LeBron James has spent the last year and some change criticizing the president: In August 2017, James tweeted that the president has “made [hate] fashionable again”; The next month, he followed by tweeting his famous “U bum” headline; And during the NBA finals in June 2018, he told reporters that “no matter who wins [the Cavs, Warriors] series, no one wants to go [to the white house].”
These are just three examples, but LeBron has a history of speaking out against the current president and his administration. All of which went unanswered by the POTUS even though he has held no fury in his scrutiny of other high-profile critiques: Such as calling kneeling NFL players SOBs, and then asking those same athletes for pardon recipients as a scapegoat for not addressing criminal justice reform, or the white house stating that ESPN’s Jemele Hill committed a “fireable offense”; And now, CNN’s Don Lemon and LeBron James are the newest targets on his revolving rolodex of critics to tweet at.
(Okay. Can I just add that I am exercised by having a President who tweets and golfs more than he actually benefits the majority of the country? But that’s a different story.)
Why respond to James when the president has held his tongue during all of James’ other intelligent rebukes up until this point?
We are witnessing structural racism and capitalism at an increasing potency.
First, during the 2016 campaign, the now seated president won Ohio with all but eight counties, the best for any Republican since Ronald Reagan in his 1984 landslide victory , according to the Washington Post. The present occupant of the oval’s grassroots farming base in the Buckeye state only loves one thing more than him: LeBron James. This double-edged sword practically made James untouchable to any ridicule that the president might have had during James’ stent with the Cavs— Either scream at James via Twitter and lose supporters, or act like any humanly decent politician and actually listen to criticism from a concerned constituent because supporters equal donations which equal capitalism which point to, God forbid, a second presidential term. Now, however, James is in LA with the Lakers and working in a state that is more or less anti-45, so the adult baby can cry aloud when James takes away his rattle: respect.
Yeah, sure: The president of the united states will always be respected to some degree, but it’s more than just the specter of power that the oval holds; it’s about the receipt of implementation by the country. How are his policies working; who supports him; what plans are being funded; etc. And with so many notable celebrities against him, namely LeBron James, the somehow increasingly important ego of the president is shattered (pretty much) every day and becomes the story instead of the fact that this is an unfit, unequipped president who upends the first amendment daily. All hell breaks loose when he barks out insults via Twitter to practically anyone who opposes him, yet there are still children separated from their families, the Russia Probe and the aftermath of Helsinki. LeBron James can open a school, yet the president, exasperatedly recontrols the narrative and recycles his bag of long held tricks to question the intellectual capacity of James, the esteemed businessman who is currently producing two TV series… and those are just the ones that we know about right now.
The intense limelight has not only turned the country’s president orange, but has also, apparently, created the precedent that his dangerously high level of self pride is the end all, be all for every action that he takes. So with all of this in mind, it makes sense that the POTUS is insulting LeBron now that he is in California versus the curtain of silence that veiled what would’ve been the president’s timely insults when James was Cleveland. Yes, he was the city and thusly the state.
Which neatly ties into the racism component. Capitalism is only advantageous if there is a little guy to make money off of and use as the basis for a pyramid scheme i.e. basically every campaign and industry ever. Analogously, racism thrives when there is a pulse to take… when it stays relevant because it is alive and vice versa. This isn’t to say that James was tweeted at because he’s Black, but rather the nucleus of the Black community across the country is anti-45 and the current administration insist on exposing that fact instead of attempting to mend the relationship and actually do better. So an attack on James, in layman’s terms, translates to: he isn’t untouchable and neither are you.
Cynical, I know. But think about it. The man who is in bed with Putin has come for icons in our community: Barack Obama. Lebron James. Maxine Waters. Don Lemon. Jemele Hill. Colin Kaepernick. Insert your name.
Wake up. The democracy as we know it is unraveling into a dictatorship where free speech is being controlled by capitalism and racism and is being censored based on who is of most interest to the current political climate. This isn’t meant to set a “us versus them” model, rather (re)establish our founding fathers’ goals — however relevant those even are anymore— of “all men created equal” and an expectation of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”