Some may be thinking a video released by Now This News may help narrow that gap even further.
The video, which has gone viral, according to The Washington Post and others, shows O'Rourke speaking to voters. One man, clearly not supportive of the silent protests by NFL players of police killings of Black people, asks O'Rourke for his opinion.
After thanking the service members in the room and in Afghanistan, O'Rourke lays out his reasoning of why he supports the players and their protests.
"I don’t think it’s disrespectful," the Texas Democrat, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, responds.
Wary it's a sensitive issue, especially in a red state like Texas, O'Rourke offers that "reasonable people can disagree on this issue," which "makes them no less American to come down on a different conclusion."
"You’re every bit as American all the same," he says, passionately and reassuringly.
O'Rourke shifts, comparing the players to "Dr. King and this nonviolent, peaceful movement to secure better—because they didn’t get full—civil rights for their fellow Americans."
And from there it's magic.
‘I can think of nothing more American.’ — Beto O'Rourke — the man taking on Ted Cruz — brilliantly explains why NFL players kneeling during the anthem is not disrespectful pic.twitter.com/xUGOuCFCSi
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 22, 2018
O'Rourke revists the African-American Civil Rights Movement, as he talks about "the challenges that they face—those who died in Philadelphia, Mississippi, for the crime of trying to be a man, trying to be a woman, in this country, the young girls who died in the church bombing, those who were beaten within an inch of their life crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with John Lewis, those who were punched in the face, spat upon, dragged out by their collar at the Woolworth lunch counter for sitting with white people at that same lunch counter, in the same country where their fathers may have bled the same blood on the battlefields of Omaha Beach or Okinawa or anywhere that anyone ever served this country."
"The freedoms that we have were purchased not just by those in uniform, and they definitely were. But also by those who took their lives into their hands riding those Greyhound buses, the Freedom Riders in the deep South in the 1960s who knew full well that they would be arrested, and they were, serving time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary."
Perhaps this final part of his answer is what's so convincing and compelling.
"Rosa Parks getting from the back of the bus to to the front of the bus. Peaceful, nonviolent protests, including taking a knee at a football game to point out that Black men, unarmed; Black teenagers, unarmed; and Black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice. And this problem—as grave as it is—is not gonna fix itself, and they’re frustrated, frankly, with people like me and those in positions of public trust and power who have been unable to resolve this or bring justice for what has been done and to stop it from continuing to happen in this country. And so nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem and ensure that we fix it. That is why they’re doing it, and I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, anyplace."
O'Rourke's answer has some – including Republican strategist Steve Schmidt – comparing him to Robert F. Kennedy.
Take a minute to watch a Political Leader with conviction and integrity address a divisive issue. A rare example of persuasion in this era of incitement. Texas can do a lot better than the conniving and opportunistic Ted Cruz. Anybody else see a little bit of RFK in Beto? https://t.co/pJlk7svM6k
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) August 22, 2018
Transcript via Texas Monthly
Image via Facebook
See a mistake? Email corrections to: [email protected]