Is This The Country You Want For Your Grandchildren, President Trump?
At the time of this writing, Donald Trump has 9 grandchildren, all under the age of 11. In two years, his oldest will be the same age as the 13-year old boy who was slammed to the ground this past weekend by a violent nationalist at a Montana rodeo because he didn’t remove his hat during the national anthem. Ironically, it was in Montana that President Trump, in 2018, praised a congressman for body-slamming a reporter, calling him a “tough cookie”.
Trump has not been shy about politicizing his position on the National Anthem; he’s taken to Twitter numerous times to publicly denounce any player (or team that supports a player) kneeling during the anthem, labeling each instance us “Un-American”, “Un-Patriotic”, or worse, an “insult” to our military.
Article 171 of the United States “Flag Code” states:
During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.
Nowhere is permission granted to civilians to enforce the code at will. But it’s no surprise that events like the one at the rodeo in Montana seem to be occurring with increasingly regularity, given the Trump rhetoric we’ve become so accustomed to. We can all agree that he’s done a “terrific” job of polarizing our country and empowering a frustrated, underrepresented class of people who believe that their civil liberties are being ripped away from them by those less deserving (in other words, non-whites.)
And, it seems, they’re ready to act out with rage anytime they experience anything that even so slightly demonstrates a perceived disrespect for their great country. That’s right, the country that keeps letting them down.
What happens when one of Trump’s grandchildren decides, like so many Americans before them (including their grandpa) to take a position on some political issue opposite of the sitting President at that time? How would he react to one of his own grandchildren being body-slammed simply for that reason alone?
Not to take away from the horrific act, but the assailant in this case does have a track record of violence, so acting out in this way was nothing new to him. The frightening part is the trigger that set him off in this way, no doubt in large part because of the steady spew of negativity and hatred that our current President delights in unleashing on a daily basis.
What happens when one of his grandchildren are out shopping at the neighborhood mall, or Walmart, or praying in their local synagogue (hard to believe he has Jewish grandchildren, but he does), and they fall victim to an act of terrorism at the hands of a white-nationalist, like all of those innocent people in El Paso? Does he ask for “thoughts and prayers” or is he forced to confront himself and his own contribution to the unspeakable violence we’re experiencing at this time in our country’s history?
What happens when Trump’s own rhetoric comes back to bite him?
I can imagine the conversation at a family dinner. Over pot roast and happy meals for the littles, one of the younger grandchildren turns to him. “Grandpa,” he asks, “would you be sad if someone body-slammed me if I didn’t take my hat off during the National Anthem?”
“I’d kick his ass,” responds the President, with a knowing wink and a snicker.
“That’s what Billy did the kid at school who’s skin is dark,” the grandchild responds.
“Billy is confused,” says Trump. “He should learn how to control his anger.”
“Like you, Grandpa?”
“Just like me.”