Once again, U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe is in the news, and once again not for winning anything. This time it’s because Hope Solo, the champion goalie who actually captured American attention for her athleticism, said on a soccer podcast that Rapinoe would “almost bully” her teammates into joining her left-wing activism.
“I’ve seen Megan Rapinoe almost bully players into kneeling [during the national anthem] because she really wants to stand up for something in her particular way,” Solo told “All Of Us” last week. “But it’s our right as Americans to do it in whatever way we’re comfortable with.”
It’s the kind of accusation that makes folks wonder: How could professional athletes be “bullied” into publicly disrespecting their own country and its flag if they don’t want to? These people are adults, right?
But the sad reality is in our country today it’s very easy to be pressured, threatened, and cajoled into conforming to anti-American antics (or at least quietly submitting to them), no matter who you are. After all, the only thing a pusher has to do to force surrender these days is call someone a racist.
While racism is universal and has been since people began interacting with other races, today in America it’s so transcendent an accusation that its champions have coopted the language of religion to describe it: Racism and slavery, they claim, constitute “America’s original sin.”
For those who aren’t so familiar with the nuances of Christian theology, original sin was committed once — when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. While God’s creation was perfect until that point, the human choice to give in to Satan’s temptations introduced sin and death into this world.
It’s from this original sin that all human frailty, sadness, and suffering stem. It is a wickedness in our nature that we hand down to our children no matter how we’ve lived. While we can be forgiven of this sin through baptism into the church, we cannot overcome its wounds to our nature until we have been made perfect in God after this life is over. In short, because of this sin, death and evil are here to stay.
This, according to the pushers, means slavery and America’s brand of racism are the sources of all evil and death in our country — and something from which we can never be freed until the end of days. That’s pretty serious stuff. You’d think such an accusation wouldn’t be thrown around willy-nilly. Casual observation, however, shows it happens all the time.
And nearly every time it’s used, it works. Since at least the 1960s, Republican politicians have been ducking and dodging accusations of racism, from Sen. Barry Goldwater to Sen. Mitt Romney (remember: loving your adopted black grandson is racist). Among many movement conservatives, led by William F. Buckley, anyone whose ideas were considered outside acceptable bounds, no matter their brilliance or contributions, was preemptively purged before the left could tar the others with that terrible sin.
The purges, of course, saved no one; forgiveness and mercy are not the point. Megyn Kelly, for example, a once-rising television star, apologized profusely for once suggesting a child dressing up as a celebrity of a different race for Halloween doesn’t make the child an awful bigot worthy of public execution (“as long as it is respectful”).
“Yesterday I learned,” she said on air, begging forgiveness, “I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country, it is not OK for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise.”
Shortly after, she learned she was suspended. When she played hardball with executives, she learned she was being fired. No salvation, no forgiveness.
You don’t have to spend all your time in the limelight to take the hint. Kay Cole James, the outgoing president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, tried to get ahead of the mob: “Racism in America,” she wrote, “is a fatal wound.”
If all these people, with all of their power and money and degrees, must take a knee or be destroyed (or, more likely, take a knee and then be destroyed anyway), how about the rest of us?
What chance do we stand? If we continue on as we have — like a panicked crowd fleeing a lone gunman — very little. But if we can simply keep our heads and act accordingly, our chances of survival go from slim to near-certain.
While the hateful radicals are often the loudest in the room and have the best access to social and corporate media, there aren’t a lot of people determined to drive their friends and neighbors into ruin. Rather, there are a lot of normal people who have no part in this play but running away and hiding.
When a few are loudly beating one person in public and the rest remain silent, it might appear they’re on the side of the executioners, but the worried tones and hushed voices shared between friends and strangers alike indicate otherwise. You’ve heard them before, from local shop owners and neighbors you know don’t vote the way you do, but who are worried all the same.
What are people hiding from, exactly? Turns out, everything: Americans could easily write an entire alphabet with the things we now call “racist.”
So are you a racist? Probably not. But really, are any of these things racist? No? Then why would anyone tolerate calling them that?
It’s easy to laugh at sandwich “racism,” but when the accusation is directed at you, it’s harder to see the joke. We panic, we’re afraid, and there’s good reason for that because these are the kinds of slanders that can cost us friendships and jobs. Their weak point, however, is they are ridiculous — and are only deadly because we are panicked and afraid.
We don’t need to be. Laugh in their faces — they deserve it. While the pushers who would control us should feel our absolute scorn, their shrill claims warrant only our ridicule and derision, so give it to them.
Their weapons are make-believe, and freeing ourselves from them is as easy as recognizing our own dignity and inherent self-worth — those things that are the actual gifts handed down to us. Recognize and stand up for this inheritance, and you will be protected.
And don’t let anyone call you something you aren’t.