'Diversity' is a strength when defined widely

Random thoughts at the end of vacation (not summer) season, with mid-term elections less than 60 days away:

– It’s not official but might as well be: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is running for president.

Over Labor Day weekend (good timing, with hardly anybody paying attention) she had her hometown paper, the Boston Globe, which regularly serves as her public relations arm, run a long, long story declaring, after “exhaustive” research, that her career never benefited from her still unsubstantiated claim of Native American heritage.

Yeah, that’s real “transparency,” feeding a story to a friendly news outlet after six years of stonewalling.

But the obvious idea is to get this “potential liability” off the table, so her campaign can say that to question why she made the claim in the first place – not just to friends and family but also officially, in listing her status at Harvard Law School – will be as bad as questioning President Obama’s birthplace.

It will be called sexist, racist, bigoted, hateful and … you know the list. You’ll be hearing it for the next two years.

Of course Warren didn’t say, and apparently wasn’t asked, why she still hasn’t done the research to say conclusively whether her claim of that heritage is correct or not.

Even though all sorts of companies will analyze your DNA to confirm your ethnic heritage, she still retreats to talking about what “Daddy” and her aunts told her.

Also interesting is that the story never said she made the claim “without evidence,” which is the stock phrase for any questionable claims President Trump makes.

But she’s running. All along, she’s never said she “won’t” run for president. It’s always “I’m not running,” as in, right now, at this moment.

Which is what people always say when they’re going to run but haven’t officially announced yet.

Now all she has to do is get past Kamela Harris, Joe Biden, Deval Patrick, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Corey Booker, John Kerry and a horde of other Dems who know winning the nomination will pretty much guarantee being the next president.

– It was just a few lines in a story about Democratic congressional candidates but it was revealing. It was about how most of them are deliberately avoiding talking about impeaching President Trump if they win back majorities in Congress, which appears highly likely.

Why? Not because they don’t want to impeach Trump – they would fervently like to do so – but because they think talking about it during the campaign “might boost Republican voter turnout.”

Which makes perfect sense strategically, but isn’t this the party that falls on the fainting couch at the slightest hint of anything Republicans do that they can spin as depressing voter turnout?

Sure, it’s not imposing a legal “barrier” like an ID at the polls – a “barrier” that’s required to buy booze or cigarettes; fly on an airplane; rent a car; collect food stamps, welfare or Social Security; rent or buy a house; and many other things.

But it is still an acknowledged effort to depress turnout from the party that claims it wants everybody to vote.

So, hey, be honest. The slogan should be: “We don’t want you to vote if you’re not going to vote for us.”

– Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is back in the news after Nike announced it was renewing his contract and making him one of the faces of its ongoing “Just do it” advertising campaigns.

The ad is a close-up image of his face, with the text reading, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Which is a noble-sounding phrase. And I won’t be burning any of the few, random items of Nike sporting gear or clothes I may have, just because he decided a couple of years ago to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, saying he could not do so for a country that oppresses people of color.

I think there are better, more effective and less divisive ways to confront and work on resolving that problem – it has made him both reviled and beloved (and much more famous than for anything he did on the field).

But I respect and support his right to protest in the way he wants.

All that said, the reality is that Nike believes in something, and that something is money. Don’t think for a minute that this would have happened if their marketing people thought it wouldn’t enhance the brand.

Indeed, while there are a few on the fringe doing some boycotting and burning, overall Nike is (as its executives knew they would) getting adoring press coverage and visibility worth vastly more than anything they are paying Kaepernick.

Indeed, it’s hilarious to hear some “progressives” talk about Nike setting a moral example. Aren’t they the ones who are always talking about how corporations aren’t people? And isn’t a multi-billion-dollar company evil simply because of the amount of money it has and because its leaders make much more than its lower-level workers?

– The Senate Judiciary Committee “hearings” on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court are not really hearings. They are campaign events. At least a half-dozen Democratic members are auditioning for president.

It is also a demonstration that the judiciary, as designed, is lost. Both parties want justices who will follow an agenda, not the Constitution.

Which makes the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia both poignant and prophetic: “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to 'do what the people want,' instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically."

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net