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Outsiders vs. Insiders: What does George W. Bush & the NFL flag protesters have in common?

"Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!" -- Harry Dunn, from the film Dumb & Dumber

This highly- recognized movie quote certainly applies to a lot of what’s going on around us, though the dumb things people are saying and doing these days are probably not redeemable to even the most forgiving of clueless dunces like the character of Harry Dunn (played by Jeff Daniels in the 1994 classic buddy tale of two Shad Khanlovable idiots stumbling across country in pursuit of true love).

Take for example the statements from Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan after NFL owners met last week to try and resolve the national anthem/American flag protest issue. Khan advanced a theory for why President Donald Trump chose to inject himself into the hullabaloo, a hypothesis so absurd it could qualify for exalted status under Harry Dunn’s “couldn’t be any dumber” category.

Jarrett Bell of USA Today Sports reported last week, “Shad Khan thinks he knows the real reason Donald Trump is so obsessed with how the NFL does business. ‘This is a very personal issue with him,’ Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars owner, told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday as NFL owners wrapped up two days of meetings in Lower Manhattan...

“’He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,’ said Khan, who bought the Jags in 2011 for $760 million. ‘So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.’”

In other words, Khan thinks because businessman Trump launched a couple unsuccessful bids to buy NFL teams in the past (and was part of a lawsuit against the league from the defunct USFL in the 80’s) that he’s only calling out the association’s players, management and owners as president because he carries a personal grudge and is therefore fulfilling a vendetta to bring down a league centered around kicking, carrying and throwing an oblong ball.

Khan surmises American patriotism has nothing to do with any of it; for Trump it’s all about the money.

Bell’s article further reveals Pakistani-immigrant Khan was one of several owners who donated significant cash to Trump’s campaign, having contributed a million bucks to the president’s inaugural committee. Khan wouldn’t comment on whether he regrets the gift now.

The balance of Bell’s article reads like copy prepared by Hillary Clinton’s campaign -- or Black Lives Matter -- imparting all sorts of racially-driven and bigoted motives on the president for simply pointing out that highly-paid “son of a bitch” professional football players should show respect for the flag by standing and honoring the national anthem. You know, a unity gesture that apparently doesn’t sufficiently address the hurt feelings of politically motivated individuals purporting to represent a “cause” without definition or solution.

Boisterous NFL protesters have said they want to “raise awareness.” But what good does that do?

Ben Shapiro wrote last week in CNS News, “So, is it worthwhile to complain about generalized problems without providing specific instances upon which we can agree and against which we can fight? Only on a marginal level — and in some ways, it's actually tremendously counterproductive…

“So, here's an idea: Let's all call out bad action when we see it and be as specific as possible about it. We can all agree on what a bad guy looks like; there isn't much debate about Harvey Weinstein. But if we continue to promote the importance of ‘raising awareness’ rather than providing evidence, our groundless distrust for one another is bound to grow and metastasize.”

It’s safe to say the “distrust” has already reached its apex; whether it stays there is up to the NFL at this point. The league meetings last week failed to resolve the issue and player protests continued over the weekend. For how long? For what?

Is there anyone in America whose “awareness” hasn’t been “raised” in the past few decades as to the problems of blight and social deterioration in poor communities? Every time anyone turns on the evening news we see images of hooded protesters out pushing people and fostering mayhem over some leftist cause. If anything we’re too dang “aware” of what’s going on. Ignorance isn’t a problem in this country.

Wasn’t “awareness” raised in the early 90’s during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, Rodney King trial and subsequent O.J. Simpson controversy? Weren’t the LA riots in 1992 all about “social justice” and people blowing off steam built up over the alleged unfairness of the system? Didn’t many of today’s “civil rights” crowd shout “No justice no peace!” during the year-long O.J. public spectacle?

It’s obvious plenty of people are “aware” of the differences in viewpoints between minority communities and the rest of the nation. Things haven’t changed but there are still a lot of whiners out there making themselves famous by exploiting the acts of rioting thugs and criminals.

Fast forward to recent times when NFL folks of all stripes are making dumber than dumb statements that dig the hole they created deeper and deeper.

Again, from Bell’s article, “’Let’s get real,’ Khan said. ‘The [Trump] attacks on Muslims, the attacks on minorities, the attacks on Jews. I think the NFL doesn’t even come close to that on the level of being offensive. Here, it’s about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.’”

Not only does Khan make dumb statements he clearly doesn’t have a clue about current events and where Trump stands on issues. All he’s doing is parroting the media’s talking points about what the president supposedly believes. Maybe Khan is auditioning to be a pundit on CNN.

Seeing as the Jacksonville franchise is perpetually on shaky financial ground and the region is fairly conservative in orientation, one wonders whether Khan’s bottom line will suffer for his asinine and ignorant observations. There’s a fairly sizable military presence in northern Florida as well, people who aren’t likely to see the issue of patriotism vs. racism the same way Khan does.

One aspect of this NFL protest movement that hasn’t received much attention is the amount of public money already invested in new stadiums in recent times. Just off the top of my head the Minnesota Vikings opened a new venue last season and the Atlanta Falcons showed off a brand new park just last month. To my knowledge, both received significant public contributions.

From living in the Washington DC region I know Redskins owner Dan Snyder is seeking a new stadium since the now 20 year-old FedEx field is no longer satisfactory in his greedy eyes. Will taxpayers be willing to keep putting up money to build newer and grander arenas to showcase the gladiator-like stupidity of the “raising awareness” NFL?

Isn’t that the definition of dumb?

As if the NFL wasn’t obtuse enough, former President George W. Bush made some mighty dumb comments of his own last week. John T. Bennett of Roll Call reported, “Former President George W. Bush on Thursday delivered a scathing warning about Donald Trump, saying his ‘America first’ philosophy portends a dangerous inward turn that is eroding democracy at home and threatening stability around the world.

“’The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,’ the 43rd president said during a speech in New York. ‘And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.’

“’Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of the free markets, from the strength of democratic alliance and from the advance of free societies,’ Bush said. ‘Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.’”

In his speech Bush didn’t mention Trump by name but the inference was clear. “Turning inward” certainly refers to Trump’s economic nationalism and the greater mantra of “America First.”

What a globalist pile of bovine organic matter. We tried Bush’s (and McCain’s and Graham’s and Cheney’s) way for eight years and it led to detrimental military commitments that cost thousands of American lives and over a trillion dollars to accomplish … what?

Since he delivered the remarks in New York maybe Bush had just sat in on the NFL’s deliberations and decided to enter the bash-Trump sweepstakes. Or maybe Jeb Bush’s brother was just “raising awareness” of all the great things that could be achieved through sending more American troops abroad to spread the neoconservative vision of utopia and world democracy.

It’s worked so well to this point, after all. Add in the Obama administration’s combination of politically correct foreign policy mixed in with feckless disengagement and you’ve got a real mess in the world. Nationalist movements are springing up all over Europe precisely to combat this line of thinking.

Patrick J. Buchanan wrote at The American Conservative, “European elites may denounce these new parties as ‘illiberal’ or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

“To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.”

The names are “racist,” “bigot” and “bully.” Such tags are thrown about so haphazardly these days they no longer have any definition or meaning. They’re all just part of “raising awareness.”

It’s hard to predict how the latest battles over American culture will turn out or if they’ll ever truly end. There’s so much ignorance and disinformation out there (on both sides) and so many liberal politicians seeking to take advantage of it that things just seem to be getting more dumb and dumber all the time.

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