No, the President is not our Coach

Fox News host Laura Ingraham certainly caused a firestorm with her recent comments regarding NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant. In case you haven’t heard, both James and Durant made disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump while being “interviewed” in the back of an SUV. Ingraham then responded to these comments on her show by telling both players to (among other things) “shut up and dribble.” As expected, a massive fallout has ensued.

But what perhaps is even more interesting is a part of the initial commentary on the part of both parties that many have missed when discussing the points that were made. While discussing the president, Durant stated that “I feel our team as a country is not run by a great coach.” This resulted in Ingraham saying, “LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach.”

So is the label that both Ingraham and Durant (and by association, James) give to the president an accurate one? Is the President of the United States really the “coach” of the people? In virtually every aspect that one could assign the title of coach, the president does not fit this description. The president (any president) is most emphatically not our coach and both of these NBA Stars along with Ingraham are incorrect for labeling him this way.

In any sport, a coach is someone who advises, critiques, inspires and instructs you. The president doesn’t do any of these things unless you work directly for him. A coach is someone you know personally who has a vested interest in how you perform your job. James and Durant do not know the president personally and appear to have no desire to ever meet him. In our own lives very few of us will ever even meet a sitting president, much less have a personal relationship with him.

All of this runs counter to the myth that most of us have repeatedly heard that the president “runs the country.” In reality, private individuals run the country rather than the president. Small business owners, CEO’s, bosses and heads of households are the ones who really run our everyday institutions. It’s not even correct that the president runs the government. He’s in charge of the executive branch of the federal government. That’s significantly more specific.

Possibly without knowing it, James and Durant have made an excellent case for a more limited presidential power. After all, if a bad president (as they both certainly believe Trump is) can seize the kind of control they fear he can, then the more limitations that president will need placed on him. A beneficial lesson can be learned from all of this. If a president that you vote for and admire assumes more power, then that same power can be wielded by an undesirable president in the future. This is something to keep in mind when any politician amasses more authority.

In light of all this, we should be thankful that the president does not act like our coach, boss, pastor, parent or any other authority figure in our personal lives. If he did, it would be a clear violation of the constitutional limitations that are supposed to restrain him. So when we vote for a president, we aren’t voting for a coach. The person we vote for has a much more limited role in our lives than that. This is a very good thing.

Lebron James and the Safety Pin Opportunity

With Sports Illustrated selecting NBA superstar Lebron James as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, an opportunity was seized by the reigning finals MVP to make a social/political statement in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election. For the picture taken for the award, James wore a safety pin on the lapel of his jacket.  Wearing a safety pin has become a symbol of solidarity for people who feel disenfranchised by the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency. Those who wear one show that they not only oppose Trump’s entry into the White House, but also that that the wearer of the pin is a “safe” (hence the safety pin) person to be around in an America soon to be led by Trump.

To act like a president who hasn’t even taken office yet is already disenfranchising you seems like a bit of a stretch. But James isn’t the only athlete, or former athlete, who is acting like the not-yet-inaugurated Trump is already having a negative effect of American life. After racist graffiti and the word “Trump” was found at the home of New York Giant fullback Nikita Whitlock, teammate Victor Cruz was quoted as saying, “I think it’s definitely a direct reflection of how this country is being run…the things that are being said by the people at [the] helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives.” Of course, Barack Obama is still running things until January 20th. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an article two days after the election titled What it Means to be Black During a Trump Administration. Apparently he doesn’t want to actually experience an America under Trump before assuming what it will be like.

So one might ask that if Lebron James is a safe person to be around during the all-encompassing awfulness that a Trump Presidency will bring, what kind of actions could we expect from him in order to aid those who feel they have become so threatened by this? Would he give the person a hug? Would he give them a pep talk like the ones he gives to his team before they take the court? Would he give them some of his money (he has a lot)? Would he section off a part of one of his houses as a “safe space” since young millennials who are upset have shown a desire for those?

This phenomenon of wearing a safety pin to convey a political message presents a unique economic opportunity. Since the demand for safety pins has now increased, perhaps it would be a good time to invest in companies which produce and sell them. The Singer Sewing Company has their safety pins sold at Walmart, Target and CVS. The craft store chain Michaels has reported difficulty in keeping safety pins in stock since Trump’s victory.

Safety pin sales haven’t been the only product that has seen a jump in sales as a result of a presidential election. Often when a Democrat is elected president, there is a major uptick in the sale of firearms. But left-wingers might have some reservations about investing in an industry which manufactures something that so many of them dislike so much. In contrast, conservatives should have no problem benefiting as a result of increases in safety pin production since they are not a part of an industry opposed by right-of-center individuals.

The safety pin demonstration is most likely a fad that will dissipate over time. Perhaps it will be after Trump officially takes office and people realize that the conditions of the people he supposedly has it in for act with relative independence of who the president happens to be. But until inauguration day, the flames of fear will likely be stoked to the point that safety pin sales will continue to surge. That’s when investors may be wise to make their move.