In case there was any doubt left that the Republican Party has given itself over to the fascist bullying of the right, consider Hal Daub -- a University of Nebraska regent plotting his very own Night of the Long Knives against a trio of college football players.
Were they communists working undercover for Red China, plotting to destroy Husker baseball and make ping pong the national sport?
Were they deep-cover moles for Vladimir Putin, planning to hack the university's computer network and mete out 26,000 incompletes?
Did they not want to Make Football Great Again in Lincoln?
No, it was worse than that . . . at least for Daub, a Donald Trump delegate and onetime congressman who missed the House Un-American Activities Committee by this much.
What the players did was kneel in protest during the national anthem before a Nebraska road game at Northwestern last week. I think it is clear by now why they did. And for that, there must be consequences -- human rights, freedom of conscience and the First Amendment be damned.
NU Regent Hal Daub of Omaha said he was disappointed in the Husker players because he doesn’t believe a football game is the place to express political or social views. Expressing their views is fine, he said, but not when it’s “disruptive.”
“You don’t have to put your hand over your heart or sing, but out of respect for other people’s point of view and wishes, the respect they could show would be, at least, stand or not be on the field” when the anthem is played, he said.
Daub also said he was disappointed in the reaction from Husker football coach Mike Riley, who backed the players.
“I was not pleased with his response,” Daub said.
Daub said he believes the matter will be a topic of discussion among the regents at some point.
“Nobody’s out to censure anybody or limit anybody’s free speech, but speech is limited,” Daub said. “Conduct is limited.”
Daub, who served in the U.S. Army, said he’s received between 50 and 60 emails about the issue, and the majority disagree with the players’ decision.
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that Daub said the players “had better be kicked off the team.”
But Daub denied saying that during an interview with The World-Herald.
Asked what kind of punishment, if any, the players should face, Daub said he’s unsure.
“I think that’s a debate that will unfold here,” he said.
NO, I THINK the debate that should unfold here surrounds how Daub (R-Nuremberg) even thinks he has any moral right to speak on the subject, much less condemn Husker linebackers Michael Rose-Ivey and Mohamed Barry or defensive end DaiShon Neal.
Hal Daub was mayor of Omaha from 1995-2001, presiding over this Midwestern city at a time when, thanks in part to Daub's "get tough" policy, residents of predominantly black north Omaha came to see the police department as almost an occupying force . . . in the German sense of the term. Police-community relations, in a word, were awful.
Community leaders talked of certain Omaha cops with a reputation for routinely roughing up African-Americans for no other reason than they could get away with it. The tactics did not lead to any great reduction in -- or great campaign against -- violent crime in the city.
For example, here's something that ran in the Omaha World-Herald in September 2000:
Omaha black leaders said Tuesday that they have no intention of losing the momentum for action demonstrated by people who gathered Monday at a civil-rights protest.
The Rev. Everett Reynolds, president of the local NAACP branch, said
community leaders and members were planning to gather next Monday at Morning Star Baptist Church, 20th and Burdette Streets, to plan the next move.
"We have a lot of folks that are excited and want to do something," he said. "Our task now is to put that in focus."
More than 1,000 people gathered about noon on the steps and the grassy courtyard of the Douglas County Courthouse, protesting recent police killings.
It was a much bigger turnout than the estimated 300 people published in The World-Herald Monday evening. The lower figure was based on an estimate provided by one of the protest organizers late in the morning while the crowd was still gathering.
Calling it a "funeral for justice," about 400 cars wound their way from 24th and Lake Streets to downtown. Headlights on and horns sounding, they made downtown streets look and sound like midtown Manhattan at rush hour.
Organizers pleaded for an end to past wrongs, including the killing of black men by police officers and a lack of response by the criminal-justice system.
In particular, leaders decried Officer Jerad Kruse's shooting of George
Bibins after a high-speed police chase. Bibins, who was unarmed, had been fleeing from police in a stolen Jeep.
Kruse was charged with manslaughter, but those charges were dropped before the case went to a grand jury. The grand jury declined to file charges.
In a peaceful demonstration, speakers called for authorities to release
information about the Bibins shooting and bring charges against the officer.
"What I hope happens is they take notice that the community has had enough and that the Bibins family wants answers and the community wants answers," Eric Bibins, the brother of George Bibins, said after the protest ended.
Reynolds joined him - hoping that the protest put a dent in community denial and put some pressure on local authorities.
"I'm hoping they'll understand the dissatisfaction and do what is right," Reynolds said.
At the start of the protest, pallbearers carried a metallic gray coffin
through the crowd and set it at the top of the courthouse steps. Looking to the coffin, the Rev. Larry Menyweather-Woods said: "Justice, Omaha-way, is inside."
"We want to bury this justice," said Menyweather-Woods, whose Mount Moriah Baptist Church was the starting point of the procession and rally. "We want a new justice to rise up."
In words and signs, the residents unleashed a flurry of frustration about race relations in Omaha. On the one hand, they said, they're harassed by police. On the other hand, they're ignored by city policy-makers.
One sign said: "There is no justice in north Omaha. There's just us."
THE PROTESTING football players in Lincoln, I am sure, have never heard of what happened when Hal Daub was mayor of this city 50 miles northeast on Interstate 80. Michael Rose-Ivey is from Kansas City, Mo. Mohamed Barry is from Georgia. DaiShon Neal is from Omaha, but when this story appeared in the World-Herald, I don't think he read it -- he was not yet 3.
Regent Daub, on the other hand, probably would like to forget some of these inconvenient truths of the Omaha he led as mayor. More accurately, Daub probably would like us to forget what happened then.
Like another incident from deep in the Daub days, the October 1997 shooting of Marvin Ammons on a north Omaha street during an early, freak snowstorm. Ofc. Todd Sears told investigators he thought the Gulf War veteran, who was African-American, had a gun in his waistband. It was a cellphone.
A grand jury indicted Sears in 1998, but a district judge dismissed the indictment due to alleged misconduct by an alternate grand juror. The cop never faced charges -- a second grand jury declined to indict but harshly criticized Omaha police in the case.
Now, Hal Daub, NU regent, is concerned that the Husker players' actions are "disruptive." That's rich.
The man could teach a seminar on disruption. The out-of-control police department and the "get tough" political dogwhistles of Hal Daub's Omaha created a racial tinderbox that was truly "disruptive" -- not to a football game in Evanston, Ill., but to civil society and domestic tranquility right here in Omaha, Neb.
How dare Daub, with his blood-stained record, wrap himself in Old Glory to lead a self-righteous, constitutionally challenged pogrom against black football players who did nothing but take a damn knee.
A First Amendment-approved knee.
But what's free speech -- or trying to ruin the lives of three college kids -- when there's political hay to be made in Donald Trump's Amerika. Only a man so small could talk so big about a transgression so non-existent.
Only a man without shame in a country with no memory.
UPDATE: I don't know that I've ever seen the president of a university bitch-slap one of his bosses, but it just happened at the University of Nebraska. I think we have a keeper here.
God, I love this state.