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French Football

January 4th kicked off football playoff season in the country.  That lovely time of the year when we distract ourselves from the rancid weather by watching a bunch of guys get egged on by tens of thousands of people to root around in the mud and grass in this nasty weather while chasing a pigskin.

Sounds like a great way to forget how cold it is this month!

This past Sunday the Denver Bronco’s lost to the Indianapolis Colts.  It was reported on Monday that the Denver Quarterback (QB) may have played with a torn right quad.  In fact, he may have played for a month with this injury.  This sparked a… ‘discussion’ with my good friend George Templeton.  He’s, shall we say, not a fan of Payton Manning and was delighted the Colts won the game.

Part of his distaste for Manning is the constant discussion about Manning being one of the greatest QB’s of all time.  Now that debate will rage forever and never have an answer but, of course, someone else has a theory that Eli Manning is the greatest clutch QB ever.

Now I could either debate this further with stats like these about wins and losses, or completely bore you to death, either way, nothing would be settled.  If you’re bored, stay with me.  Do we base greatness on total number of wins?  Tom Brady in the postseason.  How about total Championship wins?  Bart Starr would like a word.  Then there’s the argument about the modern era and Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw come knocking on your door.

What really isn’t up for debate is the importance of having a solid QB on your team to both make the playoffs and win the Superbowl.  There are several teams that didn’t make the playoffs and would argue they might have had Payton Manning been their QB.  Having solid leadership in this position is vital to the success of the team, and I told George, the most clutch QB is the one that takes your team to the Superbowl and wins it.

That debate about who you would want to lead your team isn’t just idle sports talk.  The leader of a great football team is its quarterback and the quarterback for the free world is the President of the United States.  Considering the performance by the current President, Barack Obama, the discussion about who you’d rather have at ‘QB’ for the free world has begun.

After the brutal attacks in Paris this past week, it should be obvious to everyone that the world has a problem it desperately needs to face and defeat; that problem is Islamic extremism.  What is needed is the leadership necessary to face and defeat such evil.

50 years ago, Martin Luther King marched from Selma to Montgomery to stand up against brutality.  Fifty years later, we see another march against brutality in Paris.  President Barack Obama’s background as a community organizer, street marches are his forte, his wheelhouse, and as a Nobel Laureate, peace is something he’s advocated for years.  Or so we are told.

Actions speak much louder than words, or labels, and when given the opportunity to march hand in hand with other world leaders, much the way that Dr. King marched to Selma, and make a statement against violence, President Barack Obama chose to stay home and watch football.

Security has been raised as a legitimate issue that he would have faced.  However, this argument falls flat on its face under scrutiny.
First, the Secret Service was never contacted about ANY trip to Paris.  That means the trip was never considered.  Ever.

Second, had the trip taken place, he might have been placed in danger during the march.  This also has been proven false.  Initially, we were led to believe from press reports that more than 40 world leaders led a protest of over a million people in Paris.  As the Independent noted from the image below, world leaders were never in any danger as their march wasn’t attached to the main march directly.

France March

This, of course, is used by critics to claim that it was just for show.  However, that proves the point exactly.  This was entirely for show.  It was to show that we will not be intimidated by violence.  It was to show how defiant we are against brutality.  It was to show that we value a free press.

Other critics have also pointed to some of the world leaders present during the march and the irony that they stood as staunch defenders of a free press.  Order-Order posted this comic below highlighting the hypocrisy.  Hypocrites?   Yes, yes many of them are.  Does that diminish the statement it sends when they stand together?  No.  Rather, it highlights the challenges we still face regarding a free press that is critical of others and those in power.  How better to highlight these challenges than showcasing the hypocrisy of world leaders who give lip service but fail to act accordingly?  It is also the perfect time to hold them to task for the double standard they demonstrate.

paris480

This is precisely why our press has been deeply critical of President Obama and his Administration’s failure to demonstrate convincingly to the world America’s commitment to a free press.  While the US Ambassador did march with the group, can you name that individual?  Most in the press can’t even do so.

No top cabinet official was present, not even Attorney General Eric Holder who was present in Paris at the time for a security conference.  Ironically, the Attorney General made time to appear on our nation’s Sunday Morning talk shows while his Justice Department spied on members of the press.

And that same press that Eric Holder was so eager to engage on Sunday became deeply critical of the Administration.  We had an opportunity to say, ‘Lafayette, we are here’. No, Peggy Noonan, we were not.  It was so embarrassing Jake Tapper felt compelled to address it.  We can easily dismiss both Ms. Noonan’s and Mr. Tapper’s commentary as nothing more than political rhetoric but when you lose Jon Stewart, perhaps it’s time to admit you have a problem.

A dozen reasons, so far, have been foisted as to why the President couldn’t or didn’t attend.  Perhaps one of those reasons is that he had to deal with that JV team, ISIS, hacking into US CENTCOM’s Twitter account and declaring that all your base are belong to us.  Though, I’m betting he found out about that the same way he usually does, by watching the news.

Whatever the reason, the President had an opportunity for his own Selma moment.  Instead of sending a clear message that we will stand against violence and marching for peace, President Obama had a huge fumble when he chose to stay home and watch football.

The Selma March in 1965 was a seminal moment in history.  The Paris March was another such moment, and the very man you want to show up, the very person primed to lead such a march, the Leader of the Free World, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, chose to stay home and watch football.  Perhaps he’ll learn a little something about leadership when he watches the rest of the playoffs.