Saturday afternoon, a shocking story shook the nation to its core. Not trivia about North Korean nukes, massive flooding in Puerto Rico, or the collapse of the US healthcare system. This was urgent.
Within minutes, millions across the country interrupted conversations with their kids, set aside their chores, and canceled their Saturday night plans. A battle is afoot and their nation needed them.
Remember when multimillionaire President Trump criticized a multimillionaire football player last night? Well today, a multimillionaire basketball player said he didn’t want to go to the White House no more. So, President Trump said the multimillionaire basketball player wasn’t welcome at the White House in the first place. And then a different multimillionaire basketball player tweeted something mean at President Trump.
Honestly, I’m just happy the Republic hasn’t collapsed.
A few million put on their Red Team uniforms and rushed to their computers. Another few million put on their Blue Team uniforms and grabbed their iPhones. To the barricades, citizens!
Then they wasted a beautiful Saturday afternoon tweeting at each other.
The sobering events that precipitated today’s meme battle are neither important nor interesting. They don’t matter and everyone knows they don’t matter. Just like whatever fight we had yesterday and the day before and the day before that.
“OMG!!! Trump acted like Trump!” the Blue Team shrieks.
“OMG!!! Celebrities are shallow!” the Red Team wails.
And on it goes until someone says a new dumb thing and the St. Vitus hoedown starts all over. Granted, the Troller-in-Chief has accelerated these cycles since Twitter is his favorite medium, but every dumb pro-Obama/anti-Obama statement had a similar, though slower, pattern.
As online friends and followers throw on their jerseys and rush into another keyboard tussle, they demand we join them.
“If you don’t denounce Trump, then you support racism!”
“If you don’t denounce the athlete, then you hate the troops!”
I’m not on the Blue Team. I’m not on the Red Team. I’m on my team.
Occasionally, I’ll exploit the Reds or Blues to advance my aims in, well, making America great again. But I refuse to surrender my individuality to be an extra in someone else’s movie. As the decades of DC failure have shown us time and again, none of these politicians consider themselves to be on my team. I’m just returning the favor.
Republican leaders will like me if I vote for them. Celebrities will like me if I buy tickets. But neither views me as an equal, just a pawn from which they extract money and power. Those days are long gone.
I look at it this way, in sports and in life: When I see the two teams battling on a football field, I’m not going to passively cheer them from the stands. Instead, I’ll head over to the basketball court to see if I can start my own game. And, to be honest, once the hoops scene gets too crowded, I’ll walk down to the baseball field and try starting a game there.
Politicians are just temp employees we hire to do our bidding. If they suck, we fire them. They aren’t gods we bow to or team owners issuing orders. We’re Americans, dammit.
Celebrities are court jesters we pay to amuse us. When they get too mouthy, we kick them out of the dining hall. That’s the beauty of capitalism.
So, if any of our so-called elites want me to join their team, no thanks. I simply have better things to do. Today I saw one of my daughters dominate a cross-country race and my other daughter played me a song on her guitar. I took them out for lunch, listened to a cool podcast, then decided to write for a while.
In other words, I left the football stadium and started my own pick-up game. If the Twitter warriors want to join me, cool. If not, that’s cool as well. I just hope they consider setting down the phone for a while and starting their own thing.