Just about the only good thing to come out of the Aaron Rodgers fiasco is that it gives us a textbook example of how MAGA finagles its way out of a jam.
Almost as though the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s behavior was orchestrated by Donald Trump himself.
Then prevaricate. Then obfuscate. Or maybe it’s the other way around. When they’re done with the ’cates, they throw a pity party—blaming the “woke mob” for the bad things they did.
Finally, when all else fails, they drag in Martin Luther King Jr.—as though somehow, he would approve of their idiocy. Then wait for the rest of MAGA to hail them as a hero.
Yeah, Rodgers followed the Trump playbook all right. Obviously, they got this scam down to a science.
OK, let’s break it down, point by point, starting with the lie.
When asked point blank, “Are you vaccinated?” Rodgers answered . . .
“Yeah . . .”
As in—yes, the opposite of no. Meaning, he’s vaccinated.
Then came a little soft-shoe obfuscation. As he said, “I’ve been immunized.”
Followed by some prevarication as he went on a winding filibuster that included this line . . .
“There are guys on this team who haven’t been vaccinated . . .”
As though he wasn’t one of those guys.
And this line . . .
“It’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys.”
Again, as though he’s not one of those unvaccinated guys.
Got to give you credit, Aaron Rodgers. You’re good. If by good you mean bad—in a sleazy snake oil salesman kind of way.
Man, I haven’t seen such a delicate dance around the truth since Bill Clinton denied he had lied about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky by declaring, “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
Guess the only bipartisan part of Trump and his followers is that they’ve learned a thing or two from Slick Willie.
Why the ducking and dodging? ’Cause Rodgers wanted it all. He made his initial comments back in August, when Kirk Cousins, a self-confessed unvaccinated quarterback, was getting reamed for not doing what he could to protect himself and his teammates.
Obviously, Rodgers wanted to avoid that fate. But he didn’t want the jab. Probably afraid of needles. This whole freaking antivaxxer movement is probably predicated on something as simple as fear of needles.
Anyway, that’s where things stood until last week when came the revelation—Rodgers had COVID!
That sent MAGA into a premature frenzy. One of the more perverse aspects of MAGA is that they love it when a vaccinated celebrity gets COVID because it gives them an opportunity to say: see, told you the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from catching COVID!
Even though, of course, no credible doctor has ever said it was 100 percent effective. No, the standard line—which we’ve all heard so many times we know it by heart—is that the vaccine reduces your chances of getting COVID (as well as the severity of the COVID you might get).
Meaning it also reduces your chances of giving it to others. Which is why doctors were so enthusiastic about the vaccine’s potential to eventually end the pandemic.
But noooo, MAGA had to show they still didn’t believe the pandemic was real. So, they resisted the vaccine. And the virus spread and more people died. In fact, a recent story in the New York Times shows that the COVID death rate is higher in red states than blue ones.
Back to Rodgers, who has now revealed he’s unvaccinated. Caught in a lie, he counterattacked. Just like Trump.
He went before a sycophantic radio host and said he was being picked on by the “woke mob” and “cancel culture.” Surprised he didn’t whine about critical race theory as well.
Finally, Dr. King. As Rodgers put it, “the great MLK said you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules.”
OK, now I have to deal with this desecration of history.
First of all, Rodgers got the quote wrong. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King wrote that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Like the Jim Crow laws that kept Black people from voting.
He wasn’t talking about protocols designed to protect the public from a dangerous disease.
Second of all, Aaron Rodgers, before you dishonor Dr. King by claiming him as your role model, know this . . .
He was killed in 1968. Shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee, where he’d gone to stand in solidarity with striking sanitation workers fighting for a livable wage.
So if you’re going to invoke his name for championing a cause, you might want to champion a cause he’d believe in.
Such as pushing for a new voting rights bill that would undo MAGA’s attempts to keep Black people from voting.
The people who rejoiced in the murder of Dr. King—and there were people who rejoiced in his murder—were MAGA’s political antecedents.
Just like the people carrying on King’s cause are the activists Rodgers scorns as the “woke mob.”
Rodgers is not the first—and probably not the last—MAGA man to use King to justify his cause. Though in the future, I’m hoping MAGA men look to historical figures more in line with their worldview. Maybe Robert E. Lee, or John Wilkes Booth, or George Wallace.
My guess is Rodgers will receive little more than a slap on the wrist for his prevarications. The notion that MAGA gets seriously punished for its beliefs is yet another MAGA myth.
Like the one about doctors saying vaccinations are 100 percent effective.
And the one that says Trump won an election he lost. Which is the justification for making it harder for Black people to vote.
You know, it’s hard enough to make Dr. King’s dream a reality. It’s even harder when you’re up against a mob of haters who play by no rules, make shit up as they go along, and cry like babies when you catch them in their deceit.