Here’s what I got from reading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s op-ed in The Washington Post: Donald Trump loves America much more than Abdul-Jabbar. And Trump’s right—Kareem has no clue.
Trump tangled with the basketball legend, answering his “you’re so nasty compared to Bernie Sanders” WaPo piece with a handwritten note scrawled across the essay like a teacher correcting a student’s writing assignment.
Now I know why the press always treated you so badly — they couldn’t stand you. The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!
Abdul-Jabbar compared Trump to Sanders, writing “how each man responded revealed the type of person he is and the type of president he would make: Trump authored his own doom, and Sanders opened immense new possibilities as a compassionate person and serious candidate for president.”
Sorry Kareem, but America isn’t buying your argument—at least outside the socialist liberal circle in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.—and neither am I. Trump may be raw and unfiltered; he may pick fights with reporters and television news personalities; and that may be inadvisable from an election standpoint; but—but—that doesn’t make him the type of person you say he is.
Let’s go through the character assassinations one by one here. But first, a disclosure.
I have been a vocal critic of Trump (calling him ‘Biff [Tannen from Back to the Future] for President,’ and his supporters ‘Border Ruffians’ and ’Know-Nothings,’ among other things), but more for the beer-guzzling, Kool-Aid-drinking, and sometimes racist supporters he attracts by his blunt statements on illegal immigration and political correctness than his policy proposals. It’s Trump’s bluntness, not necessarily his positions themselves (when you can determine what they really are), that causes dyspepsia for most conservatives, even when they privately share Trump’s opinions.
Trump is ankle-deep in policy and up to his neck in a cult of personality, but nobody can argue that he’s an ineffective business leader. And it’s very difficult to argue that Trump is a bad person or an America-hater. Yet that’s exactly what Abdul-Jabbar has suggested.
First, Abdul-Jabbar accused Trump of “alienating women” by not letting Megyn Kelly trap him into a gaffe in the GOP debate, because Trump answered “I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.” Kareem called that an “insidious political crime” because Trump implied that he was above being mean to Kelly, using a veiled threat to discourage other journalists from criticizing him (has it worked? No.).
Certainly, Trump has proven he’s not above being mean to Kelly, or really anyone, who criticizes him. But while that makes him a bull in a china shop and possibly a boor in more refined settings, it doesn’t make him anti-First Amendment. Let’s get something straight here: Trump is not an outsider to the media. He knows the business from the inside, and intimately.
Megyn Kelly is a big girl, and everyone at Fox News are grown-ups who make a whole lot of money putting their faces in front of cameras, asking “hard questions” to politicians. And here’s an open secret: the cable TV news business is entertainment. Yes. Really. It is. And Trump knows it. He plays the system to stay in the news cycle, and he does it on purpose. Even with Abdul-Jabbar, Trump makes the story about him, not other people criticizing him.
Let’s look at Abdul-Jabbar: a longtime Muslim convert and in fact currently a proselytizer for Islam and Aljazeera America supporter. How does a committed Muslim treat women? Not very “liberated.” Here’s an excerpt from actress Pam Grier’s 2010 autobiography about her relationship with the former Lew Alcinder.
Although she was a self-described feminist who believed education was the road to empowerment, Grier, who had been raised a Catholic but moved away from all religion, agreed to study the Koran. What she found she didn’t like. Jabbar tried to explain to her that the New Islam was different from what she was reading. To Grier it didn’t sound all that new.
“Then why is the woman, even in the ‘New Islam,’ supposed to walk behind the man. Why can’t we walk side by side?”
Jabbar’s answer to this and many other questions was, “That’s what Allah wants. The man is the leader. That is how it is written.”
He also told her she would be required to be chaperoned and wear a headscarf.
“The truth is that Kareem didn’t want me to work or get an education,” Grier summarizes. “He really just wanted me to be a good Muslim wife, bear his children, walk behind him, and keep my hair covered up with a head scarf. … From what I could see, once a woman converted to Islam and got married, she gave up her individual rights.”
It’s one thing to hurl insults at public figures like Rosie O’Donnell, who’s a big girl and can handle it because celebrities are supposed to have thick skins, and quite another to treat your fiancée this way.
There is no question that although she was conflicted, Grier was madly in love with Jabbar (she says they remain friends to this day) and desperate to find a way to reconcile herself to his rigid view of a woman’s place in the world.
She wanted to make it work.
Then the humiliations came.
One Saturday, Jabbar invited a group of fellow Islamic converts over. Grier expected to spend the day enjoying everyone’s company. These were her friends too, but this was the first time she had seen them since their conversion.
They refused to hug her. They pulled away from her touch as though she were diseased. Then came the real humiliation.
“I wasn’t supposed to speak to them at all, unless I was answering a specific question. I stood there awkwardly, when Kareem said in a quiet voice, ‘You’re supposed to leave the room now, Pam.’”
“For how long?” She asked.
“Until I ask you come back or my friends leave,” was his reply.
Humiliated, she sat alone in the bedroom until Jabbar came in and asked her to make the group sandwiches. She obliged, and after serving the men, Jabbar said, “You have to go now. You can take a sandwich with you.”
Little by little, Jabbar’s oppressive view of women drove Grier away. He demanded she cover herself, even at the beach and “read me the riot act about disgracing him” when she didn’t. “This is how it is written in the Koran,” was his only justification.
I’ll take Trump over Allah on women’s rights, thank you.
Second, Trump has no “vendetta” against the press, like Abdul-Jabbar desperately wants to pin on him.
Trump’s vendetta against the press extended to the Des Moines Register. When the paper issued an editorial calling for Trump to withdraw from the campaign, he refused to give the paper’s reporters credentials to attend his campaign event in Iowa in July. He also called the paper “failing” and “very dishonest.” Other journalists he thinks have treated him harshly he refers to as “losers” or unintelligent, as if the definition of lack of intelligence is to not agree with him.
Compare this to President Obama, who tried to boot Fox News from the White House press pool, and in fact has always shunned them at his press conferences. A newspaper that publicly called for a candidate’s withdrawal and then had the unmitigated gall to try to attend his campaign event should be banned from the event. The same is true for Jorge Ramos, who tried to bully his way to the front of the line at Trump’s Des Moines news conference and found himself in time-out.
Next, Kareem hit Trump on birthright citizenship and the 14th Amendment. Last I checked, “former NBA player” is not a résumé qualification to lecture on constitutional law. I may be wrong on this, but I also believe that Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t have a law degree, or bar membership in any state, or the Supreme Court. I happen to believe that the 14th Amendment gives some right of citizenship to people born on American soil, but it hasn’t been tested in the Supreme Court, and Congress hasn’t passed legislation changing naturalization to allow for the test.
I do know that Obama has unconstitutionally expanded the rights of the 14th Amendment to cover non-citizens, however, but I don’t hear Kareem calling foul on that. If a future President Trump (or President Cruz, or President Carson) persuades Congress to change naturalization law, then there’s a good chance that case will end up in the Justices’ hands and then we’ll know. Painting Trump as an “enemy to the principles of the Constitution” is a bit dramatic thought, wouldn’t you say, even Trump-like in its sweeping and personal condemnation?
Finally, Abdul-Jabbar reserved to himself (and his fellow traveler liberals) the sole authority for determining what’s “politically correct” and therefore, which words are verboten.
It’s no longer “politically correct” to call African Americans “coloreds.” Or to pat a woman on the butt at work and say, “Nice job, honey.” Or to ask people their religion during a job interview. Or to deny a woman a job because she’s not attractive enough to you. Or to assume a person’s opinion is worth less because she is elderly. Or that physically challenged individuals shouldn’t have easy access to buildings. If you don’t have time for political correctness, you don’t have time to be the caretaker of our rights under the Constitution.
In this one paragraph, the hoops champ assassinated Trump six times. When did Trump ever call African-Americans “colored?” When did he pat a woman on the behind at work (even if he did so on the television reality show version of “work” which is about as real as Gilligan’s Island is about how they live on Fiji)? When did Trump fire a woman because she’s not attractive enough? (We’re not talking about beauty pageants, because, isn’t that the point of a “beauty pageant”—to determine who is more attractive?)
When did Trump assume an older person’s opinion is worth less? I can think of lots of times liberals think that by the way—when dealing with Medicare or death panels or euthanasia or who lives and who dies because of “quality of life.” Sorry grandpa, we have to pull the plug. When did Trump refuse to comply with ADA or even say it was a bad idea? He didn’t.
He didn’t do any of those things, but Abdul-Jabbar says he may as well have, because he’s not as nice as he should be, or use the approved language that liberals require.
What really bothers Adbul-Jabbar is that Trump isn’t politically correct.
That’s it, period. Liberals like him are so used to setting the rules, rigging the strings and then having Republicans dance while they are puppet-masters that they don’t like someone who refuses to dance.
Say what you want about Trump (and Kareem actually cites America-hating The Guardian as his source for reasons Trump can’t win, statistically), he doesn’t hate America—in fact, he may love it too much to win. Especially when liberal, rich, self-important Muslims like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get to set the bar for acceptability.