Today Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Indianapolis, where he served as governor for four years, to watch the Colts game against the San Francisco 49ers. When the national anthem started, some of the visiting players, former teammates of Colin Kaepernick, took a knee with their hands over their hearts.
Pence, being a fragile snowflake governed primarily by patriotic correctness, immediately left the game and tweeted in horror at the silent, peaceful, unobtrusive expression of political speech by a dozen or so black Americans.
I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
I’m not sure when kneeling evolved from a passive display of supplication to an offensive, un-American outrage, but it seems to have been at exactly the moment when black people started doing it.
As a reminder, Kaepernick’s anthem protests began by sitting for the first three games of the 2016 preseason. Then people noticed, complained, and he met with an Army veteran, who convinced him that kneeling instead would be more respectful. So he did. Then kneeling became a problem. So teams started kneeling before the anthem and standing for it. They were still booed. Because it’s not about the flag, or the anthem. It’s about the protests themselves and who’s doing them.
It turns out the order to be triggered came from someone else:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
But Trump (and Pence) don’t really have a problem with “disrespect” to the country, anthem, or flag. They have no problem with flags (or statues) of nations who rebelled and waged war against the United States. Pence, who is from the North, not the South, has defended Confederate monuments:
I can’t help but think that, rather than pulling down monuments, as some are wont to do … we ought to be building more monuments. We ought to be celebrating the men and women who helped our nation move toward a more perfect union, and tell the whole story of America.
Except the Confederacy was trying to leave the Union, not perfect it. Honoring them is far more disrespectful to our country than kneeling for the Star-Spangled Banner. Trump understood this once, saying “put it in the museum and let it go.” Then he decided to run for president and realized he needed the votes of (definitely not racist) southerners. So he stopped being an elite New York liberal and switched sides in the culture war.
Since it was a game against Kaepernick’s former team, kneeling was guaranteed. They knew it was going to happen before they even arrived. The purpose of the entire trip was therefore necessarily just the virtue-signaling walk-out.
49ers are kneelers. Hard to imagine Pence unaware. Travel, secret service detail, securing stadium = extremely expensive 10 min attendance. https://t.co/FYMqWMNPES
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) October 8, 2017
Someone more familiar with the logistics can probably calculate the cost to taxpayers for this trolling mission in the ongoing culture war. Anything to keep the administration’s abject failure to do its actual job out of the news.
UPDATE: Apparently Pence flew from Vegas this morning to attend the game and plans to fly to California this afternoon. And traveling reporters were told he wouldn’t be in Indy long. Just long enough to steal the spotlight.