In a recent column about athletes kneeling at football games, Cal Thomas, after the dutiful curtsy to the First Amendment, spends most of his time finding fault.
He says we don’t want protests “encroaching on our enjoyment” in “the wrong arena,” “widening the divide in our already seriously fractured nation,” adding that the athletes are in danger of “killing the golden goose” that supports them. He hits every single “But” of the conservative mantra: You have the right to protest, but not now, but not here, but not that way, punctuated by the economic threat.
Cal, like the president and several recent letter writers, is a “Rightbut.”
Just imagine Cal’s admonitions to past uppity protesters:
Students at the Greensboro lunch counter in 1960: (“But you’re violating Woolworths’ corporate rights.”)
1773 Boston Harbor tea-tossers (“But that’s wasteful hooliganism.”)
Lucretia Mott in the 1830’s: (“But women marching in the streets is so unseemly.”)
Rosa Parks in 1955: (“But most of the riders don’t agree with you.”)
And Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King, Benjamin Lay, Cesar Chavez, Muhammad Ali and so on.
“You all have the right BUT.”
The incomparable Michael Jordan is probably on Cal’s “Rightbut Dream Team.” Despite pleas from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jim Brown and Arthur Ashe, among others, Michael remained silent on racial issues for nearly 30 prominent years. Only last year, retired and a billionaire, did Michael write: “I can no longer stay silent ...”
You probably didn’t hear about that. But then, Michael never took a knee.