The more I hear from Megan Rapinoe, the more I not only like her but think she is exactly the kind of leader, both in sports and in society, that we need right now. In an interview this weekend with Van Jones, she spoke truth to power and made a powerful argument for why she is the one being a patriot, not Trump and the other flag humpers, by pushing the country to change for the better.
“I think I’m super patriotic. I do consider myself extremely patriotic,” Rapinoe said.
“I think, like, we love in America to talk about, you know, how good we are, and how like we want to save the world, and always intervening in places because they’re not doing it right. Meanwhile, at home, we’re not even doing that oftentimes for our own people,” she explained.
“If we want to be considered the best in the world — which I think we certainly consider ourselves best in the world for good reason — why can’t we always be better? Why does criticizing or looking within, why is that weakness?” she asked.
“To me, that’s not weakness, that’s identifying a problem and saying, ‘I know it’s a problem, I’m going to fix it and make it better’ and then it’s not a weakness anymore and then you’re stronger,” she explained.
Hear, hear. I’m reminded of the opening scene on the debut episode of Newsroom when the Jeff Daniels character is asked what makes America the greatest country in the world and the woman who became his producer held up the sign that said “It isn’t — but it could be.” But it only will be if we do as Martin Luther King said, make due on the promissory note that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, if we truly become a nation where all people are treated equally, where justice and human rights are more often made action and not mere words. And it’s people like Rapinoe, and Colin Kaepernick, and Black Lives Matter, and those fighting for the rights of immigrants and refugees, and so many others who are called socialist and communist and whose voices are drowned out by an orgy of flag fetishism.
Rapinoe also addressed Trump’s “go back to your country” comments, saying they were “disgusting, to be honest. To say it’s disappointing is … it doesn’t even come close.” Indeed it doesn’t. And we cannot allow that to become normalized among our political leaders. We can’t treat it as just another dumb, horrible thing Trump has said because he speaks for millions of Americans. And we will never become what we should be as long as those people hold power, or even influence.