I saw the other day that Donald Trump had lauded his ex campaign chair, Paul Manafort, for being brave, for showing courage, as he soaked up the understanding that a jury said “guilty” on 8 counts against him.
Tax fraud, authorities said the man who’d become accustomed to working behind the scenes magic on Republican political campiagns committed…and Trump said the guy was “brave,” for not as he heard that jurors deemed him guilty on 8 of 18 counts.
Strange adjective the current White House inhabitant used. But we in the US have become accustomed to that from him.
Many of us try and fail, very often, at steering our minds away from the goings on in DC, and the hourly utterings from the ex real estate magnate, by paying attention to the goings on in the sweet science. I tried and failed again as I was reading up on what Ray Beltran said Thursday at a press conference in Glendale, Arizona, ahead of the Saturday Top Rank card, portions of which will run on ESPN.
Beltran holds the WBO 135 pound title, and will be challenged by Puerto Rican Jose Pedraza.
“Now I have the belt and people see me as a champion. But before that, I already felt like a champion. It's good to get recognition from the boxing world, but like I said before, I don't feel different. Things have changed around me, but I'm still the same guy. I'm a contender. I'm the underdog,” the 35-7-1 native of Mexico said.
“Once you get the world title, there are new challenges. You're always looking for the best challenges out there, and now I have a very important fight against a very difficult and tough opponent. In my mind, I don't get overconfident. I get confident, but not overconfident.”
All that makes sense…
And then he spoke more and my mind pinballed between the fight game, and the other stuff that people are taking in and wrestling with in America.
“In 1996, I came to the United States illegally,” the Arizona resident stated. “I did it, not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Thanks to that, I'm making my dream come true. I want to dedicate this fight to all of the immigrants all over the world, especially to my Mexican people. I represent them with so much pride. Just to show the world that we don't come to commit no crime. We come here to get a better future for our family. I represent that. I represent the truth.”
Risky business Beltran is in, and maybe even riskier still is his admitting that he came into the US illegally. Even if you do a good job avoiding real news, you are probably aware that this administration is making it a priority to clamp down on those entering America off the books. Even if they come from horror zones, where lawlessness makes existence an endurance test, no matter. Border patrols have been instructed that there is zero tolerance for off-the- books immigration, and are rebutting attempts by visitors seeking to gain asylum. And, yes, that has meant separating babies from their moms and dads, in a bid to get the word out that the US means business and will not adhere to past practices which factored in basic tenets of civility and an aversion to inhumane methods.
So… on Saturday night, I confess, I will be rooting for Beltran, who is fighting for the betterment of himself, and his family, and in fact others who came to this nation from a place where they felt unsafe, or hopeless or destined for a brutal and premature ending. He may have come here “illegally” but the perseverance he’s shown as a prize fighter, and the character he shows in bravely sharing his history makes him a better man and American than any number of people who seek to fire up their base by throwing them anti-immigrant red-meat feedings, and allowing them to focus their dissatisfaction with life on a convenient scapegoat, or those who approve of the anti-immigrant push.