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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Ignorant and arrogant establishment proves resistant to life’s lessons

“Won’t you ever learn?”

It’s something everyone’s heard at some point in their lifetimes, a query so common it might as well be stamped on each baby’s birth certificate before the child leaves the hospital. For only at birth is someone Houston protestcompletely immune from charges of ignorance.

Though we seem to receive this particular question frequently during childhood and adolescence it could be said adults deserve to hear it the most. For the older we get the more we should have learned, though with certain political commentators – and NFL personnel – it appears no amount of reason and experience is sufficient to teach them a lesson and have it soak in.

To put it mildly, these people keep making the same dumb mistakes over and over again.

To demonstrate, Kevin D. Williamson of National Review wrote over the weekend, "If Republicans were who they were ten years ago, a Romney renaissance might make perfect sense. But Republicans have changed. One of the depressing things about my editor at National Review, Rich Lowry, is that he is so dependably correct in his estimation of the political facts on the ground, and it is difficult to argue with his recent assertion that Donald Trump now represents the main stream of the Republican political orientation.

“Trump’s substitution of sneering for analysis, his shallow anti-‘elitism,’ his attacks on free trade and on freedom of the press, his adolescent social-media habit: Republicans have not rallied behind him in spite of these things, but because of them.”

There appears to be no end to Williamson’s contempt for the people who chose Trump last year though it’s not exactly clear what alternatives would have won more appreciation from him.

I don’t recall who Williamson supported in last year’s Republican primaries – or even if he favored a Republican at all – but it’s clear through nearly two and a half years of following the Trump phenomenon that the establishment writer still doesn’t get the president or his backers.

Over the course of time Trump the showman morphed into Trump the authentic candidate though there were still elements of showbiz left in his presentation. Republican elites like the National Review staff (some of them, at least) don’t seem to comprehend that Trump’s lack of policy specificity wasn’t a hindrance to his campaign because Americans have grown exhausted with politicians who portend to know everything about everything – and name drop to extend the ruse. Many voters found Trump’s decades of business acumen and simple way of framing issues somewhat refreshing.

Whereas the average politician could ramble on for an hour given the opportunity to answer a yes or no question during a candidate debate, Trump never tried to evade the straight answers and oftentimes articulated what he meant in just a few words.

“We’re going to take care of our wonderful veterans… It’s a disgrace and it’s going to end… Our infrastructure is crumbling… We’re going to build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for it… The Iraq War was a disaster… The education system is failing… We’ll make America great again.”

A lot of people enjoyed what Trump was saying. Ted Cruz held a lot of the same issue positions and though none of the contenders possessed Marco Rubio’s remarkable gift for rehearsed fluidity (25 second speech?), the voters out there in front of their television screens took to the outsiders’ messages. Let Jeb Bush stumble over his responses offering nuance after nuance to a uncomplicated query like, “As president, would you grant amnesty to people who are here illegally?”

Trump was direct and to the point. His enemies (like Williamson) continue to accuse him of being light on the details and fast and loose with the truth but every politician has naysayers who claim the same things. If Trump’s supporters admire him – and surveys suggest they do – then there’s no justification for the #NeverTrump elite to keep calling them simple, inane and gullible.

Despite Williamson’s obvious and perpetuated contempt for Trump supporters the subject of his column was actually to address Mitt Romney’s rumored run for senate in Utah (if Orrin Hatch retires). Williamson wondered why Romney would even be interested in serving in the senate in the first place and lamented, once again, that 2012 didn’t put Mitt in the White House. The former Bain Capital CEO certainly would have been a real Republican president, after all.

Williamson concluded his piece, “Mitt Romney is a deeply religious man, and he is no doubt familiar with the story of the Israelites who fell down and worshipped the golden calf in spite of Moses’s best efforts. Republicans, being not so grand, have been seduced by Donald Trump’s gold-plated toilet — as sure a sign of the times as we have ever seen.”

Terrific analysis, Kevin. Sure, all Republicans fell under Trump’s spell because he sits on a gold throne when performing human bodily functions. Mitt Romney would have been so much better for the world because he uses regular ol’ porcelain, right?

Romney had his chance – two, actually (2008 and 2012) – to summons enough popular energy to be president. He didn’t win largely because the simpletons in America took him seriously when Mitt said the “47%” would never vote Republican. Most conservatives and Republicans backed Romney against Obama for the same reason they did Trump against Hillary -- namely the alternative was much worse than taking a chance on the Republican.

Romney is a good man but he’s also symbolic of an establishment that’s fallen hopelessly out-of-favor with the people. If Romney had won the same people would be similarly upset that the status quo remained in place. Trump supporters aren’t ignorant or worshipful of the president – they’re hopeful he’ll be able to change a system that needs a dramatic shift in direction.

They’ve learned over the years that politics-as-usual wouldn’t do anything to improve things. Williamson should be applauding them, not condemning them.

Meanwhile, another group of elites hasn’t taken recent experience and learned from it. Here it is the beginning of November and elements of the NFL are still “protesting” something that can’t be defined.

This past weekend the Houston Texans took to their knees to demonstrate their displeasure with an analogy the team’s owner made during a recent meeting.

Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reported on Sunday, “During the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, the majority of Houston Texans players kneeled and linked arms. Approximately 10 players stood.

“Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D'Onta Foreman missed Friday's practice after Texans owner Bob McNair's controversial ‘inmates running the prison’ comment during an Oct. 18 meeting in which owners talked about business concerns related to player protests during the national anthem. McNair's comments were reported in an ESPN The Magazine story on Friday morning.

“McNair issued an apology Friday morning and further clarified his comments in a statement on Saturday, saying, ‘I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week.’”

McNair indicated the “inmates running the prison” remark was in reference to the league management (which works for the owners -- think Commissioner Roger Goodell) setting policy on controversial topics like how to handle flag protests that have unquestionably damaged the entire league and started to hurt the team owners’ bottom lines. The Houston owner claims the comment had nothing to do with the players. Who knows, but McNair’s explanation is more than plausible.

Sensitivity seems to have reached its apex where professional football “employees” are concerned. Far from a prison, the NFL is a giant playhouse with highly paid entertainers who admittedly would do almost anything to gain a spot on stage where they earn paychecks exponentially larger than the average fan’s. The league office runs the production like prison guards would do and the brainless owners meekly go along with it – “inmates” could certainly fit to describe them.

As far as some players deciding to skip practice over interpretations of their boss’s comments, there couldn’t be a more shining example of how absurd all of this has become. It’s safe to say if employees in the real world had the power to forego work and staff meetings because they took offense to something their superiors said on the job, nothing would ever get done. Could a Facebook worker decide to bail for a day to “protest” something Mark Zuckerberg said?

It appears the NFL players are taking it upon themselves to protest their teams and the league as well as the American flag. Are they sabotaging their own existence? Don’t they care about all those guys in high school and college football who dream of someday reaching the NFL?

What will they protest next, the church?

They definitely haven’t learned. And if it wasn’t bad enough already, the management is trying to stave off any owners’ attempts at reform, too.

Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter wrote at ESPN.com, “The Cowboys' Jerry Jones was a leading voice among 17 NFL owners on a conference call Thursday that discussed the possibility of halting commissioner Roger Goodell's pending contract extension, sources involved with the call told ESPN.

“There is a growing difference of opinion among owners about Goodell's overall performance as commissioner, according to sources. The owners on Thursday's conference call are generally unhappy with Goodell and the NFL's front office for a variety of reasons, including the player protests staged during the national anthem, issues regarding the relocation of teams to Los Angeles and the league's handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, according to sources.”

If those “sources” are correct then the “inmates” (i.e. Roger Goodell and company) truly are in charge of the “prison” (the league). Owners should be bothered that their billion dollar products are eroding right before their very eyes under the mismanagement and outright stupidity of Goodell and the other clueless dolts making policy at the league offices.

The first rule of business is to avoid offending your customers, which is a bit of common sense that shouldn’t need to be reinforced once experience provides the instruction. Unfortunately some in the conservative media and the NFL haven’t quite gotten the memo. Won’t they ever learn?Houston protestHouston protest

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