Beto O’Rourke rises for American greatness and NFL players

Beto O’Rourke rises for American greatness and NFL players

One of the most powerful moments in modern American politics was when Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), a passionate patriot who backs American soldiers from his post on the House Armed Services Committee, rose in defense of the patriotic players of the National Football League (NFL) who are under attack from the dark side of American politics.

It was a magical moment in which the fearless O’Rourke spoke great truths about American values without taking a poll, mouthing a talking point, pandering to prejudice or appealing to the lesser instincts of our nature as certain politicians do in our troubled times.

I have written about the patriotic NFL players before and would urge every American who shares O’Rourke’s patriotism to watch the video of his remarks, which highlights the core values that make America great.


O’Rourke began his moving defense of NFL players by doing something he often does, which is also a core value of American greatness that has been lost: He pays respect to those who may disagree with him before proceeding to appeal to the better angels of their nature.

In a few short minutes, O'Rourke reminded the nation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and he reminded his opponents of when America won the great war for democracy in the 1940s, the battles on Omaha Beach and at Okinawa brought together Americans from all walks of life who fought for the common cause of freedom.

O'Rourke's America is the real America. O'Rourke's Texas is the true Texas. The truths that O'Rourke speaks are the truths that make America great. His comments about the brilliant book on Martin Luther King by Taylor Branch, “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years," were profoundly moving. 

It is true, as he says, that at a dark moment in American history, Dr. King battled peacefully to end the killings, beatings and crimes against those who marched for civil rights.

It is true, as he says, that we must end the killings of black men, black teenagers and black children that occur far too often at the hands of the small number of lesser men who commit these crimes against them.

It is true, as he says, that the patriotic players of the NFL are demonstrating their love of country, their faith in America and their desire to make America even greater by protesting against injustice in our times.

Beto’s discussion of this subject on Ellen DeGeneres's show was a high point of the political season.

It is true, as he says, that some of the greatest patriots who ever lived, who battle in uniform to preserve and protect our democracy, who he supports every day he serves on the Armed Services Committee, are fighting for equal justice under law and equal rights for all.

In Beto O’Rourke’s America, our government in Washington should serve all Americans, all of the time, and not just the few at the expense of America. His campaign platform is a compendium of proposals to make life better for Texans.

Beto is battling for tax cuts that benefit all Texans and Americans fairly, and he opposes tax cuts that give huge benefits to the wealthiest Americans and offer table scraps to the vast multitudes of citizens who deserve much better than they are receiving from Republican politicians in Washington.

He is battling for health-care policies that protect the health, safety and security of all Texans — and all Americans. He opposes Republicans — including his opponent in his current campaign for the Senate — who are in the pocket of special interests and act to strip health insurance from millions of citizens who suffer from preexisting conditions.

President John F. Kennedy once wrote a book about profiles in courage, describing United States senators who demonstrated fearless courage against great odds to do what is right for their state and country.

If O'Rourke is elected to the Senate in November, he would lead in this noble tradition without being persuaded by polls on what to believe; without being instructed by consultants what to say; and without being owned or rented by special interests who give him money.

Beto O’Rourke applauds the patriotism of NFL players for the same reason he does so much to support the cause of our veterans.  

There is a magic to the O’Rourke campaign for the same reason that there is a magic in the transcendent vision of Americanism that no politician who divides our people can ever match in the epic battle of ideas for America’s future.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.