Sunday 5 June 2016

Trump's Ali's Legacy? Come on.

Let's not pretend — in our rush to yet again highlight Trump by lowlighting him — that America at large hasn't been using the icon that is Muhammad Ali as some sort of spotlight for itself (note that I let America off the hook by using the neuter pronoun). By trumpeting "Ali's legacy" America pretends its legacy has something in common. But what is America's legacy since Ali? What has changed as a result of Ali's actions?

Civil rights? Viet Nam?

Where are we now? The African American is more likely to get stuck in prison than make it out of college. But, hey, at least his chances of being schlepped away from a Denny's is by law trumped by a rogue waitress who will just refuse service and lose her shitty job. Let's call her white trash to feel better about ourselves and pretend it's not a latent slur against blacks.

The Black American is more likely to die incarcerated or at the hands of the police than to become a professional athlete. Sure. But being called a "thug" by some conservative asshole, notwithstanding, at least Democrats like, oh, say, Bill & Hillary Clinton would never use coded language to refer to black people, who, if they helped to jail en masse, it was to improve conditions in prisons by privatizing them, which was ultimately for the good of the Clinton Foundation's charitable causes, right? I mean, you can't have private prisons without more customers. Duh. It's the economy, stupid.

A black guy or gal is more likely to get killed in the service of US armed forces than to get a position on the boards for whom the wars are waged. But, come on. Didn't you notice that there ain't no draft no more!? Some people just only see the negative side of things. Jeez!

Ali was the first guy to so brashly criticize America for its war on "brown people" at home AND, in that context in particular, abroad. What is the state of the war on brown people at home and abroad under the current "administration"? The one before? And both before that? And now that we've gone so far back in time, and in case you haven't yet done the math or are too young to recall what "Reagan Democrats" were, or how Democrats behave in general, let me ask you a question: Who's the greatest Reagan Democrat of all times?!

I wonder Ali's opinion about Trump. And where was the Louisville Lip during all the above? You know, the guy who, among all the great risk he did take and actually heroic things he did do, also managed to turn hyperbolic narcissism into charisma and made the public trashing of one's opponent into part of the art of the deal by, among other things, referring to Joe Frazier as a "gorilla"?

To be fair, he'd been increasingly debilitated by a disease since before he reached 50 years of age yet would make an effort to be charitable throughout. But it's the illness that has to do with the legacy of the "sweet science" and how people just love to watch men (and women) beat the holy fuck out of each other, so much so that it rivals any charitable activity in terms of gambling revenue alone. Come to think of it, however, maybe the legacies of Ali and America have a lot more in common than I thought.