The man who boycotted the 1968 U.S. Olympic basketball team is now using America's virtues and the Constitution to bash Republicans over the head. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is raging at Republicans in the aftermath of the midterm elections in a Hollywood Reporter commentary titled, "Midterm Election Lessons and How Trump Killed the Magic of the Political Movie." The man who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president suggests that politically themed movies can serve as our political compass and demonstrate the evils of Republicans.
Abdul-Jabbar furiously lashes out at Republicans who remain in office after the midterm election.He also puts Fox News and its former talk show host Megyn Kelly in his rhetorical crosshairs.
Abdul-Jabbar raged: "As Trump has now passed the 5,000 mark in the number of lies he’s told the public (83 in one day!), the truth is no longer a valued commodity among many American voters. Other politicians have learned that lesson, and the midterm political campaigns were filled with outright, verifiable lies. Blatant voter suppression in Georgia and North Dakota in an effort to sabotage the democratic process is nothing short of treason — exactly what Russia, North Korea and China have been doing with their computer assaults on our elections. In both those races, suppression of votes helped Republicans to win. You’re welcome, Russia."
What's led us to this point is the oversimplification and romanticizing of the political process, Abdul-Jabbar complains. He says, "Most Americans’ understanding of politics doesn’t come from high school social studies classes but from Hollywood movies and television dramas, which is about as useful as learning about dating from watching Bachelor in Paradise." Some voters blindly support "candidates who betray every principle they say they are for, and a generation of young people paralyzed by gilded relationship expectations."
Abdul-Jabbar sees "overwhelming evidence from the Nov. 6 election results that we now have to abandon the soothing fairy-tale notion that we are striving to fulfill the democratic promise of our Founding Fathers and face the harsh reality that ignorance, greed and cowardice are still winning the day. And by winning the day, I mean defining our values and shaping our future as a nation. Mr. Smith may go to Washington, but once he’s there he gets atomic-wedgied in the Senate restroom and lied about on Fox News."
Citing several movies, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, All the President's Men, and more, Abdul-Jabbar says a key plot point in many classic, redemptive political films is "the dark truth revealed at the end to the American people that will force out the villainous politician." That plot point is no longer playing out in reality, he concludes.
The former NBA champion goes for the jugular, writing, "When the president, his administration and many corporations can openly state that business is more important than a country murdering a journalist — and demonstrate no shame — we are clearly no longer valuing the moral standards of our Constitution as a guiding light to lead this country into the future ..."
A Muslim, Abdul-Jabbar attacked Kelly, hired by NBC "despite her history of Jesus-is-white racism ... " He attacked Iowa Congressman Steve King as "openly racist and anti-Semitic." King's re-election demonstrates, "Our principles are for sale, reduced for clearance."
Abdul-Jabbar rips on the people who won't accept that kneeling during the anthem is a Constitutional right. Ignoring the crisis of objectivity in media, he says President Trump's opposition to biased media is a shredding of the First Amendment, "... in direct defiance of the Founding Fathers."
By electing racist Republicans in the midterms, "we are still debating our commitment to truth," Abdul-Jabbar fumes. Then he adds yet another incendiary dagger: "We shake our heads at the pompous lies and silly logic of the Puritans, who are clearly stand-ins for the Republican misinformation about health care, immigration, etc."
The irate basketball-player-turned-political-pundit advises readers, "So, watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and even Billy Jack Goes to Washington if you want to fantasize about the values America once cherished. Maybe if we watch them often enough, we’ll revive the genre as our moral compass for 2020."