I have been asked by the lovely and gracious MtnGoddess, who has forgotten her account information, to post the following message. And of course, I am happy to do so.
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I am a citizen of a third world nation. Our overlord is a dictator, a despicable tyrant, who is commissioned to advance the self-serving interests of the elite members of the ruling class, and to preserve their wealth and power. The health and well-being of our people are matters of no concern to these despots, but the public image of "our great protectors" must be preserved at all costs. The venality and hypocrisy of these men is camouflaged by a carefully orchestrated campaign of propaganda, inflammatory rhetoric and character assassination, which is disseminated via the state-controlled media outlets. Many of our neighbors, and some of our own citizens, are taken in by this charade, and do not recognize their own peril.
In my country, the citizens do not enjoy the protections of justice guaranteed to citizens of civilized nations. Political expediency determines who is, and who is not guilty, and what is or is not a crime. People who are accused of crimes by the state are tried and sentenced by secret tribunals. There is no trial by jury, no opportunity to present a defense, no court of appeals. The accused cannot confront their accusers, and have no access to the evidence used against them. Abject submission is the required response to the punishments handed down by the state; anything else will elicit additional recriminations for the "criminal", his associates, his family.
I am a fan, a player, a coach. My nation is football nation. I dress in black today, in solidarity with the New Orleans Saints, and with all past victims of the NFL's summary judgments. I mourn the loss of the game of I love, which exists now only in name, and in the hearts and memories of the faithful, long-suffering fans.
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For myself, I would add only this, to fans of other teams--especially those who have responded to the sanctions against the Saints with unbridled glee:
First they came for the Steelers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Steelers fan.
Then they came for the Patriots,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Patriots fan.
Then they came for the Saints,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Saints fan.
When they came for us,
no one spoke out, because there was no one left.
Don't kid yourselves, NFL fans everywhere. Your day is coming.