It’s not easy to come across as an ultimate everyman and an exceptionally smart guy at the same time. But somehow, Mike Rowe pulls it off.
He drops bombs of profundity via the simplest of language in a way I may not have ever before observed.
With his inimitable style, Mike took to Facebook on the 4th to answer a Nike/Kaepernick question from one Karen Murphy, who inquired the following:
“Why would anyone in their right mind support Nike after this latest round of nonsense? Why would any public company with an image to protect take advice from an athlete? How can our attention be sucked up by people with nothing better to do than complain about fireworks and tanks on the fourth of July? Our country seems be losing its mind, or at the very least, its sense of history and perspective. As a man who has always seemed comfortable with our country’s flag, I was hoping you might have some insight to share on this, especially today.”
If you’re unaware of the situation at the Swoosh, the iconic athletic company pulled from stores a sneaker featuring Betsy Ross’s U.S. flag following former football player Colin Kaepernick’s suggestion that it may offend some due to America’s history of slavery (here and here).
Ready to get Rowed?
Here we go…
“I think Nike has the right to decorate their shoes with whatever flag they desire. I think Kaepernick has the right to offer marketing advice to any company that’ll take it. And I think you and I have the right to purchase whatever brand of tennis shoes we choose. The reason these rights exist, is because we live in the United States, and the reason the states are united, is because we decided, two and a half centuries ago, to be free of our British masters. So, we fought a war. Happily, the results of that war made us a free country.”
But we didn’t stay the way we were:
“Then, four score and seven years later, we decided we could not call ourselves a free country, as long as slavery existed. So, we fought another war. Happily, the results of that war made us freer still. Had either conflict gone the other way, our county would not exist – not as we know it, anyway. And the flag we fly today would look nothing like the one I’m proud to stand for.”
Mike went on to note that there’s nothing dangerous about Nike listening to Colin, or with complaining about patriotic military displays (please see more on that absurdity here).
He also, however, cited Ronald Reagan’s warning of the country perpetually being only one generation away from losing our liberty:
“Along with the siren song of socialism, the persistent promise of “free” stuff, and the breathtaking level of censorship on our college campuses, I worry about the growing belief among many that we can somehow improve our present by erasing our past; by toppling statues, outlawing “problematic” symbols, or rewriting specific pieces of our history in ways that leave us feeling less offended. George Orwell said it best… ‘The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their understanding of history.’”
You got that right!
The former Dirty Jobs host observed that we shouldn’t overlook Colin’s mistake.
He’s windin’ up, folks:
[Colin] has argued that the Betsy Ross flag is ‘racist,’ because it flew at a time when slavery was legal in America. By that definition, aren’t crosses also racist? Weren’t they on churches attended by slave-owning congregants? Why not demand their removal? What about the Bald Eagle? Wasn’t our national bird flying around when slaves were held? Why not protest it as well? What about the Great Seal? E Pluribus Unum? The Liberty Bell? It rang countless times while slavery was still the law of the land. Why not demand its removal? Kaepernick’s argument is unpersuasive, not because it’s unpopular, or unpatriotic. It’s unpersuasive because it’s completely void of logic.”
The man knows how to make a concrete point.
Mike closed with a statement patriotism, again quoting Orwell:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
Mike Rowe has a gift. Not only is he able to make powerful points in the most efficient, understandable way possible, but — in my opinion — he does so in a manner poised to compel even those who might otherwise want to oppose him.
He’s a living ode to yet another Orwell quote which he cited in his response to Karen:
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
But more than most, he makes people want to hear it.
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