Gary Horton: Dotard made it a movement

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Yes, the newly-nicknamed dotard made it a movement.

Incredulity, travesty, shock, and recklessness in the White House moves so quickly these days it’s hard to remember at week’s end what Trump provocation happened at the start. His hits and tweets keep coming and coming and there’s no end to the breaking of norms and the shattering of decency and the once-cherished American values of respect, kindness, courtesy and decency.

Colin Rand Kaepernick was a non-issue when Trump resurrected and vilified him. He was a has-been; an individual Christian social activist, who’d used his superstar platform to express his views on institutional violence against Blacks. However you feel about Kaepernick, he’d lost his job and has been out of the public eye. He was gone.

Now, one week after Kim Jung Un had riotously ridiculed him – Trump made the entire nation forget he’d been adroitly nick-named a “dotard” by the “Rocket Man” he’s decided to publicly fight.

Responding to Trump’s outrageous provocation that the US would “totally destroy” the nation of North Korea, Kim had enough and directly called out Trump out. Millions initially thought “dotard” a misprint or error, only to discover Kim was indeed, right. Per Webster, a dotard is a person in a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness.

Well, that could explain the 3 a.m. tweets and constant obsession over enemies, crowd size, and ratings.

Imagine it, it took a North Korean dictator to finally take Trump up on his name calling and nail our name-caller-in-chief right between the eyes with a bullseye nickname of his own.

So, many agree we’ve got a dotard for a president. It’s not so much an insult as a diagnosis. And it explains a lot.

And Trump provokes on, insulting and dividing. It’s his base against the rest. The whole world is made to be a zero-sum game and it’s us against every new enemy Trump conjures up. The latest, “Fire the sonofabitches.”

So now we have a War Against The NFL – believe it or not. And as it escalates, it’s launching a new war of Whites against Blacks, of flag-waving nationalists against those less prone to marching in goosestep. Of old against young. Of Coasters vs Flyovers. America is again fighting over symbolism while the real news and real issues of our day are back-burnered.

Puerto Rico remains without power, flooded, and destitute. Florida and Texas still struggle. We’re stoking an unnecessary war with North Korea – which too, will be good for presidential ratings.

Meanwhile, health care remains tenuous but still no serious work to actually make it better.

All this, but instead we’re all worked up over guys kneeling during a song that wasn’t even a national anthem until 1931. Like the Pledge, we might wonder, “How come this forced shallow patriotism didn’t matter to Americans before – or to our Founders?”

Some have loyalty to our flag or our nation, no matter the actions of that nation. Some have loyalty to the values espoused by our nation. And some will protest when their nation drifts further and further away from the values and precepts upon which it was founded.

Faced with kneeling athletes, we must remember that protest was the very foundation of this nation.

There were, of course, critics of tea being thrown into Boston Harbor – let alone revolution against the Crown.

Well, our aptly-named dotard president has tripped on his own foul mouth and made a once lost one-man-cause a new, vast national movement. Black Lives Matter and police violence against minorities finally have a huge national discourse and voice. Dotard’s rudeness and provocation has triggered a movement that will far overshadow the dotard himself.

Sad, that too many of us will quarrel and fight with one another over the propriety of kneeling during an anthem or song while the serious underlying issues remain unvisited. Still, even as we’re distracted – large chunks of the matter of racial injustice will bleed into public discourse right there on national TV and on national sports. Like it or not, “Bubba,” and all of middle America will finally be exposed to

American disrespect of our core values of justice for all, over vain allegiance to a flag or song.

And it took a rude, loud-mouth dotard to make this serious discourse happen.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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