Please end the #strong movement

I want to speak on behalf of three cities — San Bernardino, Calif.; Las Vegas and Orlando. It’s a tad presumptuous to claim to represent so many people, but having lived in all three I have a good idea of what links them.

We are not #strong. We are not #VegasStrong. We are not #OrlandoStrong. We are definitely not the extremely clunky and hard for most to spell correctly #SanBernardinoStrong.

Hear me out. This is not meant to be rant against any political party or candidate.

We didn’t join the military en masse as many millennials did after 9/11 — keep that in mind the next time we want to rip that generation. We didn’t even feel compelled to do a few extra reps at the gym.

We are not #strong because after all this time, nobody has a firm grasp on what it means to be #strong.

Take San Bernardino. When I grew up in that city, it was a proud blue-collar area. It wasn’t idyllic as Christopher Robin frolicking with Pooh Bear in the Hundred Acre Wood, but it did instill worthwhile values. I look back at that time fondly because San Bernardino did play a role in the man I became. It was diverse and a little hardscrabble. You had to respect people of all walks of life. You had to earn your keep.

I hardly recognize San Bernardino today. Industry and its Air Force base closed up. One of its malls died. Heck, you have to search for any retail in the city above a liquor store. Since then, both city and county governments have faced major ethical scandals. The city itself declared bankruptcy due to horrific mismanagement.

So a couple of Muslim terrorists open fire on a holiday party and I’m supposed to accept #SanBernardinoStrong? I can’t. Why should I? What makes a corrupt city in ruins #strong?

Orlando and Las Vegas are financially better off and relatively stable places to be, but what makes them #strong? All the marquees and billboards in the cities proclaimed their #strength after another Muslim nutjob shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and believe me, you don’t have to convince me that lazy-eyed hillbilly was nuttier than a fruitcake when he opened fire from Mandalay Bay.

Being #strong isn’t limited to gun attacks, either. Boston was #strong after a bombing. Houston is said to be #strong after a flood. But what does that hashtag accomplish, exactly?

Now, people have gone to social media and asked us to #PrayFor these cities. I can respect that. I think it’s a precious gift for someone to pray for you or me, even if you don’t believe in a deity.

But did you ever notice that after 9/11, New Yorkers were not #NYCStrong? No. We stood with New York City. We were united with New York.

What I would suggest is that instead of false claims of strength, we consider telling people we are #OrlandoUnited or #VegasUnited.

Consider Orlando. I worked about two blocks from the Pulse, an LGBTQ club. You should have seen the city unite behind that community following the attacks. You hate Trump supporters? They were there to help, donating blood and money. Same for the Muslim community, I might add. I was there. I saw it. You now see the rainbow flag fly over much of that city, at Orlando City Soccer Club games, etc.

What if Houston united to make Texas safer from natural disasters?

Maybe in Las Vegas, we unite behind first responders. I doubt we join this anti-second amendment push I saw on social media, but perhaps we unite behind banning bump stocks. I don’t know yet, but what I hope for is that we unite for something bigger than ourselves.

Ironically, that would be a real demonstration of #strength.

PS — I have no idea if San Bernardino would ever unite for anything, so there’s that.

Raider World — London makes sense

The story broke late last night. Two likely investors in a major stadium planned for Las Vegas retreated because they weren’t sure the Raiders were a good fit. Without going into too much detail, the first guy owns the Sands hotel. He was allegedly miffed at team owner Mark Davis, possibly because of a lowball lease offer of $1 per year.

The second investor, Goldman Sachs, presumably got weary of being demonized in the press during an election year and chose to take a refreshing nap on its mountain of cash.

Now I don’t want to overreact, because these could all be negotiating ploys, but let’s assume for the moment that the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t going to happen. Because the usual suspects are lining up to court the Silver and Black. 

Most of these suitors are comically ill-prepared. For instance, a columnist in San Diego thinks the Raiders should occupy the same roach motel the Chargers abandoned last month. Hey fathead, if you’re going to appeal to an NFL team, an excellent first step is not to insult the owner in the first paragraph, especially when you look like an assistant manager at a Circle K. And judging the way print news is going, you might want to dust off the resume because the graveyard shift is calling. Now get a mop and clean up the mess in front of the Icee machine.

For that matter, you might want to scratch off Oakland. It’s not impossible, but I was a season ticket holder up there. I completely understand why the Raiders want new digs and building new arenas in California is damn near impossible.

This leaves a handful of places left across the country. Portland is intriguing, but has never been home to anything bigger than the NBA. San Antonio has a stadium, Texas loves football and Dallas owner Jerry Jones was a longtime friend of the late Al Davis. Houston might not be OK with that, though.

I liked St. Louis, but let’s be real: That city lost two NFL franchises.

Now that I live in Florida, I often think the NFL is curious about Orlando. Problem is, I’m literally two hours by car from the Jaguars and Buccaneers. Both teams aren’t that popular. I can’t see Jacksonville and Tampa letting go of central Florida.

It’s when I started thinking about Oklahoma City when the obvious solution hit me.

London has 8.7 million people, which would make it the league’s largest city (New York is at 8.4 million). There’s a stadium there already put to use by the NFL. The league has worked tirelessly to accommodate teams to play there. Local politicians want the NFL. There are now what, four games in London every year? That’s half a regular season as it is.

In those games, the league often schedules two horrible teams to play. Wembley Stadium is still filled to the brim.

And frankly, it’s significantly safer and less smoggier than another international option: Mexico City.

This is not a prediction as much as it is an argument for a better option. Simply put, there is too much money on the table for the Raiders not to consider moving there. It makes more fiscal sense to expand Raider Nation to Raider World than it would to move from one horrible stadium to another.