This fucking guy…I might have to become the first person ever to burn Tuesdays with Morrie.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Mitch Albom, author of children’s books for adults and surreptitious Trump supporter, is a fuckhead.

Sorry, I know that sentence was terse and not very nice, but it is in words he’d understand.

Albom quizzically weighed in on the growing number of New England Patriots who said they will not visit the White House in celebration of their recent Super Bowl victory in a Detroit Free Press column calling the dissenting players “rude.”

Here’s an excerpt:

It is surely their right to do so as Americans.

It is also rude.

No one is asking them to endorse a candidate. And taking a photo with your nation’s elected leader doesn’t mean you surrender your right to disagree with every single thing he does. That’s the beauty of America. In fact, the visit may give you a rare chance to express your views to the leader himself.

Rude, in all its definitions, could be a fitting word to describe politics lately.

Then he went on to summarize the most brutal of all arguments that has been made since Trump seized power. So, thank you, Mr. Albom, for encapsulating both white privilege and willful ignorance so succinctly in one paragraph.

Ready?

Besides, since most presidential elections are about 50-50, I’m guessing half the athletes who have visited the White House over the years didn’t vote for the man occupying it. So what? You can respect the office. The tradition. The reverence of our flawed but still-beautiful democratic system.

Yeah, I have a problem with that statement. Everyone should have a fucking problem with that statement.

Here’s why:

  1. Besides, since most presidential elections are about 50-50. Where the fuck did this math come from? In this most recent case it was approximately Clinton 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%) so no it wasn’t 50/50, not even close, not by a long shot. It was a difference of more than two percentage points. That margin of victory in the popular vote is the largest in raw numbers for any candidate who has gone on to lose in the Electoral College and was almost six times larger than that of Democrat Al Gore’s popular vote win in 2000. Hillary’s popular vote victory is comparable with Reagan’s drubbing of Michael Dukakis in 1988. It’s also important to note, with the exception of W’s re-election in 2003, a Republican has yet to win the popular vote this century yet two of the three presidents have been from the GOP. I don’t know where Albom gets the 50/50 thing for this go around, nor why would he so blithely dismiss actual numbers. Oh, I know why, because that’s what we do now.
  2. I’m guessing half the athletes who have visited the White House over the years didn’t vote for the man occupying it. So what? So, what? I dunno, fucking everything you fuck. Just a refresher. Trump was the carnival barker candidate whose revivalist nativist, xenophobic, race-baiting populism grew like an infected pustule to cover the back of the heartland of America and transformed the dialogue into a platform of overt white supremacy. He was only endorsed by the KKK, neo-Nazi publications, websites and blogs and the National Enquirer. He took the base, the ribald right fringe who want to return to a day of slavery and religious oppression, not to mention strip mining women’s rights and destroying what’s left of the earth we walk upon, and made these extremist views the center of his strategy. He is following through with a Muslim ban one that legal expert Benjamin Wittes described as “malevolence tempered by incompetence,” that the upper courts have already characterized as unconstitutional and counter to the law of the land. He has bolstered that position with police-state search and seizure of undocumented immigrants and a $20-billion American-paid-for plan to build a worthless border wall that nobody wants, needs nor will it accomplish anything. He lies, openly, all the time and as we saw in Thursday’s nonsensical press conference, the likes of which historians will be struggling to fully tackle for decades, he piles excuses and misinformation on top of those untruths. So what, Mr. Albom, what kind of fucking entitled stucco-and-spanish-tiled-white-guy rock have you been living under? If someone came and deported your wife, killed your dog, burned a cross on your lawn before lighting your house on fire then pissed on you as you writhed and burned on your back patio, you might not want to go fucking pay them a visit and shake their weird, tiny hand in the White House.
  3. You can respect the office. The tradition. The reverence of our flawed but still-beautiful democratic system. This is the one that gets me. Because this is FUCKING EVERY WHITE GUY’S argument when he sees people freaking out over this administration. It’s specious to the point of hilarity. How am I supposed to “respect the office” when the one in it is running it like a used car lot? Here we have a president who is leveraging the White House for personal gain, blatantly. Here we have a president with innumerable fiscal if not personal ties to Russia including a chief adviser whose ties with the Kremlin are still unmined. Here we have leaks confirming top-ranking officials, including the recently resigned national security advisor, who were actively dealing with Russian operatives during and after his campaign. Here we have a leader who chose as head of the EPA someone who has made a career suing the EPA. An energy secretary who didn’t know that the energy secretary existed. An education secretary who has no idea what baseline standards for measuring student success are and is actively working to defund public schools…mostly because neither she nor her children attended one. He regularly insults other world leaders (starting with our allies) by misspelling their names, addressing them by the wrong name, yelling at them and hanging up on them, or simply being unable to listen and respond to a damn thing they say. Respect what? The actual building? The architecture? The rotunda? Perhaps. But I’m sure if any of these professional athletes want a tour of the National Mall they can do it on their own time in the off-season—then follow it up with a trip to the Holocaust Museum where they’ll find out that it was, in fact, Jews that Hitler was trying to exterminate. There is nothing left in that office or in the form of the appointed leader in it left to respect. This is what I tell my son: “I don’t respect liars. I don’t respect cheats. I don’t respect people who take advantage of other people for their own personal gain. I don’t respect people who exploit positions of power for greed. I don’t respect anyone who can’t respect the earth or chooses money over humanity.” Respect? Respect is the opposite of what Trump and his surrogates should be shown. Disdain, resistance, outrage. And courage above all. Courage to stand up against them. Courage to march. Courage to speak out. Courage to boycott. Courage to say the orange emperor, in fact, has no clothes. It’s nice for Albom to think the democratic system is “flawed but still-beautiful” which I have no idea what that means…maybe he was thinking about Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill when he wrote it. But here’s the rub: Democracy is merely an idea and ideas only exist and persist when people put those ideas in motion, not snuff them out. And Trump is idea snuffer-outer in chief. He has never held a job and only knows how to destroy. He is blatantly, obviously and wantonly doing his best to put the worst in power to erase, quickly and summarily, the ideals of democracy for personal profit and gain. Who else would interrupt a security briefing to tweet against Nordstrom’s financial decision to drop his daughter’s clothing line? It’s no-quotes fucking insane for Albom or anyone else to classify this surreal mess as political theater instead of a threat to the sanctity of our union and the safety of the world. Either he’s half-hopeful, half-ignorant, all the way willingly naive or a spineless sycophant. Go look on the faces of those who are marching, you’ll see America right there. Every color, religion, creed and …yes, every woman, letting their voices heard and their feet carry them. Now you tell me who is deserving of respect. Because those are the ones fighting for…not trying to dismember this “beautiful” system.

The six Patriots, and they are so in every sense of the word, who are sitting out the meeting with Trump are doing so because they don’t feel accepted in the White House or otherwise have engagements that are more compelling, just as Trump-supporting quarterback Tom Brady did in 2015 when he refused to meet president Obama in favor of a trip to an Apple Store.

Didn’t see Albom calling anyone “rude” then.

But it is a disgrace that Albom use his platform to criticize or otherwise characterize dissent as something that’s counter to tradition. At this point, we are so divided that sports probably are the last critical venue where people of different races, religions, views and beliefs can get together and function as one in this country.

So let’s not forget, push aside or attempt to debase for one moment the statement these men are trying to make. Nor should we ignore what Albom is saying. What he’s peddling is the same old “trust in the system. Respect the system. Don’t rock the boat” bullshit which is as close to un-American and approaching cheerleading fascism as it gets.

I often recall the recent words of Naomi Shulman, a Northampton, Massachusetts writer. “Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than ‘politics.’ They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away. You know who weren’t nice people? Resistors.”

How rude.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of the novellaBurgundy Upholstery Sky”. His first full-length novel will be released in late-2017.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. If you’ve ever listened to Albom’s radio show, you’ll know that he doesn’t support Trump and makes that very clear–and gets castigated by conservative Michigan listeners who are still insisting he move from the U.S. as he claimed he would if Trump won. But it’s easier to accuse the opposite in order to support your own narrative. To be clear, I hate Drumpf and I don’t agree with Albom’s piece. But context is important.

Comments are closed.