I remember J.C. Watts as a nimble quarterback, running Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma Sooners’ wishbone offense around the same time I was firing fastballs past opposition hitters. This was 1979 or 1980, and OU played a brand of football that valued the run and a quarterback that ran first and passing was secondary. Much different than today’s throw-happy college and pro games.
Watts would later go on and play in the Canadian Football League after college. What he’s best known for however, is his time as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Oklahoma’s 4th district from 1995 until 2003. A Republican and a conservative, Watts was the only African-American during the mid-1990s who did not join the Congressional Black Caucus.
It’s interesting how important it has become for blacks like Watts to toe some kind of political line and align monolithically with Democrats. They are supposed to be liberals, and favor government giveaways and all manner of shibboleths that have become the equivalent of commandments over the past 50 years.
I caught Watts being interviewed Wednesday morning by Greta Brawner on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program. The topic was Trump and the damage that Il Duce is inflicting on the party that Watts is still a member of.
A former athlete and most recently, a politician, Watts is also an ordained minister. He’s articulate and soft-spoken—qualities that Mr. Trump hasn’t exhibited at all during his scorched earth tour for president.
Watts had previously endorsed Rand Paul for president. He stated that his support for Senator Paul emanated from Watts’ own concern about incarceration reform, sentencing disparities and anti-poverty legislation. Watts himself admitted during the interview that these were issues that “Republicans usually don’t take on,” yet Paul was publicly in favor of and campaigning on. Watts obviously saw someone running that cared for some of the same issues he had worked passionately to support while he served as a congressman.
But alas, the 2016 horse race for president is one for the ages, a statement that probably goes without saying. Also, it’s likely a precursor to even more disturbing types of campaigns in the future, as our empire spirals downward.
I’m never sure what kinds of people watch Washington Journal. I’m guessing, from some of the ignorant calls that are taken by the host each morning that their audience is the same sad and mad (and equally, misinformed) as those watching mainstream media news programs on Fox and MSNBC.
Still, it was discouraging to hear someone as even-mannered and well-spoken as Watts, field criticisms from callers, lumping him in as an “establishment” politician, and paint him as someone who was less than the consistent conservative he’s always been.
Watts articulated that Trump was acting in an “indecent” manner. The candidate not forcefully denouncing David Duke was one of “many things” that concern Watts about Trump’s possibility as president. As an evangelical believer, Watts also finds it troubling that well-known evangelicals like Jerry Falwell Jr. and others have hopped on the Trump bandwagon.
Actually, evangelicals are a lot like blacks when it comes to political expectations. While they might say that they live their lives asking themselves, “what would Jesus do?”, when it comes time to choose, they’re most likely to pull the lever for Republicans.
Watts, in addition to forays in football, politics, and religion, is also an author. He just released a new book, Dig Deep: 7 Truths to Finding the Truth Within. The book touches on taking responsibility and living a life that’s “true,” and “not letting your dysfunctions become your normal.”
Those are lessons that Mr. Trump and many of his followers might want to think about—but likely won’t. It’s always better to be right than true to something bigger than ourselves.