Diana West thinks that Super Bowl XLI may well have marked a tipping point in the decline of American civilization. She’s referring to the NFL’s refusal to run a recruiting ad by the U.S. Border Patrol on the grounds that it was “controversial.” The Border Patrol ad listed as one of the duties of the Patrol’s agents “prevent[ing] the entry of terrorists and their weapons into the United States.” An NFL spokeman said that because the ad “mentioned terrorism” the league was “not comfortable with [it].” He added that “the borders, the immigration debate is a very controversial issue, and we were sensitive to any perception we were injecting ourselves into that.”
But, as Diana points out, the ad would not have injected the NFL into the immigration debate as we know it — fences, guest worker programs, amnesty and/or paths to citizenship, or employer sanctions. The proposition that terrorists may attempt to enter the country through our borders is not in serious controversy, nor could it be.
So it’s not a good sign that the NFL was too timid to permit a law enforcement agency that performs a vital function to advertise at the Super Bowl. But is it a seminal event in our decline? Diana thinks so because “the NFL has revealed something new about the state of the border in the popular imagination,” namely that “the border itself [is] controversial.”
Clearly, if our border is controversial, then so is our sovereignty. But corporate America is not real America, and I would hesitate before concluding that the NFL’s convoluted outlook reflects the popular imagination.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill