Floyd, Kaepernick, Fromm, & Brees

What do these four men have in common and what is uncommon between them?

————

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

All four of them live(d) in the United States of America as legal citizens. That is one common denominator, but that is essentially where any similarities end other than genetics. What are the contrasts of these four men?

Three of the men play or have played in the NFL, one is no longer allowed to play in the NFL, and another was a fan of the NFL. Two are black men and two are white men, all from very different backgrounds inside the U.S. Three of the men are still living. Two of the men enjoy an extremely lavish lifestyle provided to them by their zip code births and family, the NFL, their respective team-owners, and brand-endorsements. One no longer has a career in the NFL and those rewards for simply going down to one knee during the imposed National Anthem before games to peacefully protest “police violence” on African-Americans and non-whites—a right provided by and protected by our U.S. Constitution and First Amendment for ALL U.S. citizens. One man was restrained by police officers and then suffocated to death by one officer, confirmed by two separate autopsies. The victim was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby market. Finally, two of these four men enjoy very different American lifestyles, legal protections and privileges under our laws and Constitution DESPITE the fact that all four men are/were legal U.S. citizens.

There must be another fact remembered here. According to our federal and state laws, all of us deserve equally certain and specific protections by these laws, even when “suspected” of a crime, before and during legal “Due Process” by our justice system. A popular catch-phrase for this is “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” Every single American citizen is provided these inalienable rights regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual-orientation by the laws of the land, that is in theory. Economic or financial status SHOULD also be included and defined in these rights, but that’s another debate for another time and likely for a balanced, equitable U.S. Supreme Court.

Here is why I have gathered these four American men into a group. They currently represent citizens of the United States and the laws that are supposed to protect them. Perhaps I should have included Officer Derek Chauvin as well, but I chose not to in order to keep this post and topic somewhat brief and time-considerate. I will assume that most of my readers understand the purpose of American law-enforcement leading to arrests and probable cause (not sentencing!) for any police detainments and arrests, and followed by “due process” within our civil and criminal justice code and our U.S. Constitution.

  • George Floyd was suspected of passing counterfeit money. Did he deserve to die for this BEFORE getting legal representation in a court of law (due process)?
  • Colin Kaepernick was a star quarterback in the NFL who chose to peacefully protest police violence, a right provided to him by our U.S. Constitution. Yet, after his 2016 season and still incredibly talented, but released by the 49’ers, and then no other NFL team (31 other teams!) wanted to sign him, not even as a backup quarterback.
  • Jake Fromm is extremely outspoken about his personal religious beliefs giving him privileged success in football: I want to represent Christ the best I can, Fromm said. He later reemphasized his personal mission of proselytizing saying I hope I can reach and influence as many people as possible. Let’s try to go and influence others, lead people to Jesus, and hopefully do the best we can with influencing them and hopefully shed a little light in their lives.” In 2019 during a Twitter conversation with a friend about gun-ownership Fromm tweeted But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors, then he added, Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha. Fromm has never experienced any trials or tribulations his entire life.
  • Drew Brees made comments during a June 3rd, 2020 Yahoo Finance interview about American symbols in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s murder and Kaepernick’s PEACEFUL protest against police violence. He said I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. […] I think what you do by standing there [upright on your feet] and showing respect for the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. Brees is also recorded as stating his top four priorities in life in order of most importance. They are 4) philanthropy via Christian organizations, 3) football, 2) family, and 1) faith in Jesus Christ as he interprets it. The only trials and tribulations Brees has ever faced in his entire life are football injuries or team adversities.

What are your thoughts about my grouping and their bullet-points? I am curious to know, from any perspective. If possible, include your thoughts about social-media or freedom of expression today on social-media and how it is properly or improperly used by celebrities.

Late addition:
An interview by ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter June 4th, 2020 is quite telling from a celebrity white-man’s perspective. Watch the entire 6-minute interview. It is very revealing what Dale Earnhardt, Jr., a popular American NASCAR driver—a sport dominated by the Old South or Confederate States, white culture, and most popular in the South—says about the murder of George Floyd, racism and police violence today in the U.S.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Our Better Angels

————

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained, it must not break
our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell
when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.”

President Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural Address,
Washington DC, March 1861

————

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Back in the Fall of 2015 I had read some rumors and articles that one of my all-time favorite American, historical stories was being made into film. I was thrilled, elated this true event was finally making a screen-write then into full production. This true story is set during the 1970’s Civil Rights Movement throughout the old South, but for these two main characters the movie would begin exactly where it all began, Durham, North Carolina, 1971.

I thought about titling this blog-post Our Better Virtues, but decided against because Lincoln’s quote was just too spot on and appropriate for this subject and film. Although, “Virtues” would have inferred my own meaning, intention, and desires for human kind around the world. After all, every single living human on this planet has some virtues. They just have to choose to find them, bestow them liberally, and nurture as well as grow them. Oh well, “Our Better Angels” gets the point across just fine. 😉

I have blogged here several times about C.P. Ellis and Ann Atwater and the volatile, appalling events they both found themselves. In a February 2016 blog-post I wrote about expanding sympathy into deep empathy and how the two feelings, behaviors are actually quite different. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others” and so on, falls short of deep, impactful empathy. Real empathy requires much more than being self-centered or focused on one’s self. It requires putting yourself into their life, their shoes, and metaphorically (or literally?) walking in them 100-miles or more. It does not involve yourself.

This 2019 film, The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson (as Ann Atwater) and Sam Rockwell (as C.P. Ellis), tells that story about finding and giving common, deep empathy for your fellow neighbor, your fellow human being. I finally had the opportunity to watch it and not soon enough! Here is one of the trailers:

Sadly and disappointingly critical reviews of the film have been average and unkind if not neutrally bland. Therefore, I am writing my own reviews and commentary everywhere I can. Why? Because I feel strongly it is important to point out a few things about historical, time-period films to less discerning audiences regarding authentic history, particularly scholarly history that seeks to gather all possible data, evidence, sources, and narratives… no matter their viewpoint. Now, for my personal review of the film, The Best of Enemies:

I imagine this film is horribly underrated and unappreciated by the majority of cinematic fans and specific “cultural” groups. BUT movie reviews will never change what Ann Atwater changed in North Carolina and the ripple-effects she and C.P. Ellis began afterwards during and for the Civil Rights in the 1970’s.

The fact that this film briefly portrays in two short hours what was accomplished in real life between Bill Riddick, Howard Clement, C.P. Ellis, and Ann Atwater—not to mention the Black community in Durham, NC—must be remembered. No matter what movie critics think about the film, and honestly, their trivial criticisms about its direction or production or script or acting do it injustice. Pffffft.

Real, accurate, authentic history is near impossible to translate/transcribe onto the silver-screen in a measly 2-hours or less. This unwinnable cinematic anomaly against movie producers, film-writers, film-budgets, then movie audiences and critics, should always be seriously considered when producing and releasing raw, historically accurate, socially-politically CORRECT and LEGALLY RIGHT Movements as the American Civil Rights, or other highly controversial subjects as the Holocaust or the U.S.’s 18th – 19th century treatment, extermination, and resettlement of Native American Indian tribes. Typically 2-hours or less will NEVER do these historical time-period subjects full justice.

Hence, when all considered, including reading and deciding the real worth/value of this film’s many bland or negative short-sighted or undeserved reviews, just remember this…

2-hours will NEVER be able to tell the full astonishing, real-life true story and relationship about and between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis… which required and evolved over three decades! Ignore movie critics, remember the core and marrow of what the film is telling, portraying!

5-stars and more, every time, every day!

Did I emphasize 2-hours enough? 😜

Seriously though, I hope you will make the time to watch, appreciate, and support these fine altruistic, humanitarian films like this one and the stories they tell. They will at least introduce to you a starting point to go further, dig deeper into the entire contextual narrative, facts, plausible facts, and plausible probabilities despite there often being degrees of cinematic license taken to appease corporate profits, severe time-constraints, and/or film productions at the expense of truth and full historical accuracy. Please keep this in mind.

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Chiefs, Indians, Slavery & Tocqueville

Leonard R. Rogers was the subject of a 1954 article called “Boss Of Million Dollar Firm At Age Of 21 Is No Pipe Dream.” Rogers, whose company was responsible for 75 per cent of America’s business in tobacco pouches, was radically revamping the mega-corporation. When Rogers took over the company founded 50 years earlier by his grandfather he quickly realized that some of the long time company executives knew nothing about anything that was happening outside their department (bubble). Thus, he made the decision to re-organize the company by rolling heads and dissolving positions, i.e. Too many chiefs and not enough indians.

Catalan human-towers

Human towers in the traditional Catalan Festival

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians” was also the phrase my father liked to use. When we were down in Brazoria County, Texas, working my paternal grandparents cattle and land during one or two of the 3-4 holidays of the year, every one of my cousins, myself, and all my uncles and one aunt of the family had/wanted to accomplish all the needed and necessary work and never-ending repairs as efficiently as possible given the usually short few days everyone had while there. With so many cousins running around wanting to play or do our own “work tasks,” that was when he’d often use the phrase on us. I have to note here, however, that with his family the chief-indian concept reflected more the later 1996 concept “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Clinton. His family had rotating or periodic leadership and supporting roles. Everyone had to do and know all positions and their functions. Dad said it many times during my school and select-league soccer games he’d attend when we’d play bad or lose.

In the exceptional 2008 animated film WALL-E, Earth has become a trashed garbage planet due to unfettered free-enterprise which led to human hyper-consumption of everything corporate manufacturers and retailers convinced and sold the poorly educated masses they HAD to have to be “truly happy.” The upper-echelon executives left Axiom starliner people_1Earth on giant starliners and charged lower-echelon humans the same type of prices they charged for all their earthly GNP goods. As a result of the never-ending, rising land-fills from impulsive, Keeping Up with The Jones consumers they ironically created, Earth was no longer inhabitable. The starliner Axiom returns to Earth to retrieve another garbage compactor EVE that is not functioning. WALL-E becomes a stow-away onboard the Axiom and when he finally sees his predecessors/creators, humans. Every single one of them are grossly obese, immobile, and totally dependent on automation to do everything for them — the consequence of widespread chief-dome and no one wanting to rotate into the support roles, the blue-collar roles, the farmer roles, the plumber and garbage roles, or janitor roles. The ‘indians‘ roles.

All the chieftain-humans on the starliners had become slaves to convenience, leisure and having anyone or everything robotic perform all the daily, humdrum labor they themselves were too lazy to do. It was below them and their pay-grade.

Slavery. Oh the irony. In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian and political scientist, wrote a book about the young United States of America while examining a spreading trend of democracy and equality in Europe as well as North America. The book was Democracy in America and Tocqueville was intrigued by America’s system of governing and its nurturing of individualism. He thought the U.S. was a leading example of liberty, equality, a stable economy, and governing in action. He noted too how popular its churches were to social life. Yet, with all those “good marks,” he couldn’t help but notice how a freedom-loving nation despicably treated Native American Indians and African slaves. With all the theoretical perks of democracy, capitalism, and individualism, Tocqueville warned that too much equality would or could lead to intellectual dilution and a mediocrity of majority rule. Regarding independent, provocative thought, theory, and debate he wrote:

The majority has enclosed thought within a formidable fence. A writer is free inside that area, but woe to the man who goes beyond it, not that he stands in fear of an inquisition, but he must face all kinds of unpleasantness in every day persecution. A career in politics is closed to him for he has offended the only power that holds the keys.

alexis de tocquevilleOn the other hand, the pendulum can swing too far the other way to plutarchy and oligarchy if there is an insufficient, low-quality public education system and lack of economic opportunities/mobility to hedge against such tyrannies. If or when that occurs, some “individualized” Americans independently wealthy and above a struggling majority — what is currently the case in America today — often have the delayed pragmatic realization that looking after the welfare of others is not only good for the soul, but actually is equally good for their business and wealth. Those individualized elite who never realize this profound truth, eventually watch their empire and ivory towers crumble. Just ask the Roman Empire’s aristocracy, ask the 18th century opulent French monarchs such as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, or ask those executive heads of Leonard R. Rogers’ mega-tobacco corporation, or let’s ask a modern, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz:

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this has been something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Often, however, they learn it too late.

Tocqueville had a lot to say about the bright and dark sides of “democracy” in 1835. I think he still has a lot to say about it today, along with WALL-E, Leonard Rogers, and my Dad. Everyone deserves the right to be well-educated, helped and prepared by a team/village for their rotation as a chief and as an indian. When you stand-in and walk in someone else’s shoes, that is when understanding begins. That is when appreciation begins. That is when compassion and empathy begins. That is when true empowerment with humility begins.

(paragraph break)

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.