Can we get along? 

The Times production deadline fell before polls closed this week, so I'll look to the past and future.

First: Basketball, specifically the little-noticed sport of women's basketball at the University of Arkansas. Six members of the women's team created a statewide furor last week by quietly kneeling and linking arms during the playing of the National Anthem before a crowd of 1,200. They joined a national movement about police treatment of black people. One team member stood erect, hand over heart, but extended another hand to a kneeling teammate.

The fury hasn't abated.

I stand for the National Anthem. I understand those who think there are better ways to make a point. But I have less patience with those who insist that differences of opinion must be reduced to contests, with punishment for losers.

Vituperation of the players was the unsurprising dominant response. In a state in which only about one in every seven is black, there's a lack of understanding of what it means to be black — in school, driving or just walking down the street.

There were calls to revoke the players' scholarships. Some wanted to fire Coach Jimmy Dykes and Athletic Director Jeff Long for defending the players' First Amendment right to free speech at a public institution. Republican Reps. Kim Hammer and Laurie Rushing and Sen. Alan Clark called for financial punishment of the UA for allowing the demonstration.

Jimmy Dykes stood 10 feet tall. His players have "strong, well-informed, educated opinions based on their real-life experiences, their real-life emotions. I am very, very proud of them. They know I have their back 100 percent. Because we do live in a country that is the land of the free and the home of the brave." He added that he'd stand for the National Anthem and wished others would, too. But he gets it.

Do we?

We had an election Tuesday in which Donald Trump, an admirer of authoritarian leaders around the world, at least came close to winning the presidency. (God forbid that he did.) His followers beat a protester at a rally. He and his campaign rejected the findings of the Justice Department, FBI and multiple congressional investigations to insist, while offering no evidence, that Hillary Clinton was a law-breaker and should be jailed. There's a Republican movement afoot to prevent a President Hillary Clinton from filling any openings on the U.S. Supreme Court. They also want to build walls and reject immigrants fleeing war.

Is the future of either a Trump or Clinton presidency a nation of warring camps? Arkansas has entered that realm. It is not possible for our U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman to see a redeeming quality in Barack Obama, though the majority of the American people do. Democrats in state government have been relegated to useful-stooge status. The Republican powers aren't content with marginalizing dissenters, they want to punish them — take money away from maternal health care if it's provided by Planned Parenthood; erect legal protection for discrimination against LGBT people; abolish a majority black Little Rock school board and fire a competent school leader because they were not politically correct in blood-red Arkansas.

Can we get along? Hillary Clinton had a record for doing so in the U.S. Senate. But her pragmatism and political shape-shifting were a part of the Bernie Sanders movement (lefties can be intolerant, too). Still, a new study shows that women legislators are more successful at passing legislation than men.

So maybe, if Tuesday did bring a Hillary Clinton presidency, even the promised eternal investigation by Republican firebrands doesn't necessarily mean she won't find a way to get along. But where the Trump movement is hottest — and that would include Arkansas — I'm pessimistic. See the Razorback women's basketball team.


From the ArkTimes store


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Prosecutor: As legislator, Hank Wilkins took $100,000 in bribes from indicted lobbyist

    A federal prosecutor in Missouri said Friday that a former legislator, Henry Wilkins IV of Pine Bluff, had said he'd received $100,000 in bribes as a state legislator from indicted former lobbyist Rusty Cranford. He was not alone on an illicit dole.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • Hutchinson names Steve Cox to UA Board of Trustees

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named Jonesboro businessman Steve Cox, a former Razorback and NFL punter, to the 
    • Mar 16, 2018
  • Judge ponders holding lobbyist without bail

    Federal Magistrate David Rush heard arguments today in Springfield, Mo., on whether former lobbyist and health care agency executive Rusty Cranford should continue to be held without bail pending his trial on charges that he participated in a scheme to divert money from the nonprofit for which he worked to himself and others as well as to  payments to politicians and campaign funds.
    • Mar 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017
  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Send in the segs

    The state Board of Education last week rejected requests from Camden Fairview, Hope, Lafayette County and Junction City to be exempt from the state law requiring students to be able to freely transfer between school districts.
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • Rich get richer

    Arkansas State University heard from a paid consultant last week about ways to become more efficient — make more money, in other words — and perhaps even serve students better.
    • Mar 8, 2018
  • Guns: Call the roll

    The gun lobby is wrong in thinking law enforcement failures in the Florida massacre are arguments against gun control. They illustrate why we must look harder at the devices that do the mass killing and how they get in hands of people even law officers are reluctant to confront.
    • Mar 1, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: WWJD?

    • Yes he spoke about the poor and needy, that is why he endorsed capitalism to…

    • on March 14, 2018

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation