Mike Pence's decision to walkout showcases values of Trump administration

Another week of NFL football has been met with another week of political statements. However, week five of the season saw a response from the administration that went beyond the Twitter rampages of the president. Vice President Mike Pence left the matchup between the Colts and 49ers when some players kneeled during the national anthem. 

Considering that 49ers’ safety Eric Reid was first to accompany then-teammate Colin Kaepernick in the now famous sideline protest, Pence’s premature departure was all but inevitable. 

The Trump administration’s calculated statement cost taxpayers roughly $250,000 and is a clear base play that highlights the common theme throughout his campaign and administration: a consistent appeal to white American emotion that masks a lack of efficient policy. 

Mike Pence followed this action with a thread of tweets underscoring the need to stand for the flag. The reality is that being forced to stand for an anthem is the antithesis of the value of freedom that this country allegedly represents. 

This protest is one that has been done peacefully and respectfully to bring light to the important issue of police brutality and overall systemic inequalities that plague the black community. 

However it has been manipulated by this administration as one that indicates disdain for “privileged black athletes” for the America that their base knows and loves: white America. 

The appeal to white America, and, more specifically, racist white America, is further evidenced by the administration’s deafening silence following a second white supremacist march in Charlottesville this past week. The same Charlottesville whereTrump saw good people on “both sides” back in August. 

If Pence and Trump truly believe that “everyone is entitled to their own opinions,” then why do they insist on criticizing a peaceful protest against injustice, yet remain silent following a sequel to a white supremacist rally, when the first one resulted in the death of an American citizen? 

The answer is quite simple: morality and any common sense of decency have been thrown out the window to preserve the support of racist, white America. 

Defending the cultural values that Trump’s base holds so dear is the only thing that allows this administration to maintain any support from a fraction of the country’s population. Without these distractions, the colossal failure of this administration would be more infuriating to his supporters. 

In just the past month, the botched relief efforts in Puerto Rico, now-former Secretary of Health amd Human Services Tom Price’s infatuation with luxurious travel and, of course, yet another failure to repeal and replace Obamacare are glaring indications of incredibly poor governance. 

Objective failure has been the only predictable outcome throughout the administration, and it has not been slightly mitigated by any notable conservative legislative victories. 

To salvage this overall incompetence, Trump and his comrades pull stunts to keep their white base happy. Planning a walk-out in the face of a protest for equality, defending confederate statues, repeatedly defending the second amendment and pardoning a fascist sheriff perceived by conservatives to be tough on immigration are all cultural appeasements. 

These displays indicate Trump’s insecure and insatiable desire to maintain whatever support he currently has. While these attempts may help to prevent a mid-30 percent approval rating from dropping further, it all but ensures that it will not increase. 

These stunts mask a lack of effective policy, and indicate an overall lack of respect for the intelligence of Trump voters. 

That Trump supporters are so easily blinded by racism and a disingenuous promotion of guns and quasi-patriotism indicates that they will continue to support an administration incapable of competent governance.

Mike Pence’s walkout act last weekend is undoubtedly a base play. However, like base plays before it, it represents the true evil behind President Trump’s administration. 

They obstruct the transparency of the administration’s incompetence in the eyes of its supporters, preserve Trump’s fragile ego, and incite racial and cultural hostilities. 

We have gotten so numb to the chaos controlling the country that we have become susceptible to shrugging off these grotesque appeasements. 

However, they have real, tangible consequences, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by anyone who recognizes them for what they truly are. 

Jacob is a junior majoring in Economics and History with a certificate in environmental studies. Do you think the vice president was justified in leaving the game? Are players justified in kneeling during the national anthem? Please send any questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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