Losing the Anthem

King Pyrrhus was a Greek general who fought the emerging Roman Empire from 280 BC to 275 BC. King Pyrrhus won stunning victories against the Romans, but at a heavy price. When he was congratulated for another such victory at the Battle is Asculum, King Pyrrhus quipped “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”

I think about that retort when viewing many of the political battles fought today.

The controversy over football players kneeling during the National Anthem has waned, and Trump is being declared the victor. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell published a letter saying everyone should stand for the anthem and the league suddenly discovered bylaws requiring players to do so or face fines. All in all, it seems like a pretty clear win for Trump, and Rich Lowry explains why in Politico:

It is true that, after Trump got involved, the polling on the protests began to show the public more evenly divided. If you’re Donald Trump and at 40 percent or below in the polls, though, a 50/50 issue works for you. If you are the NFL and hope to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, a 50/50 issue is a disaster for you.

I think this assessment is fairly accurate, but incomplete. Trump won, but the NFL was not the only loser.
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Who is to Blame for Political Shootings?

Here are the facts: in the early morning hours, a gunman shot several people, severely wounding a member of the US House of Representatives. Almost immediately, some people began blaming the shooting on a climate of hate stoked by the opposition party.

Those were the facts in 2011 when Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, AZ, and those were the facts yesterday when James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise in Alexandria, VA during practice for a charity baseball game.

In 2011, many prominent Democrats blamed Republicans, and Sarah Palin in particular, for the shooting. They argued the anti-Obama and anti-government rhetoric of the Tea Party, along with a map Palin created with cross-hairs over 20 Congressional districts she was targeting in the upcoming election, caused a climate of political hatred that manifested itself in an act of political violence.

Today, some Republicans are likewise blaming Democrats. They point to the over the top rhetoric about Trump – that he is a Russian spy, a dictator, stole the election, is not a real president, “resist!”, etc – and argue this created a climate of political hatred that manifested itself in an act of political violence.

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Why Cultural Appropriation is Awesome

On March 17, Netflix premiered its latest Marvel TV show: Iron Fist. Based on the comic book of the same name, the show follows Danny Rand, the son of New York billionaires who was orphaned when his family’s private jet crashed somewhere in Asia. The sole survivor of the crash, Danny was taken in by a group of warrior monks in the mystical land of Kunlun, where he trained relentlessly in kung fu. He became a great fighter and was eventually chosen as the next Iron Fist, granting him the ability to channel his chi, causing his fist to glow and giving him superhuman strength.

Since it was released, the show has been called “terrible,” “boring,” “just fine,” and “the single worst thing the superhero television factory has ever created.” I call it ok, not as good as Daredevil, and necessary viewing to set up The Defenders. But some on the left are calling it something different: problematic.

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