OPINION | Barry Richard: More Trump Teachable Moments
President Donald Trump, never afraid to use social media to spark discussion about an issue important to him did just that this weekend by responding to a father who claimed his son's shoplifting arrest in China was no big deal.
Last week Trump was able to convince the Chinese to release three UCLA basketball players who thought that clipping sunglasses while visiting China would be fun and easy to get away with. Wrong! See, the Chinese take these things really seriously and under Chinese law the three stooges could have spend 5-10 years in prison. Shoplifting is a big deal to the Chinese, especially when you are American hotshots participating in a basketball tournament there.
LaVar Ball, father of player LiAngelo Ball, not fully understanding the severity of the situation or the length to which the U.S. government went to save his son's sorry ass, seemed pretty ungrateful when appearing on ESPN;
"Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."
Trump wasted little time once the three amigos were on U.S. soil in reminding them that they should express appreciation for their nation's efforts to win their release. They responded by holding a quickly arranged news conference during which they did thank the U.S. government and Trump for their freedom. But, dad fekt it was all much ado about nothing. Teachable moment one: Show appreciation when you get in trouble over seas and your country bails you out. Trump tweeted;
"Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail."
Americans who find themselves in trouble in foreign countries don't always get off so easily. Perhaps Mr. Ball has never seen the film Midnight Express?
Rather than be grateful for his son's swift freedom Mr. Ball chose to shoot off his big mouth and be anything but grateful. Teachable moment two: This allowed Trump to shine a light on the acceptance of anti-social behavior here at home such as shoplifting;
"Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful."
The truth is, Beijing or Boston, shoplifting is a big deal. Behaving yourself while you are an invited guest on foreign soil is also a big deal. Too bad LiAngelo's father and too many other parents are too preoccupied or just too stupid to teach their kids about how to behave and be good citizens. It's this whole entitlement things, you see something you want just take it and if you get caught, daddy has you covered.
Thanks, President Trump for reminding us about the basic tenants of making America great again.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.