One of the NYPD’s top cops, Terence Monahan, did it. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd also tried.
These are Irish Americans who faced tough choices in recent weeks. Their decisions teach us important lessons as we crawl out of these dystopian months, riddled by social and biological viruses.
But first -- sports!
Not long ago, smart folks were scratching their heads and wondering, “How can we get more people to watch Major League Baseball.” And now you have a crisis during which lots of people are screaming, “Please, God, give me baseball!”
And now the folks who can make that happen -- the owners and the players’ union -- can’t figure out a way to make it happen.
If it does happen, there is talk of baseball teams -- just like the NBA is supposed to do come July 30 -- playing all of their games in one central location. It’s called playing in a “bubble.”
It’s considered safer amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Players and staffs can limit interactions with other people, and the playing environment can be regularly disinfected.
It seems like a brilliant innovation. But there is one problem.
Many people in America have been living in bubbles for years now. They don’t want to be “infected” by anyone whose beliefs about how the world works will make them angry, or make them cry or -- worst of all -- make them think complicated thoughts.
The easiest target of all right now is the sparsely-populated bubble the Trump campaign set up in Tulsa last weekend, where the president proved he’s a big boy and really can walk down a ramp and drink a glass of water all by himself.
Count me on the bandwagon that charges towards November hoping that Trump loses.
But that’s just another big ol’ bubble, isn’t it?
These days, many of us prefer cyber-bubbles on Twitter and Facebook, where we congratulate each other for being very right, and scold those who are just so wrong.
The other side is wrong not merely because they are ignorant and stupid, but because they are -- like a virus -- sickening our society. In some places, it is gays and refugees who people believe are making our society sick. Elsewhere, it is gun nuts and evangelical Christians.
Within really weird bubbles, the children and grandchildren of immigrants tax their brains to conjure reasons why their ancestors were somehow made of more patriotic stuff than these folks we need a wall for today.
But we also have folks who celebrate diversity. But not just difference diversity. It’s got to be chic and exotic diversity. Like a zoo or museum exhibit.
Diversity of thought? Devil’s advocate-style questioning?
That’s a big no-no.
That’s when you might as well be carrying a virus. That’s when you see all protesters as terrorists, criminals or agents of anarchy -- even 75 year-olds who walk with canes.
And that’s when you see murderous cops and the sitcom Brooklyn 99 and, really, the very existence of police departments, as pretty much all the same problem.
And if you disagree, you are not just wrong but hateful, and anyone who allows your opinions to be shared should be shamed and cancelled.
Which is why NYPD Chief of Police Terence Monahan is so darn interesting. Here’s a white Irish cop. That’s his bubble. Yet in early June, he took a knee and even hugged those protesting against police brutality.
You can love what he did or hate it. But he burst out of his bubble.
Last weekend, Maureen Dowd wrote an emotional Father’s Day column, admitting that back in the 1960s she craved the acceptance of the cool anti-establishment kids, even though her father was a cop.
“I found it hard to balance hating the Vietnam War and wanting racial justice with being part of a family, baked in patriotism, taught to revere uniforms,” she wrote.
Maybe stances are supposed to be a little difficult. You think it was easy for career cop Monahan to take a knee?
But if you take a stance and everybody around you simply applauds, you may want to stand a little taller and see what happens if you pop the bubble.
(Contact “Sidewalks” tdeignan.blogspot.com)