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Recently, the President of the United States called out certain NFL and NBA players for their selfish, self-entitled actions. The tit-for-tat Twitter exchanges that took place afterwards were rather humorous… rather childish too. Indeed, even LeBron James jumped into the mix with his unsolicited opinions, ultimately calling President Trump a “bum”.
What isn’t humorous is today’s reactions throughout the NFL. In a show of solidarity and support, seemingly entire teams are kneeling during the National Anthem as a show of force against the President’s comments. As games started, camera’s panned over certain players with their arm stretched out, fist clenched tightly, in a power pose of protest and defiance. For the most part, it seems the NFL, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and majority of fans all support (and actively encourage) these players right to “freedom of speech” and protest.
However…this fan does not…
There is a time and a place for everything…and the sideline is neither the time nor place for players to display their political beliefs. I don’t give a damn what a player does, thinks, or says off the field. Come game day, all I want is for players to do what they are paid to do…play the game! The very reason I watch sports is to catch a break from our highly politicized world. The very last thing I want to see is some over-paid diva making a political statement.
That brings up the next point…players that protest are nothing more than hypocrites. They protest the very system that enables them to make ridiculous amounts of money playing a child’s game!!! Players seem to think that because they make millions of dollars, their opinions matter. Guess what…it doesn’t!!!! I don’t give a damn what players think!! Their opinions on matters other than the game mean nothing to me! As a fan, all I want players to do is STFU and play the game! Too many players, as well as others in the entertainment industry, abuse their money and position to force their opinions upon others…others that don’t want to hear, or care, what these divas think.
Despite the fact I enjoy watching NFL football, my love of country is stronger. Like hell I will support an entity that actively encourages its workers to disparage Flag and Country. What NFL players fail to realize is in their selfish, self-entitled quest to advance their own personal, political agendas, they are slowly and systematically alienating the very fans that pay their paycheck.
Roger Goodell is quick to fine players that wear patriotic cleats but will stand behind players that blatantly disrespect this country. This too makes Roger Goodell a spineless hypocrite. As of this day, I will not watch another NFL game. More importantly, I will not waste a single cent on NFL “merch”, until Mr. Goodell grows a pair and addresses this issue properly.
Oh…and as for the morally conscious LeBron James…who chased the big money down to Miami? You did, you hypocritical fuck…the only “bum” here is you!
So it’s official…Chelsea Manning is now a free “man”. I use the term “man” loosely. It has nothing to do with the gender he now identifies with. Just because Manning decided he’s now a “woman”, changed his name to a more feminine one, that doesn’t make him a woman. Nor is he a man. The reality is Manning is a spoiled little brat that did what he did out of selfishness and a falsely perceived sense of self-entitlement.
There are many things about the Manning saga that absolutely floored me. Foremost is the fact that many look at Manning as a “hero” and a “whistleblower” for having the “courage” to bring to light the supposed “atrocities” the United States was committing at the time while fighting the war on terror. Apparently, these Manning supporters forgot that these “atrocities” were in response to the cowards that attacked this country on September 11, 2001. For those that have forgotten, in that attack close to 3,500 Americans were murdered and over 10,000 were injured. (Staff, 2010) That doesn’t account for the first responders that are now battling and dying from the hazardous environment they were exposed to as they selflessly and courageously performed their duties (unlike Manning, who selfishly performed his duties with absolute discredit). That doesn’t account for the families whose loved ones, unlike Manning, will never come home again.
I gotta hand it to this “hero” though, he’s quite cunning. The manner in which he and his supporters pulled off this whole “traitor to victim” thing is nothing short of brilliant. Manning sells out his country and is sentenced to a 35 year term. (Savage, 2017) He goes to jail and immediately states…oh by the way…I’m a girl now, my name is Chelsea…and that is how and what I will be referred to as. The absolute crazy thing about it is…it worked! Seemingly overnight, and without any question whatsoever from the media, Bradley was now Chelsea…he was now a she!
This was brilliant for a couple of reasons. First, because the media embraced Chelsea without question, Bradley faded from the spotlight. Chelsea became center stage and more importantly…recent. The “Recency Effect” is a well-established psychological phenomena. Basically, what it means is human beings are more apt to recall and remember recent information over previous information (Pam MS, n.d.). This was key because as Chelsea’s “transformation” became “the” story, people forgot about “Bradley’s” traitorous actions.
Also, once Chelsea’s “transformation” manifested itself, the issue at hand also “transformed”. Once again, cue the media! What was the issue of Manning selfishly selling out his country, the media made it into an LGBT issue! Poor Chelsea…stuck in prison…just wanting to become the woman he felt he was always supposed to be but not being allowed to! How convenient for Manning! This “transformation” enabled Manning to now be viewed as a victim instead of a traitor. Once again, this allowed the original issue at hand to fade from the spotlight.
From this point, the list of injustices continued to flow unhindered. In combination with strategically planned suicide attempts and hunger strikes, Manning convinced Army officials to begin hormone therapy as a means to “treat” his “gender dysphoria”. (Kube, O’Hara, Helsel, & Press, 2017) Despite being a prisoner, this hormone therapy was paid for with tax payer dollars. In addition, Manning had access to means which allowed him to update his Twitter account from prison. (Karimi, 2015) This enabled him to reach out to supporters and garner support for his “cause”. Also, while in prison, Manning was able to write opinion pieces for The New York Times and The Guardian. (Karimi, 2015) Then, the final injustice occurred. Before leaving office, former President Barrack Obama commuted Manning’s 35 year sentenced after only serving 7 years despite the fact that Manning SOLD OUT HIS COUNTRY!
So yes…it is brilliant how Manning pulled this whole “traitor to victim” thing off. Manning and his supporters manipulated the media, making all accomplices look like complete and utter fools! Despite being a PRISONER, Manning garnered privileges that some free, law-abiding citizens don’t even have access to! Some of these privileges even came at the monetary expense of the very country that he sold out! At the end of the day, Manning went to prison for selling out his country and somehow managed to come out of it better off than he was before!
I’d like to believe that Manning feels some shred of remorse for what he did. Yet, he doesn’t. He’s simply too selfish, too self-absorbed, and too much of a brat to feel any sort of responsibility or accountability for selling out his country. This sense of self-entitlement is clear as Manning “is [now] looking forward to eating pizza, swimming, playing PlayStation and meeting the many friends who have supported her over the years”. (Kube, O’Hara, Helsel, & Press, 2017) In addition, Manning stated, “After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived,” said Manning. “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now-which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.” (Kube, O’Hara, Helsel, & Press, 2017) Clearly, there is no remorse whatsoever on the part of Manning for selling out his country.
Ironically, I hope Manning enjoys his pizza. I hope he has fun playing his PlayStation and swimming. I hope he enjoys spending time with the “friends” that he suckered into supporting his “cause”. I hope he enjoys all these things because in doing so Manning highlights what freedom really means in this country. What Manning is too self-absorbed and too selfish to realize is only in the United States of America can you sell out your country and still be alive to enjoy all these things.
The harsh reality is had Manning done what he did as a citizen of less understanding countries…the outcome would have been very different. In these countries, even if suspected of being a traitor, Manning would have disappeared. If he were lucky, he would have been killed on the spot. But…he wouldn’t have been that lucky. He would have likely been beaten and tortured in ways he has no idea even exist. If he managed to live, the rest of his pathetic, pitiful life would have been spent in confinement…or a work camp…hoping to die. This grim reality doesn’t even take into account had it been known that he wanted to be a “she”. This grim reality doesn’t take into account what would have happened to his family for him being an enemy of the State.
So let’s set the record straight. Manning IS NOT a hero. Manning IS NOT a whistleblower. Manning is a TRAITOR!!!!! Manning was entrusted with secrets vital to the safety and security of this country and just like Edward Snowden, he selfishly and irresponsibly SOLD OUT THIS COUNTRY!!!!! That is not what heroes do. That’s not what whistleblowers do. Manning’s actions were the epitome of what TRAITORS do! Manning, along with those that defended and supported him, brilliantly manipulated the media to transform him from a traitor into a victim. This only served to reinforce his selfishness and falsely perceived sense of entitlement which means Manning will never feel remorse for SELLING OUT HIS COUNTRY. He will hypocritically enjoy the freedoms and liberties of this country despite being a traitor to this country. Know that those that defend and support him are just as despicable. Manning may look forward to his future…but his past will never be forgotten.
Karimi, F. (2015, April 4). CNN. Retrieved from Chelsea Manning tweeting from prison : http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/03/us/chelsea-manning-joins-twitter/
Kube, C., O’Hara, M. E., Helsel, P., & Press, A. (2017, Many 17). msn.com. Retrieved from Army Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Released From Prison â€” and Wants Pizza, PlayStation : http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/army-whistleblower-chelsea-manning-released-from-prison-â€”-and-wants-pizza-playstation/ar-BBBeyeo?ocid=spartandhp
Pam MS, N. (n.d.). Psychology Dictionary. Retrieved from What is RECENCY EFFECT?: http://psychologydictionary.org/recency-effect/
Savage, C. (2017, May 16). nytimes.com. Retrieved from Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison, Closing an Extraordinary Leak Case: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/chelsea-manning-leaves-prison.html?_r=1
Staff, H. (2010). 9/11 Attacks. Retrieved from History.com: http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks
This past month, I came across a CNN article showcasing an article originally written by Slate columnist Reihan Salam. In his article, Mr. Salam advocates a somewhat radical taxation concept in which nonparents who earn more than the median household income of 51,000 should pay higher taxes than working parents. Mr. Salam believes this “tax break” for those with children would benefit American society as a whole despite nonparents shouldering the extra financial burden. He explained,
“By shifting the tax burden from parents to nonparents, we will help give America’s children a better start in life, and we will help correct a simple injustice. We all benefit from the work of parents. Each new generation reinvigorates our society with its youthful vim and vigor. As my childless friends and I grow crankier and more decrepit, a steady stream of barely postpubescent brainiacs writes catchy tunes and invents breakthrough technologies that keep us entertained and make us more productive. The willingness of parents to bear and nurture children saves us from becoming an economically moribund nation of hateful curmudgeons. The least we can do is offer them a bigger tax break.” (Salam, 2014)
As to be expected, Mr. Salam’s article generated a fair amount of heated comments. As a “nonparent”, I certainly take issue with the expectation that I shoulder extra financial burden for another’s perceived “simple injustice”. While it is easy to become indignant at such a radical suggestion, my logic for taking issue with Mr. Salam’s suggestions fall under three simple rationales.
Parents already enjoy tax breaks that nonparents cannot qualify for
One aspect Mr. Salam never even comes close to broaching is the fact that parents already enjoy child-related tax breaks that nonparents cannot qualify for. Some of these include, but are not limited to, the Child Tax Credit, the dependent exemption, and the head of household filing status for single parents. These tax breaks can add up,
The Tax Policy Center “estimates that the average tax benefit for parents exceeds $3,400. A married couple with two kids could get benefits of nearly $7,700, while a single parent with two children might receive more than $8,100.As a result of the code’s many child-related tax provisions, about half of households with kids — many of them lower income — won’t owe any federal income taxes in 2013. Some in that group will even get a check from the government.” (Sahadi , 2014)
While the monetary amounts of these benefits is debatable, what is not debatable is parents already enjoy tax breaks simply for having children. These are benefits nonparents cannot qualify for.
Nonparents already monetarily “nurture” America’s children
Anyone who pays taxes pays into the infrastructure that nurtures America’s children. Whether through property taxes or sales taxes, a percentage of these taxes are levied for schools and educational purposes. In addition, many of the “free” child-related recreational activities (like youth baseball, softball, football, etc.) offered by cities are supplemented by these same taxes. Once again, the monetary amounts of these taxes is debatable. However, what cannot be debated is the fact that a percentage of taxes are already utilized for children-related educational and recreational means. These taxes are levied uniformly and do not distinguish between nonparents and parents. Therefore, nonparents already monetarily “nurture” America’s children.
Parenting is both a responsibility and an investment
Of my “simple” rationales, this one is the trickiest. Unlike my other two points of contention which contain objective facts and figures, this point is significantly more subjective. Like Mr. Salam, I believe a parent deserves commendation for bearing and nurturing our future generations. Parenting is not easy and often it can be a thankless role. However, I also believe that parenting is both a responsibility and an investment. A parent has a personal and social responsibility to ensure they have an adequate financial means to bear and nurture their children. Like any investment, if one does not have adequate financial means to invest…well…they should not invest! I understand that the numerous variables involved in child/family planning makes it practically impossible to narrow down an exact timeframe. However, like any big life choice, having children should be something that is planned for to one’s best ability. This includes the financial discipline necessary to adequately provide for one’s children. If one does not, or cannot, maintain that financial discipline, or is unwilling or unable to plan appropriately, then they should not have children!
In all fairness to Mr. Salam, I believe his article was written with heartfelt intent. Being as Mr. Salam is a nonparent as well, clearly he did not write his article as a means of financial self-gratification. As I alluded to earlier in this post, I understand that parenting is not easy. In addition, I agree with Mr. Salam’s concerns that parenting is becoming increasingly expensive. As he points out in his article,
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that raising a child born in 2012 will cost a middle-income family a cumulative total of $301,970 over 18 years.” (Salam, 2014)
Once again, the monetary figure that Mr. Salam quotes is debatable. However, most would agree that the cost of everything is rising. If so, then it stands to reason the cost of raising children is also becoming more expensive.
While Mr. Salam advocates a tax break for parents, I believe there should come a point where parents should have to pay more taxes…or at least lose their tax breaks, depending on the number of children they have. What that “magic” number is…3..4…7 children? I don’t know. The reality is there is a finite number of resources available. These resources, necessary for survival, are becoming increasingly scarce. The other reality is there is no longer a need for a “large” family unit in today’s America. Those that choose to rear large families do so for reasons that benefit only them. These reasons include personal satisfaction, family expectations, or religious beliefs. This comes at the expense of others that are vying for the same finite, increasingly scarce resources. This makes those that rear large family units selfish. As a result, they should be taxed more…and not less.
While I agree with Mr. Salam on some points, I believe it is simply asinine to expect nonparents to shoulder increased financial burden for rearing and nurturing other people’s children. This is especially true considering parents already receive tax breaks and nonparents already contribute monetarily to the nurturing of America’s children. The choice to have children is both a responsibility and an investment. Those, like me, that choose not to have children should not be responsible for supplementing those parents that either won’t, or can’t, live up to the financial responsibilities of rearing their children
Sahadi , J. (2014, April 7). Should people without kids pay higher taxes? Retrieved from CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/07/pf/taxes/childless-parents-taxes/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
Salam, R. (2014, March). Tax the Childless. Retrieved from Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/03/tax_credits_and_children_parents_should_pay_lower_taxes_and_childless_people.html