. Of the kneelers, he said: “I understand what they’re trying to get at, I just think there are better ways of expressing yourself.” And of Trump, he said, “I think this is a battle he doesn’t need to get into.”

I hope, and cautiously believe, that this man represents the consensus. If he does, then it means that more and more Americans are learning who and what Donald Trump is. God knows, he keeps showing us.



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