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Opinion: VP Pence Should be Embarrassed by His Actions at Colts Game

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Matt Mirro

     Last Sunday, Oct. 8, in what could have been mistaken as a scene from a Roman period piece, Vice President Mike Pence appeared in an executive booth high above the sprawling masses of common folk at Lucas Oil Stadium. He placed his hand over the vacant cavity where his heart should be. Pence was back in Indiana, the state he was governor of for four years before joining the Trump Administration, to watch the hometown Indianapolis Colts face off against the San Francisco 49ers.

     But as the Star Spangled Banner played through the stadium speakers and the Vice President stood overlooking the field, he noticed the kneeling players in the visiting red and gold. It was that same gold and red previously worn by the now-blacklisted quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, when he began the controversial movement of kneeling while America’s national anthem plays, originally in protest of police brutality and discrimination towards minorities.

    The 49ers have, despite Kaepernick currently being out of football, been one of the National Football League’s most consistent protesters. They had kneeled during the anthem for three weeks prior to their game against the Colts, as has most of the league in response to President Donald Trump’s statements attacking players for exercising their right to free speech and protest. So no one should have been surprised to see San Francisco continue their statement in Indianapolis. Most were not. In fact, only one appears to have been taken off guard: Mike Pence.

    The Vice President left the game before it started, claiming to be outraged by the scene. Naturally, he took to Twitter saying, “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag our National Anthem.”

    Besides the obvious –that these protests are not meant to disrespect the flag or our troops but to defend the principles they uphold by bringing attention to discrimination– Pence’s words are comical. Ignoring the fact that his appearance and early exit was likely nothing more than a transparent public relations stunt to fuel the fire of the administration’s war on peaceful and lawful protest, Pence seems to be confused by what actually disrespects American ideals. Let’s remind him, shall we?

    When you support legislation that will dictate what a woman can and can’t do with her own body, that is un-American. When you attack the LGBTQ community, going as far as to suggest publically funded “conversion camps,” that is un-American. When you attempt to deprive millions of much needed health care for the sake of profit, that is un-American. When an administration demonizes immigrants and refugees seeking a better life while simultaneously condoning the violent and hate filled actions of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, that is un-American. I could go on but who has the time?

    If the Vice President was truly blindsided by the ongoing protests, then it demonstrates how imbecilic the current government has become. But no one is truly buying what Pence is trying to sell. What occurred at Lucas Oil Stadium was nothing short of a grown man throwing a tantrum because he didn’t get his way, and then yelling at the top of his lungs until he was blue in the face so that everyone made sure to pay attention. Well, it worked and we’re all watching. Congratulations, Mr. Vice President, you have stooped to a Trumpian level and America is laughing.

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