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The Many Lessons Of Megan Rapinoe

Mercy, was that a moment.

First, Megan Rapinoe was on the receiving end of a three-tweet rant from Donald Trump. He was livid that she had told Sports Illustrated that she would not visit the White House as long as he’s in it.

She flicked that gnat off her shoulder, and then she and her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team went on to win their fourth World Cup title, in France.

Now, she’s back home, and on Tuesday night, she sat for an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “There’s a good chance the president is watching this interview, or will watch this interview,” Cooper said. “What is your message to the president?”

And that’s when 34-year-old Rapinoe gave the 73-year-old president of the United States a good talking-to about how to be presidential.

She turned to look straight into the camera of the president’s most hated network. This is what one does if one hopes to catch the attention of Donald Trump, because, of course, he would see her interview on CNN. Like a tongue on a cold sore, he just can’t stop obsessing over what pains him, which is factual reporting of his presidency.

In a calm and strong voice, Rapinoe laid it out for him:

“I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.

“I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have, and what you’re saying about Make America Great Again. I think that you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people and maybe America is great for a few people right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world, and I think we have a responsibility, each and every one of us, you have an incredible responsibility as, you know, the chief of this country to take care of every single person, and you need to do better for everyone.”

Mercy.

As I write this, Trump has yet to respond to Rapinoe’s message, and we know he wants to. Megan Rapinoe is virtually everything Donald Trump hates in a woman.

She is strong.

She is loud, and outspoken.

She swaggers and swears, and wears her hair in colors dictated by whim, not Vogue.

She is openly gay — and a tireless champion for LGBTQ rights and civil rights. She has kneeled during the playing of the national anthem in solidarity with black Americans and refused to sing the song at the World Cup. She knows that patriotism is not obedience, but rather an opportunity to help our country live up to its promises.

She leads crowds in chants for pay equity. She’s comfortable in her own skin, too. At Wednesday’s World Cup celebration in New York City, she threw her arms open wide and asked that all of us to “be better,” not hashtag #BeBest.

“Love more and hate less,” she said after the city’s ticker tape parade.

“Listen more and talk less,” she said.

“It’s our responsibility,” she said, “to make the world a better place.”

You see why he hates her.

Which brings us to one more reason why Rapinoe is inspiring. Her every public moment is a tutorial for girls and women on how to handle guys who try to shame or bully us. This happens only with our consent, and on that, Megan Rapinoe’s message is clear:

Permission denied.

Swear if you want to.

 

On CNN, Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe Defends American Values Against Trump

Megan Rapinoe, star of the World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday that she refuses to lend credibility to the Trump administration by accepting an invitation to the White House.

In the interview, Rapinoe rejected the division Trump sows while embracing a vision of America that welcomes people from all walks of life.

Asked by Cooper what message she had for Trump, Rapinoe replied: “I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.”

Rapinoe, described by Deadspin as a “purple-haired lesbian goddess” after she helped lead the U.S. team to a 2-1 victory over France in the World Cup quarterfinals, seemed to be referencing the Trump administration’s numerous attacks on the LGBTQ community.

“I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about ‘make America great again,'” Rapinoe continued in her message to Trump. “I think that you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people, and maybe America is great for a few people now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world.”

“I think we have a responsibility, each and every one of us — you have an incredible responsibility as the chief of this country — to take care of every single person,” Rapinoe added. “And you need to do better for everyone.”

Later, Rapinoe called on all Americans to reflect on how to build that more perfect union. “We need to constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better, so everyone else can be better around us,” she said.

Rapinoe made headlines in the midst of the World Cup when a video of her preemptively rejecting an invitation to the White House was released.

“I’m not going to the fucking White House,” Rapinoe said in the video. Rapinoe subsequently apologized for the use of the f-word, but told Cooper that she “meant it with all the inflection and attitude I gave with it. I meant all of it and every word of it.”

In the middle of the World Cup, Trump attacked Rapinoe, saying, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Trump also questioned Rapinoe’s patriotism: “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear.”

After Trump’s attack, Rapinoe’s teammate, Ali Krieger, shot back at him: “I know women who you cannot control or grope anger you, but I stand by @mPinoe [Rapinoe] and will sit this one out as well. I don’t support this administration nor their fight against LGBTQ+ citizens, immigrants & our most vulnerable.”

After Trump’s attacks, Rapinoe went on to score both goals in her team’s 2-1 victory over France, and one of the team’s two goals in the World Cup final.

When asked by Cooper about the possibility of visiting the White House, Rapinoe once again rejected the notion.

“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform we’ve worked hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life, I don’t think we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration,” Rapinoe told Cooper.

“There’s so many other people that I would rather talk to and have meaningful conversations that could really affect change in Washington than going to the White House,” she added.

Rapinoe said she will accept the invitations issued by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Congress. But she won’t step foot in the White House while Trump is there.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

Our Lesbian Soccer Players Make Us Proud

Five members of the U.S. women’s soccer team — plus its coach — have publicly come out as lesbians. The fabulous Megan Rapinoe is the most out there. With her chiseled features and chiseled short haircut, she could pass for the Greek god Mercury. (She needs a helmet with wings.)

Americans can be proud on two accounts. One is the team’s stunning performance in the World Cup. The other is that our lesbian soccer players feel free to totally own their sexual identity, and most Americans are totally cool with it.

France is a generally enlightened country, but it can be quite tough on its gay athletes. Marinette Pichon is the only member of the French team to publicly identify as gay. Other French players are afraid to. A few years ago, the French soccer federation marketed the female team through images of high heels, glitter, and the color pink. Can you imagine?

Sports have long served as a safe refuge for lesbians. It’s an activity that rewards aggression and requires muscles.

There remains plenty of bias against homosexuals in America, but compared with most other countries, this is the land of gay freedom. So secure are lesbians in U.S. soccer that Rapinoe can humorously proclaim, “Go gays!”

She goes on: “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before. That’s science right there.”

Asked whether she would attend a reception with Donald Trump at the White House, Rapinoe responded, “I’m not going to the f—-ing White House.” She later apologized for using the expletive, not for refusing a would-be invitation. That was a class move. Besides, she has sponsors to consider.

But note that even Donald Trump refrained from smearing Rapinoe over her sexual identity when he hit back. The women players were too beloved, too photogenic.

“Teams love coming to the White House,” Trump tweeted. “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” He left it at that. (And they did.)

Of course, even a partly negative tweet by Trump can unleash vile attacks via social media. Rapinoe’s girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird, said that Rapinoe was “unfazed” by the nastiness.

Same-sex relationships have become so commonplace in American life that the media interview lesbian mates as they would hetero spouses. There was that unforgettable picture of the U.S. team’s Abby Wambach kissing her wife after winning the 2015 World Cup Championship. We forget how shocking these images are to many in even developed countries.

Rapinoe ruffled more feathers when she refused to sing The Star-Spangled Banner along with her teammates before the World Cup games. She said she was protesting racial injustice back home. I would have preferred that she just sing along and then play the game.

Rapinoe’s teammates and coach, Jill Ellis, backed her in the tiff with Trump. Their solidarity is touching, and the world didn’t come to an end. But somehow Americans seem to be the only people to wave dirty laundry at international sporting events. Many of the other countries are less perfect than we are.

This national anthem singing before sports events — especially international events — is designed to showcase love of country. American hearts have tied the U.S. Women’s World Cup team’s stellar performance to the patriotic celebrations of Independence Day. Why muddy it?

But let’s not end on a sour note. Rapinoe and her team are model Americans for their intelligence, talent, solidarity and generosity toward their competitors. That Americans of diverse backgrounds herald these outspoken lesbians is a tribute to our country.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

Danziger: Ladies’ Liberty

Midfield scoring star Megan Rapinoe says she and most teammates won’t go to the White House if the US women win the World Cup. Because, well, Trump.