July 11, 2019
This isn't 1980. There's no gas rationing or inflation, no Watergate or the Cold War. But Americans are in uncertain times just the same. Our country could use a team of heroes -- another miracle to shake us out of this bitter fog. There may never be another Lake Placid, but there will always be a chance for one uniform to unite a nation. Maybe that's what makes this week's celebration over USA soccer feel so empty. It was a moment with so much potential -- but in the end, all it delivered was more of the same.
It was supposed to be a euphoric win -- another chapter in American sports dominance. But the message from the captain of soccer's reigning champs was clear: our country may be wearing the same colors, but that doesn't mean we're on the same team. Megan Rapinoe, the fiercely liberal co-captain, won everything at the tournament only to lose her self-respect. "I'm not going to the f-----g White House," she ranted before the team had even clinched. "I don't think anyone on the team has any interest... in being co-opted or corrupted by this administration."
But it wasn't her expletive-laden rants that upset Americans most. After all, Marc Theissen points out, plenty of people have legitimate issues with the president. "But, Rapinoe isn't playing for the Trump administration; she is playing for the United States. It's one thing for a professional athlete to protest the national anthem, but quite another for a member of Team USA to do it. Rapinoe is protesting the Stars and Stripes while wearing the Stars and Stripes." Yet even yesterday, with her hands smugly behind her back, the 34-year-old millionaire refused to cover her heart -- or her hostility -- for America.
So it was more than a little ironic that Rapinoe, of all people, tried to channel her inner Gandhi at Thursday's victory parade. "This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better. We have to love more. Hate less. We got to listen more and talk less." It's advice most people wish the entitled athlete would practice herself -- since, based on interviews, she has absolutely no interest in starting an authentic dialogue. Asked who she would meet with on Capitol Hill, Rapinoe said she would talk to anyone who "believes in the same things we believe in." In other words, "Yes to AOC, yes to Nancy Pelosi... Yes to Chuck Schumer."
This from a woman who thinks conservatives are exclusionary. When CNN asked what Rapinoe would tell President Trump, she replied, "I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. You're excluding me, you're excluding people that look like me. You're excluding people of color. You're excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you." But interestingly enough, it isn't the White House that's marginalizing people. It's extremists like Rapinoe, who don't mind sidelining teammates and prospective teammates in pursuit of their ultimate goal: social activism.
If it weren't for the intolerance of women's soccer, Jaelene Hinkle would have been on the winner's podium in New York City with a medal around her neck. But Jaelene is a Christian and a patriot -- two things that her sport's authorities apparently frown on. Where was Rapinoe's call for "listening more" when the Courage star politely refused to wear an LGBT pride jersey? The same place Hinkle was when it came time to name the final roster: nowhere. The contrast in treatment is astounding. One player is elevated for her convictions (Rapinoe), the other (Hinkle) is punished for them. Welcome to the post-Obergefell world.
While Rapinoe is busy trashing her country with an irreverence that makes Colin Kaepernick look like a Boy Scout, she's missing an important point. The people she's alienating are on her side in the battle she ought to care about most: the survival of women's sports. If she weren't so preoccupied with this call for equal pay, Rapinoe might realize that, without conservatives, there may not be a sport left to pay them. That's because those politicians she's so anxious to meet with -- the AOCs, Nancy Pelosis, and Chuck Schumers -- are behind a piece of radical legislation that would put Rapinoe and every other female athlete on the path to irrelevance. If she wants to fight injustice, take both sides' word for it: the Equality Act is a much better place to start.
Of course, to win that argument -- or any other -- she'll have to take her own advice: Hate less, listen more. Two things that, as evidenced by Megan Rapinoe, don't exactly come naturally to the intolerant Left.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.