Last Tuesday, a GOP primary election showdown in Alabama pitted the appointed incumbent, Luther Strange, funded by the Senate majority leader and establishment organizations in the Republican world, against Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice known for his hard-line stance on the public posting of the Ten Commandments, among other more right-leaning positions.
It wasn't close. Despite having President Donald Trump speaking for Strange, whose support he was courting for potential key votes, one of which apparently won't be a repeal/replace vote on a health care proposal, and up to $30 million spent, Moore won by a margin of about 10 percent.
The message of the Alabama race is simple: Republicans were told by the GOP House that once a dual majority was gained in the Senate, policy changes would come to halt the growth of government and prioritize Americans. Then, after attaining both majorities in Congress, the GOP base was promised that once a Republican was elected president, then we'll have the math in place to make principled changes.
The House has at least released a budget out of subcommittee, passed a health care proposal to stop the failing Obamacare and halted hundreds of job-killing regulations. Contrast that to the Senate with a GOP majority that hasn't even confirmed half of the president's nominees to serve within the government and couldn't pass a health plan when seven years of video ads exist of senators promising to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate has lost its credibility because it's done nothing.
So, what? It means that while the Senate claims to be the representative voice of voters of the 50 states, it hasn't made keeping promises and producing results a priority. More simply, it appears the Senate, as a body, and to a degree the House, do not revere the voters.
Now, switch to the NFL.
In August 2016, before Donald Trump was president, then-San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick made this statement: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." In interviews, the NFL player who had been photographed wearing socks depicting pigs wearing police uniforms, noted that his protest was directed at racial inequality found in the enforcement of the law and in police brutality.
Yet, his statements have been consistent that he won't show "pride in a country" that he views as oppressive. As civility in public discourse has all but become extinct due to violent protests shouting down speech and the glorifying of fits instead of fixes, more NFL players are "taking a knee" to apparently join this year-old protest.
The National Football League, a private corporation, employs thousands. Its supposed strict rules hypocritically prohibited the Dallas Cowboys to place a decal on helmets to honor five murdered policemen in last July's Black Lives Matter protest. Yet, this company permits individual "speech" during games on fields, most of which are at least partially subsidized by taxpayers, that rejects the U.S. flag and America, as Kaepernick stated.
Having worked for a Fortune 50 company, my personal beliefs were not always identical to my employer's. I had the right to free speech on my own time. Yet, rightful termination would occur with that company, and any other, should my personal views be imposed on customers during the course of the job.
The NFL, like some elected officials, no longer reveres its customers. Both are paying a price.
Robin Smith, a former Tennessee Republican Party chairwoman, owns Rivers Edge Alliance.