And then there's O & Rourke. In early August, he was asked at a forum after the protests. For white men in O'Rourke's position, there is usually not much upside potential to penetrate complicated racial issues, let alone take a firm stand.
But instead of eluding the question, he attacked them head-on and formed them as a bold protest against police shootings: "Nonviolent, peaceful, while the eyes Watching these games, they take a knee to grab our attention and focus on this issue to make sure we fix it, so they do, and I can not imagine anything more American than getting up peacefully somewhere or get your knees down for your rights. "
Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, rushed quickly and re-tackled O Rourke's comments an attack message. But then something interesting happened. Instead of destroying himself, O Rourke's campaign began to develop steam. He gained a national profile and has reached record levels of $ 38 million in the last three months. He could not win his race against Cruz, but his willingness to say what other Democratic politicians have not done has made him a hero of a movement that is still looking for champions ̵
What started in the Marriott Hall in Houston in August was a bit auspicious. When O Rourke was asked about the players' protests, it was pretty clear how the questioner wanted him to respond:
I'm from a veteran family in person. You mentioned the football season earlier. I kind of wanted to know how you personally felt how disrespectful it is for NFL players to kneel during the national anthem. I wanted to know if you found this disrespectful to our country, our veterans, and anyone connected with it. I find it incredibly frustrating that people agree. I just want to hear your input.
"I was prepared to answer questions about the teachers' pension system in Texas, about teacher salaries, about high stakes / high pressure tests, and this question is about the national anthem and what my position is on it," said O & # 39; Rourke me. "I did not expect it, I just did the best I could and it can be a very difficult topic to talk about."
Over the next four minutes, O Rourke provided a passionate argument for the reasons for the NFL players who wanted to protest during the national anthem honored America very much . He cited Representative John Lewis and the many African Americans who died in search of civil rights as models of genuine patriotism. O & Rourke told his audience that the protests of the players were not about ignoring the flag, but that they were an expression of the growing frustration over the lack of police responsibility that killed unarmed blacks.