This week I had a laugh I wasn't expecting when it was announced that Colin Kaepernick would become the face of the latest Nike advertising campaign.
I laughed because I guessed what was coming next, not because I thought that his selection was in any provocative or outrageous.
And within hours there it was: angry white people on the internet cutting the black Nike swooshes off their gleaming white socks or setting fire to their $150 trainers on their expensive summer barbecues.
They quickly made activist video's and shared them with Twitter hashtags like #BoycottNike.
They were so incensed by the company's decision to pick Kaepernick that they were setting fire to their own sneakers on camera. Some were even foolish enough to keep them on as they burned.
It took less than 24 hours for a Nike protestor to end up in the hospital.
He burned the Nike Shoes....
Wearing.September 4, 2018
It was like the bra burning early feminism years all over again, except this time they were asking for the removal of other people's rights, not their expansion.
No one protesting Nike this week ever noticed that the point of their protest was to prevent Kaepernick from protesting. We can set fire to our shoes and cut up our socks all we want but you can't kneel during the anthem, their actions informed us.
We, being white male conservative patriots, are free to express our feelings about injustice with angry protests and internet boycotts but you being a black male athlete just need to shut up and do as you're told.
I guess no one told them that the First Amendment works both ways. The rights of freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances are for every citizen, not just for the citizens who look and talk like us.
What makes these sneaker burning antics and the anti-press, anti-rights era of Donald Trump so distinctively and ground-breakingly stupid is that his supporters and the president himself clearly believe that the Constitution only protects the rights and interests of white conservative Republicans.
This week Trump attacked his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a way that is completely unprecedented from a sitting president in the history of the Republic.
On Sunday the increasingly paranoid and beleaguered Trump attacked Sessions for the timing of the indictments of Republican representatives Chris Collins and Duncan D. Hunter. Both are major political headaches for the GOP, given how hard it will be to replace the already-renominated incumbents on the ballots.
Trump clearly thought Sessions should have ignored the demands of the law and the U.S. Constitution to prevent that from happening.
“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Midterms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......” he tweeted.
This means Trump thinks that Sessions should have ignored his duty as Attorney General and delayed their prosecutions until some future time when it was better for the GOP. Obama, by the way, had nothing to do with the timing, both men's alleged wrong doings occurred in 2017.
Trump's intervention immediately backfired however. Two GOP senators insisted that Trump was trying to politicize the Justice Department. Senator Ben Sasse released a statement saying, “The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice - one for the majority party and one for the minority party.” Then Senator Jeff Flake tweeted that Trump was “looking to use the Department of Justice to settle political scores.”
Trump was settling scores and attacking the Attorney General exactly as if this was a banana republic, in other words. The U.S. Justice Department should look out for Republicans and promote their interests above the requirements of the law. It should be careful to consider how cases look to the public.
This means Trump wants a political crusader to promote the interests of the GOP over the interests of the Constitution and the law. He wants Sessions out and he wants some even more partisan flunky in. He wants a banana republic and he won't stop until he gets one.
So where is House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, during all this? Where have they gone while the rule of law is being subverted, as ongoing criminal cases are publicly prejudged by Trump? Why do we only hear crickets and see tumbleweed blow across the national stage?
The truth is already clear, as long as Trump gives them the things they want like tax cuts for the rich they will ignore his daily assaults on American political custom, tradition and the rule of law. They are putting their deep pocketed donors before the Constitution and the United States. How many bananas do you need to collect before you see where that leads?