Too Many Americans Have Short Memories

During the time Donald Trump has been President, some people have suggested that George W. Bush’s Presidency wasn’t all that bad.  Most recently, the public found it endearing when he handed Michelle Obama a piece of candy.

How many people remember the stolen 2000 Election, the oafish, graceless behavior after the September 11 tragedy, the lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, the torture of Muslims, etc?

If you’re impressed by a piece of candy and W.’s negative statements about Trump, either you were born very recently or you forgot all about some major events that still affect us.  If you were born recently, study the history carefully.  If you’re old enough to remember the George W. Bush Administration and you just let it slip your mind, shame on you.

Yes, Donald Trump is worse than any past President, including W.  Still, perspective is vital.

I felt supportive of Colin Kaepernick when he acted on principle during the National Anthem and got hell for it.  Again, perspective was essential.  He was protesting the disregard for African American lives by police officers — and our society in general — and he was right.  The people who expressed outrage are living in a fantasy world, where they salute the flag and ignore the well-being of anyone outside their own frame of reference.

Now Nike, a successful, always-fashionable business which owes much of its profit to overseas sweatshops, has co-opted Colin Kaepernick.  Not that Nike has failed to promote itself as a civil rights champion in the past.  The company gets high marks from Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ advocacy group, because of policies and practices that look good on whatever chart HRC is using.  Presumably, HRC doesn’t deduct points for outsourcing of labor.

The Colin Kaepernick backlash against Nike is high-profile.  The backlash is coming from the right, not the left.  Conservatives have been destroying the merchandise they own, or at least finding a way to remove the company logo.  I guess they’ve ruled out the possibility of donating their unwanted shoes, socks and clothing to a homeless shelter.  Did that even occur to them?

Okay, we all own some sweatshop merchandise.  It’s impossible to avoid.  Just be warned that if we pay top dollar for any of it we’re doing more than necessary to abet a human tragedy.  Nike’s merchandise isn’t cheap.

I don’t know if Mr. Kaepernick is aware of the overseas factory controversy which has stood as a proverbial dark cloud over Nike for years.  I heard about it a long time ago and participated in a letter writing campaign to try to get it stopped.  The company replied by sending a manuscript-sized envelope full of high-gloss material, emphasizing that there was no problem.

Quite a few of us heard about Nike’s “ethical issues” with overseas factories at about the time I sent them that letter.  This is one more thing that some of us forgot.

*sad trombone sound*

Liberals should be upset about Nike’s endorsement contract with Colin Kaepernick, whether or not they believe he knows about the sweatshops.  It’s the latest in a series of manipulative things the company has done to fake concern for human rights.  If corporate executives claim a commitment to LGBTQ or African American rights, it makes sense they should take a stand for the workers in factories associated with the company.  If Nike’s executives don’t advocate for the strangers on a separate continent who make their shoes, their commitment is hollow.  An enlightened public should take offense at their suggestion that we support persecuted individuals by going shopping.

The right-wing has unfairly promoted the cliché All Lives Matter.  That’s predictable, when you consider the small world inhabited by the right-wing.  In their closed society, All refers mainly to white heterosexual Christian adults.  Preferably men.

In the real world, All is a bit broader.  It includes persons of all races, ages, genders and sexual orientations.  Forget the real world, though.  If we’ve forgotten the past, the truth means nothing.  This is in an era in which we must deal with Kellyanne Conway’s Alternative Facts, and it’s pathetic that some people who see through Kellyanne’s lies have bought a bridge from someone else.

 

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