It would seem that 2022 will be remembered as yet another year that seemed to never end. Certainly, when we consider random violence, war, the rise of authoritarian rulers and the venomous rhetoric being injected into this nation by Trump, it would seem reasonable to want the new year to appear sooner than later.
Surely 2023 cannot be worse, could it?
Cancel Culture According to Trump
Ever since the revelations about Trump during the 2016 campaign (remember the Access Hollywood tapes or the Stormy Daniels revelations or financial connections to Russia) it would seem that he is truly the Teflon Don.
How many times in the past five years have commentators opined that “this time” he had gone too far and that now the spell that he has cast over much America would be lifted. And how many times have literally all of these commentators been wrong.
Two impeachments, a google of lawsuits alleging all kinds of fraud, deception and tax evasion and the January 6 insurrection were just some of Trump’s greatest hits. His being investigated for sedition and the illegal possession of highly confidential documents are just some more chapters in the Book of Trump, any of which chapters would have resulted in the death and burial of the political careers of mere mortals.
Many have wondered as to whether there is any such thing as Trump going too far….and now, it is quite possible – despite his Houdini-like ability to avoid accountability for literally anything. And that is because a few days ago Trump opined that it might be time to “terminate the Constitution” in order to clear the path for him to return to the White House and save America.
Someone must have advised him that he actually had gone too far because he tried to walk back his remarks. But the internet is implacable when it comes to making sure that, after hundreds of millions of people around the world have now seen/read his statement, it is virtually impossible to walk it back.
Admittedly, this may be just another end of the year holiday wish that might come true.
After all, ‘tis the season, isn’t it?
Mental Illness in the Modern Era
In addition to COVID and the flu, there is another pandemic that has been afflicting this nation for years. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness has been ravaging this country without any coherent strategy to counteract this particularly painful plague.
A half century ago there was a concerted movement to deinstitutionalize mental health institutions. The thinking was that mental health was a disease, and like any other disease it required treatment and not confinement. Further, so the thinking went, by deinstitutionalizing individuals with mental health challenges and providing them with regular care/medication in safe environments, the likelihood of recovery was much more realistic.
What has happened since then is that deinstitutionalization of persons suffering from mental illness has taken place on a wholesale basis across this nation. However, the concomitant strategy of safe housing and regular outpatient care and medication has not taken place in a manner that has been anything but effective or efficient.
And now, with a trend towards providing mentally ill patients with institutionalized care, there are proponents of deinstitutionalization who are continuing the arguments of 50 years ago, but without a realistic solution given the way that society has failed so many men, women and children who face these maladies.
While temporary institutionalization is by definition temporary, as a society we cannot stand by and watch people suffer until a more effective strategy is developed, funded and implemented.
Time and the mentally ill cannot not wait.
Did Prime Time Fumble This Time?
Deion Sanders is one of those mythically gifted athletes who can be a key part of a baseball team winning the World Series and being a part of two teams that won the Super Bowl. His athletic prowess was matched by his unique aura as a player and his Hall of Fame capacity for self-promotion.
Three years ago, with no coaching experience whatsoever, Sanders was hired as the head football coach at Jackson State University, key member of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) academic community. He proclaimed that he aimed not only to bring about the rise of Jackson State but the entire HBCU sports community.
And there is no doubt that he put the spotlight on HBCU athletics, particularly football, on an exponentially increased basis. HBCU games were more widely televised, attendance was up and these schools were recruiting and enrolling top flight athletes from all over the country. And then…
Sanders announced that he had accepted an offer to be the head coach of the Colorado University football program, effective immediately. This move was a clear upward career move for Sanders and just as clearly it left Jackson State and its fellow HBCU institutions feeling left behind. Because they were.
Two things should be kept in mind. Coaches in any sport, particularly college football, are upward mobile individuals and it is the very rare college coach with longevity that has not coached at least two or three different schools during their careers.
There should have been no expectation that Deion Sanders should be held to a different standard. Ambition by its very nature has a selfish aspect, but that focus on success is what makes successful people successful.
The real focus should be on whether the HBCU athletic community can build on the status and momentum and attention that Deion Sanders brought with him. It is up to the athletic directors, coaches and players to move on and critics of Sanders should spend their time on building a proper sports edifice on the foundation that he helped to build.