Gladiators probably couldn’t protest either

Dear President Trump,

How about you! You notched a big #Win (or “#Winning” as your sycophantic VP enthusiastically proclaimed) by coercing the NFL owners to agree that teams will incur hefty fines if players protest on the sideline. I know you aren’t fully satisfied with the rules since players can remain in the locker room during the anthem in protest, but you are calling it a #Win, nonetheless. Your comment that anyone not falling in line should be forced to leave the country stopped just short of calling those who would protest “animals,” but to me, that framing was lurking in the background. It all looks like so much red meat tossed out to keep the racial animus train going as you flail about trying to distract your supporters from Russia and your increasingly obvious liability on that front.

I was wondering this morning what would have happened to Gladiators if they protested their people’s lot during the pre-event brainwashing rituals. I am guessing that those who were criminals or slaves would have been executed on the spot along with their paired fellow combatant and maybe much of their families since that would have put a stop to such protests incredibly quickly. I don’t know what those in power would have done to any paid Gladiators who protested. At least according to Wikipedia those Gladiators were highly revered and their fights were heavily promoted and quite lucrative for their patrons so it wouldn’t have been fiscally prudent to off them, unless it was possible to make excruciating examples of just one or two to make sure everyone else shut the f—- up and do their job. Because really, what blood thirsty audience member wants to be reminded of combatants’ humanity, that they have friends and family they love, that they are vulnerable to state sanctioned brutality because of who they are, that the system everyone is colluding in is morally bankrupt and sick? Sound familiar? No wonder so many of us want our entertainment to toe the proverbial line and go through whatever motions are deemed consistent with fealty to the state; we don’t want to face the truth of what they are telling us.

May we all be safe to peacefully protest injustice.
May we be happy to have our eyes opened to injustice.
May we be healthy enough to face our complicity.
May we see that peaceful protest is deeply respectful and completely consistent with aspirational democracy.

Tracy Simpson

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