A LITTLE OFF THE TOP

DAN JACKSON

know it’s difficult, or maybe simply too boring, for a lot of people to grasp the idea of America being a symbol of good — or at least a symbol of hope.

Recall Superman saying, “Truth, justice and the American way”?

There really is a lot to that. Our system of government, our system of democracy and our system of capitalism has afforded us the luxury of those things.

And when I say luxury, I’m not talking about buying a yacht. I’m talking about things like kidnappings.

Yeah, I know that’s random, but we don’t have those in the United States, or at least not like they do in other countries.

In Central American countries, kidnapping for ransom is a job opportunity.

Not here. Our law enforcement, our court system and again our system of government of checks and balances have made it possible to avoid such a crime, without using the iron fist of a dictator or authoritarian regime.

We don’t starve in this country. Or at least we shouldn’t.

We have hungry children in our country, but for the most part, it’s because of parents who are either not there or who shouldn’t be there.

But so many of you get caught in your everyday lives of Cosco, or saving a dime here so you can buy a status symbol over there, you end up in an endless cycle of narcissism.

Have you ever hung out with a friend who wants to talk about how much money they make? Have you ever had a friend tell you someone else is jealous of their salary?

Who thinks this is an OK thing to say? And why would it be an OK thing to say?

These are the same people who abandon any cause by way of the back door.

They don’t volunteer, they don’t give freely of themselves or of their wallet unless they are in the limelight. Then they milk it for all it’s worth.

When you were a kid, they were the first kid to admit defeat. They were the first kid to quit the team.

As an adult, they are the first one to blame the system and resent those who thrive.

And so, sometimes I worry this is where we find ourselves as a country.

This week, an executive of the Houston Rockets voiced his support of protestors in Hong Kong, a former British protectorate now legally part of China.

For those of you who need to know, in 1997, when China took over Hong Kong, it vowed to keep its legal, political and economic system in place.

It was a “one country, two systems” agreement. But over the course of the last 20 years, authoritarian influence has began to seep into the country.

Most recently, and the reason for the protests, was a proposed agreement to extradite criminals to China.

If you have a hard time understanding why this would be a bad idea, please go read somewhere else.

And so when this obscure basketball manager makes a comment supporting the protestors, naturally you would think it a good American thing to say, right?

Evidently not. The Chinese weren’t happy about it.

The Chinese government, their basketball association and two Chinese sponsors announced they were halting their relationships with the NBA.

Along with that, they immediately cut the airing of two NBA preseason games on their behemoth national television.

The NBA has invested heavily in China. They want the big bucks that the largest consumer population in the world has to offer.

As you sadly might expect, the NBA apologies came quick. And not just from their commissioner’s office, but even from players and, of course, from the initial person who made the Tweet.

And while they stopped short of banning free speech from its players, coaches and management, the inference was clear: Criticizing the largest human rights violators in the world, is not acceptable.

And so this is the poison of international trade and capitalism. The NBA is going to Cosco.

The NBA will abandon you and the values that have made you as free as anyone on the planet, for a chance to make a buck.

I’m through with the NBA.

 

DAN JACKSON is a self-employed Paris businessman. His email address is danjackson@alittleoff.net.

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