Monday, July 8, 2019

#189 / Winners And Losers

Megan Rapinoe, Kneeling during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner

Megan Rapinoe, shown kneeling, above, "wasn’t expected to start Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final because of a hamstring issue, [but] wound up winning it instead, calmly slotting home a penalty kick in the 61st minute to start the U.S. on its way to a 2-0 win over a stubborn team from the Netherlands before a sellout crowd at Stade de Lyon." 

Rapinoe scored five of the team’s eight goals in the elimination rounds and so finished the tournament with six goals, and was undoubtedly the "most valuable player" in the United States' unprecedented World Cup win.

Also on Sunday, July 7, 2019, conservative political commentator Marc Thiessen complained about Rapinoe in a column in The New York Times. According to Thiessen, whose picture is displayed at the end of this blog posting, "Megan Rapinoe's anthem protests hurt the fight for gender equity."

Aside from my thought that Thiessen, as a privileged white male, is hardly the right person to be talking about what either helps, or hinders, the fight for gender equity, I take exception to the following comment, excerpted from his column: 

Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. national women's soccer team, refuses to place her hand over her heart with the rest of her team when the national anthem is played at the World Cup in Lyon, France. ... She started protesting the anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick in September 2016, when she played for the Seattle Reign in the National Women's Soccer League. 
Let's be clear: Rapinoe is an amazing athlete. ... But Rapinoe is ... playing for the United States. ... Rapinoe is protesting the Stars and Stripes while wearing the Stars and Stripes. That's not okay. Representing your country is a privilege, not a right. If she really feels she can't show respect for the U.S. flag and anthem, then she shouldn't wear the U.S. jersey.

Thiessen has the idea, apparently, that Rapinoe's protest is against the national anthem and the American flag. Not so, Marc! The protest is against racial injustice. Thiessen also has the idea that someone who plays on a "United States" team must follow a prescribed program of patriotism (a program dictated by whom, by the way?). This seems exactly contrary to what genuine patriots ought to reverence about our nation. The Star Spangled Banner, as we all remember, ends with a heart wrenching affirmation. America is the "land of the free and the home of the brave."

As we watched the World Cup Finals, who better exemplified that statement of what it means to be an American than Megan Rapinoe? What might better express "respect" than Rapinoe's prayerful knee as the anthem is played?

Enforced and compelled patriotism is no patriotism at all.

Megan Rapinoe is a winner. Marc Thiessen is not:

Marc Thiessen

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