I didn't know what to write about today, since it was feeling like Head-Exploding Time.
For starters, there was Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions changing his stories under oath to their third version, at the moment, filled with more "I don't recalls" than a clueless student failing an oral exam.
Or the latest on Roy Moore, including that he was banned from a mall back in the 1980s for being too creepy around young girls. And that the letter his campaign just released with endorsements from 50 pastors turned out to have been edited from an earlier list from before the charges of child molestation appeared, and some of the pastors are not happy campers about that.
Or news that there is a Senate Republican plan to possibly add into the tax bill a repeal of the individual mandate for health care.
Or that there was yet another mass gun shooting with four dead in Northern California, and we are so inured to such things that it hasn't made a blip in the news, and indeed seems not to have even been reported much if at all on TV, not to mention there being an absence of even Republican "thoughts and prayers" for the victims.
Or that Secretary of State Tillerson (recipient of Russian Order of Friendship) has just signed a no-bid contract for handling security at US embassy in Moscow to a Russian firm founded by KGB agent with ties to Putin -- something which appears to carry the concept of "returning friendship" a bit too far. And yes, this is real.
All of these are real. And all were news stories yesterday alone.
It was just a wearying day.
Instead, though, I figured I'd let someone else carry the heavy load and do the bulk of the writing. I came across a seriously impressive commentary in Time magazine on the subject of kneeling during the National Anthem, from the perspective that athletes are patriots for doing so, eloquently written, deeply thoughtful and well-researched. I know this isn't a hot headline topic at the moment, most especially compared to some of those above, although it remains a matter of importance and divisive debate in the culture. But the main reason I want to make note of it is for who wrote the piece.
It's by Stan Van Gundy, a name many might not know, though he's a popular public figure, at least in sports. He's the coach of the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association. There have been other NBA coaches recently who have spoken out impactfully and emotionally on political issues, notably Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr. But Van Gundy's commentary is so particularly well-written, so in-depth, and so insightful that it often reads like a scholarly essay by a Harvard professor on race relations (though far easier to make it through...).
Though one doesn't normally think of coaches as experts on social policy, Van Gundy addresses that head-on in his first words, "I do not claim to be an expert on race in America. But in addition to working to be an informed citizen and learning about the issues that derive from race, I have been coaching for about 20 years in the NBA, a league that is 75% black. I have been in a unique position to hear from players and staff members about the issues they and their families have had to encounter."
The article jumps off from that, giving his insights from those experience, along with his efforts to deal with the issues from his "unique position."
It's quite long, meticulous, and impressively good. You can read it here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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