We are not exactly sports fanatics, my love and I. While I nominally follow the Philadelphia Phillies, at least when they’re winning, we don’t even have cable TV, so we bypass the 24/7 torrent of the sports industrial complex in a sort of insular bliss at the mountain retreat if you don’t count the nightmare than Donald Trump has visited upon us. But we are joyfully following the U.S. national women’s team in the World Cup because it allows us to feel good about America in a time of migrant concentration camps, love feasts with ruthless authoritarian leaders and a new definition of Taking Our Daughters To Work Day.
This is one absolutely fearless team. The atleticism is breathtaking. And the beer is really cold at the neighborhood tappy where we watched the matches against France and England, the latter to be long memorable for forward Alex Morgan’s delightful troll of the entire English nation with her tea sipping gesture, pinkie properly raised, after scoring the go-ahead goal.
That’s what we fought the Revolutionary War for, right?
Wrong. We fought the Revolutionary War so a criminal thug can appropriate — no, make that hijack and militarize — the peoples’ Independence Day celebration in Washington and beat his chest on the steps of the previously hallowed Lincoln Memorial for the enjoyment of Republican fat cat donors and other hand-picked VIPs. And so he can emulate Vladimir Putin, who probably gets nice erections when he sees tanks in Red Square on national holidays.
Incidentally, we’re paying for our homegrown authoritarian’s holiday party cum campaign event with millions of dollars diverted from a fund to fix up national parks, but then I’m sure that you got an invitation.
No invitation? That’s strange.
It’s easy to see why Trump is so mightily pissed off with women’s team’s co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who has unashamedly dissed the president by saying that she would not be “going to the fucking White House” should the U.S. win its fourth World Cup on Sunday.
Trump has returned the compliment by implying Rapinoe is a loser although stopping short of saying that the purple-haired winger is “not my type,” his go-to rejoinder to Jean Carroll, the latest woman to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
“I think I stand for honesty and for truth and for wanting to have the conversation,” Rapinoe told reporters on Wednesday. “Looking at the country honestly and saying, ‘Yes, we are a great country and there are many things that are so amazing and I feel very fortunate to be in this country.’ I would never be able to do this in a lot of other places. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get better. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always thrive to be better.”
Down deep, if Trump has a deep, what really wounds him about Rapinoe is that she has worked very hard to become a premier athlete while he has stolen, abused, insulted and assaulted to get where he is. Now Trump may be too much of a sociopathic narcissist to ever understand that. Or despite his fake billions, why he will never have that most precious of commodities — respect.
For us, the women’s team is a timely reminder of the American ethos amidst Trump’s manifold grotesqueries: The promise of equality, the spirit of reform that yielded Title IX and laid the groundwork for American female soccer supremacy, a close-knit community of different backgrounds and sexual orientations, including lesbian and social activist Rapinoe, who has earned the title of national hero.
So for an all-too-brief moment, my love and I are putting aside our shame and letting loose with a”USA, USA” or three. You ought to try it. Feels really good.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on July 3, 2019 on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.