The first thing about politics that everyone should know: Most people don’t care.
It is physically impossible for people to care about the mayor’s race in Minneapolis: They probably could not tell you who Cam Gordon is if their lives depended on it. (For those of you who don’t know, the end of this rant has the spoilers.)
Only a number amount of people even care about national politics. In 2016, we hit a 20-year low for voter turnout nationally. Only 55 percent of people voted. According to my Facebook feed, Hitler ran against a Cyborg, and we could barely get half of Americans to vote to stop one of them from becoming president.
Long story short, people do not care about politics. They do care about TV shows and football, though. I guarantee if we held a survey asking who Jon Snow is, even people who don’t watch Game of Thrones could tell you he’s the hot guy from Game of Thrones. Conversely, if the next survey question asked who Chris Coleman is, there might be some blank stares. (And who is he? Again, spoilers at the end of the rant).
I don’t think many people would argue with that statement; yet, when I tried to watch NFL Sunday night football recently whilst drinking my Busch Lite, football discourse did not make the cut. Instead, the television focused on Donald Trump and a herd of athletes who were not going to stand for the National Anthem.
The same thing happened when the Emmys could not seem to talk about anything besides The Donald. Their ratings hit all-time lows. Wondering why? Well, we used to be able to watch our favorite shows win awards and without receiving lectures about being a racist. It was a bit more fun that way.
We have few institutions left in America where we are not in a constant lecture about how we aren’t good enough. Football used to be one of them. Now, I watch a football game, and I have to hear about how all cops are killers, the President hates black people, and everyone who disagrees in the slightest is a fascist who does not agree with free speech.
Is it too much to want simply to watch 300-pound men beat the crap out of each other without having to pick a political battle?
Seinfeld pegged itself as the show about nothing. That could never happen today. How could we possibly watch a show that didn’t remind everyone about how hard it is to be a woman? Or black? Or poor?
Not everything needs to have a message. I remember when Saturday Night Live did comedy instead of crying in a circle when their candidate lost an election. Hollywood and ESPN have joined CNN, FOX, and MSNBC in ruining our lives by making everything non-political about politics.
When our entertainment becomes political, we are only going to want the most entertaining result. You never watch an episode of House of Cards and hope that Frank Underwood reaches across the aisle to pass a comprehensive health care reform: You hope he gets his opposition pushed in front of a train.
Unfortunately, America is heading toward wanting our politics to be our entertainment. We allow policy debates to bleed into our movies, television series, and now our football games. We allow people who specialize in chasing a piece of leather criticize our criminal justice system in a post-game interview, and we let millionaire actresses tell us about how the wage gap is ruining their lives.
All of the above leads to the NFL and the Emmys having their worst ratings ever because people do not care about politics. They do not want to think about cops shooting people or dead soldiers being disrespected while trying to unwind after a long day of work or other responsibilities.
They just want to watch football be left the hell alone.
(Spoilers: Cam Gordon is Minneapolis Ward 2 Councilman. If you go to the University of Minnesota, he is probably your representative. If there is something banned in Minneapolis that you can get everywhere else in the world, he probably banned it. Chris Coleman is the Mayor of St. Paul who ruined free parking. He is also a frontrunner for the DFL governors race. Congratulations; you’re now enlightened. Not that you care.)