Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and
Does everything have to become instantly partisan -- everything?
Forgive my naivete. I just hadn't realized I was undermining American values by rooting for scrappy Team USA as it powered and lucked its way through the Group of Death and into the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Turns out my enthusiasm is a threat to all we stand for.
So says conservative performance artist Ann Coulter: "Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay."
Soccer, she writes, is anti-individual and pro-immigrant. "I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time."
Oh, really? Try telling that to the hordes of Long Island children -- native-born and otherwise -- for whom soccer is now organized sport No. 1, bordering at times on secular religion. Try telling their parents, whose entire weekends are now consumed by soccer schedules and who in some extremes have confronted the two most life-altering words in the American suburban vocabulary: "travel team."
Try telling them.
Coulter isn't the only right-leaning pundit on an anti-soccer tirade. "I'm a little suspicious of yet another bread-and-circus routine," says Fox News medical analyst -- and forensic psychiatrist! -- Keith Ablow. "This is a way to distract people. This is like Rome. I can see why Obama would love the World Cup."
Citing data from the Experian Marketing Services, The Wall Street Journal's Dante Chinni notes the "World Cup's Blue Base." Liberals, he finds, "are more likely to say they've watched the World Cup soccer matches than conservatives."
That, right there, may be the real mistake these soccer-bashers make. Yes, the world gave soccer to America, not the other way around. But in this great nation of immigrants, strengthened for centuries by its diversity, soccer is becoming irreversibly embedded in the national DNA. What could be more American than that?
Plus, as any 8-year-old boy or girl on Long Island will tell you immediately, it's a really fun game, even if it does require Mom and Dad to get up super-early on Saturday morning and drive you everywhere.
USA! USA! USA!
5. Bloviating Slanderer
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THE NEWS IN SONG: One fight, whole world, one night: Pitbull's "We Are One," tinyurl.com/pitfutball
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