Tact and manners are as rare in the modern GOP as the voiced dental affricative in Sino-Tibetan languages. Following the passing of famous boxer Muhammad Ali due to septic shock on Saturday, at least one GOPer saw it fit to take to Twitter and inform the world of their worthless, offensive opinion.
Fortunately, this is Twitter, and not only did he catch hell from other Twitter users, but Keith Olberman took aim at him as well, deflating his ego in a most spectacular way.
Muhammad Ali is one of the best-known boxers in history and for good reason. The man had character and personality, and he had a charisma and a commanding presence that few people can match. In spite of Parkinson’s, he managed to run a business and manage a successful brand.
His passing on Saturday prompted discussions about him and the role he played, as well as the legacy he’d left. Joining that conversation was an obscure Republican lawmaker from Tennessee who slammed Ali — calling him “Cassius Clay” — on Twitter because Ali refused to join the military during Vietnam.
The tweet’s since been taken down, but Tennessee House Rep. Martin Daniel (R-West Knoxville) didn’t get it down fast enough. In the initial Tweet he wrote:
Cassius Clay was a skilled, great boxer, but failure to enlist in the military when the call was made is a black cloud on his character.
Now, if you remember this differently — that is, you remember Ali refusing the draft, not refusing to enlist — you aren’t alone. A number of Twitter users have called Daniel on the ahistoricism of his comment, as well as for using Ali’s birth name rather than the name he wished to be called.
Twitter users weren’t alone in going after Daniel for his hypocrisy, though: Daniel caught the eye of Keith Olbermann as well, who ripped the man to shreds for his remark:
What I think is especially telling about this is that Daniels, who was born in 1956, was — as some noted — old enough to serve in Vietnam. Yet, he didn’t; he went to college, instead.
Furthermore, Daniel’s candidate of choice, Donald Trump, also received multiple deferments during the war. Eventually, he was classified as 4-F due to bone spurs in his heels.
Consider this: Mussolini is a good comparison to Donald Trump in a most ways, but not in others. For instance, Both are cartoon characters. But Mussolini actually fought in World War I. He served for many months in the trenches, and he walked away from the war with more than 60 pieces of metal lodged his body from a mortar shell. He also contracted paratyphoid fever.
When Mussolini talked about militarism and the military, at least part was anchored in personal experience.
Now, contrast this with Daniel and Trump. When Trump talks about the military, it’s not personal experience. It’s anchored in the belligerently ignorant, ‘rah-rah’ ‘Murka Furst! feel-good National Socialist prole-feed bullshit the GOP nomenklatura is so fond of.
And it’s the same with Daniel. Daniel hasn’t fought and will probably never fight, but he has no problem sending other people to die for him. Especially if those other people are minorities. And because he has no shame, he has no problem condemning a recently dead man for a “crime” (not serving in the military isn’t a crime, and I’m not dismissing the opinions of non-military people; I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy) Daniel himself committed.
A recently dead minority man, at that, who was notorious for speaking his mind on the nature of the white establishment in America — an establishment that Daniel has clearly benefited from.
Really, given that, is it any surprise he did attack Ali?
Feature image via screen capture