Vice President Mike Pence certainly knew what would take place when he went to a pro football game today.
He knew some of the players would “take a knee” while they struck up “Star Spangled Banner.” He knew some of the San Francisco 49ers would protest, along with some of the Indianapolis Colts.
He knew that would happen. But he showed up anyway at the game in Indianapolis — only to walk out because, as he said, he wouldn’t “dignify” a disrespecting of the flag, our country, our men and women in uniform, our Constitution.
Good grief! What we saw today was an act of political grandstanding.
An Indianapolis Star sports columnist also was right to question why Pence showed up in the first place and why he decided to expend a good bit of taxpayer money — with the requisite security and other things associated with the vice president’s traveling contingent.
It’s not as though presidents and vice presidents don’t occasionally use their high office for political gain. I get that it’s happened before.
But this stunt that Pence pulled today was so transparently phony it boggles the mind. He wanted to make a statement that the players who are protesting are somehow “disrespecting” the nation that allows them to do the very thing they are doing.
Lest we forget, the protest — which began this pas season when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem — is intended to protest police treatment of African-American citizens. I’ll stipulate that I am not pleased with the form of protest mounted. I wish the players would find another way to make their point.
However, their demonstration is not meant to dishonor the flag, or the country, or our brave fighting men and women. To suggest it does all of that is to cheapen a legitimate form of political protest.
For the vice president of the United States to make a big show of it in the first place only heightens the phoniness of his own declaration of disgust.