First, lather: President Trump, with his customary bluster, barks out something that 60% or 70% of Americans agree with.
Then rinse: The left-wing media complex howls in unison, claiming the president is a racist or an Islamophobe or whatever.
And, finally: Repeat … and repeat … and repeat …
It has been pointed out elsewhere that Donald Trump is kind of like the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov rang his bell and dogs salivated; Trump's voice rings out and leftists everywhere froth at the mouth.
We don't need to rehash all that has happened since last Friday, when President Trump denounced NFL players who take a knee or sit during the National Anthem. Most Americans most certainly agree, but the cable newsers and Sunday talk shows quickly invited guests who could not wait to call the president a bigot.
They even attacked the song itself. On Meet the Press, a guest named Stephen Henderson criticized the National Anthem with today's go-to term, calling it "white supremacist." As you may have noticed, these days everyone and everything is "white supremacist."
The most vicious attacks came from NFL players and other athletes, many of whom called the president names that can't be repeated here. Some jocks also expressed their unwavering support for Colin Kaepernick, the washed-up quarterback who started all of this.
It's worth remembering that Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem last season, during the Obama administration. But that's not all he did. Kaepernick also wore socks that depicted police officers as pigs. Let that sink in for a moment. Many NFL players are supporting a man who disrespected not only our flag, but cops across the land.
Among the first players to sit out the Anthem was linebacker Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, who wrote this: "I love football like any other American. But I don't love segregation, I don't love riots, I don't love oppression. I don't love gender slander."
The amount of money made by Bennett ($16-million this year) or any other player is often brought up, but it is totally irrelevant to this debate. Whether you make $16,000,000 a year or $16,000, you either think America is a racist hellhole or a noble nation whose flag is worth at least respecting.
One has to wonder whether Michael Bennett, who apparently views this country as a pretty appalling place, is living in the same nation as, say, Burgess Owens. He's a black man and an author who played ten seasons in the NFL. Owens doesn't blame President Trump for the ills affecting blacks in America, but rather puts the onus squarely on liberalism, which he says has destroyed the black family.
"When I stood on the sideline," he said on Fox News this week, "I remember getting teary-eyed at points because I was so excited about being there." He continued, "We have come to the point because of liberalism, because of what Democratic policies do, where 70% of black men do not stay around."
Another black man, the conservative economist Walter Williams, also wrote a truism this week: "Only 8% of black married-couple families live in poverty. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37%."
It's unfortunate that President Trump, with his bombast last week, turned this into a debate about himself and his decorum. How much better would it be if we were discussing the state of the black family and how to make it more solid? Or how to improve education for blacks in the USA.
The protests will continue, even if many of the players don't even know what in the world they are protesting against. But they should know that taking a knee will not give one more black child a loving father, nor will it get that child a top-notch education.
Similarly, members of Congress can showboat by taking a knee on the floor of the House, or by demanding President Trump's impeachment. But they ignore the real problems that began to worsen around the time Donald Trump was in grade school.
The kneeling players, the preening members of Congress, and the left-wing pundits are all busy congratulating themselves for their "courage." But true courage would mean examining the facts and speaking the truth.
It's easier, much easier, to take a knee and tell yourself you are making a difference. You are not.