Only last year, James, a purported champion of social justice, came out in support former quarterback Colin Kaepernick with the vacuous platitude, “I stand with anyone who believes in change.” Anyone? Of course, LeBron’s stand, as with most acts of pretend celebrity bravery, resulted in hosannas being thrown at him by the press, and, more importantly, never costing him a penny.
Americans tend to use word like “stand” and “fight” in their political disagreements, though they never really have to stand and fight for anything. Tank Man stood and fought. The Hong Kong protesters stand and fight. We take to social media and argue. Posting a Nike-approved picture on your Instagram account of Kaepernick—adorned with the $40-million market-test slogan, “Believe in something, Even if it means sacrificing everything”—is not an act of bravery, LeBron.
And that’s fine. All of this just speaks to the relative safety afforded dissent and protest in our political life. In the United States celebrities are free to accuse the president of being fascist dictator or “bum,” and no one is coming to knock on their doors. Watching fabulously wealthy men fretting over their words abroad is a useful reminder of the liberalism we have inherited.
And which they are gladly squandering.
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): They’re not so much “squandering” freedom, as selling it.