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EDITORIAL: Canceling Eagles' White House visit just part of divide-and-conquer strategy
York City School Police Officer Britney Brooks sings the National Anthem to start the student walkout at William Penn High School
It was a decision that was only marginally related to our national anthem.
No, President Donald Trump’s recent choice to cancel the White House invitation to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles was made for two obvious reasons.
First, Trump didn’t want to be embarrassed when it became apparent that only a handful of Eagles representatives, at most, would show up for the ceremony.
Second, he saw it as a political opportunity to inflame the already fiery cultural war that threatens to leave our nation in ashes.
Staying at home: It became apparent in the days leading up to the scheduled ceremony that the vast majority of Eagles players were not going to allow Trump to use them as glorified props in a political charade for his own benefit. Those players decided that, in good conscience, they could not allow that, especially for a president that most hold in low regard.
They exercised their constitutional rights to stay at home.
One of the Eagles’ team leaders, defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, may have best described their reasoning.
"If you want to meet to talk about advancing our communities, changing our (country), I am all for that," Jenkins said. "This isn't one of those meetings. So, I'll opt out of the photo opportunity."
Trump fires back: So, faced with a small turnout that would be politically and personally humiliating, Trump acted in typical Trump fashion.
He canceled the show and then fired back at the Eagles.
"They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country," Trump said in a statement.
Well, there’s just one problem.
Not one player on the Eagles’ title team took a knee for the national anthem during the 2017 regular season.
In fact, the only Eagles player this past year who took a knee was Ron Brooks during the preseason. Brooks, however, didn't make the Eagles’ 53-man roster for the regular season.
Of course, that little fact didn’t matter much to Trump. Then again, facts never seem to mean much to Trump.
Appealing to his base: He’s much more interested in making jingoistic appeals to his conservative base.
It’s part of his divide-and-conquer cultural strategy.
Unfortunately, it’s a strategy that’s worked surprisingly well for Trump. It landed him in the White House against all odds and despite all dire predictions.
Emboldened by that success, he’s now using that same divisive playbook as president.
Once in office, most presidents try to unify our nation, but that’s not Trump’s style.
He prefers to have us in a constant state of political warfare, that emphasizes our disagreements, rather than focuses on our shared values.
Trump sees it as a winning strategy.
Unfortunately, it’s a losing proposition for our nation.