Perhaps you’ve found a way to block out all of the chatter these days about politics. I don’t blame you for doing so. Modernity’s mantra seems to be that everything is political. For all of our sakes, let’s hope that’s not true.
A few years before I was born, Aristotle referred to politics as affairs of the state (polity). Specifically, citizens who were involved in deliberative (legislative) and judicial affairs were part of politics. My, have times changed.
Now, even sports have become political. Remember when you’d watch sports as an escape from daily life, or to see athletes push themselves, sometimes even exhibiting grace when doing so? Those days have been replaced with genuflecting to the cause du jour.
Major League Baseball, or MLB, now has reversed its acronym on its baseball diamonds to BLM, to support Black Lives Matter. Regardless of what you think of that organization, it is now part of the playing field, thus part of the sport.
The most important question is this: Is everything political? The funny bumper sticker implies that’s the case. It reads, “Be kind to your children. They’re the ones choosing your retirement home.”
This would be considered “political” in today’s world — acting out of ulterior motives or disregard for the truth. But does that apply to all aspects of life?
If everything is political, then sacrificial love is impossible. Christians believe that Jesus dying for all while they were yet sinners was the ultimate act of sacrificial love. However, we see or read about other examples as well.
A parent who goes without a meal in order to feed a child, or who works overtime to provide for his family is committing an act of sacrificial love. A soldier who jumps on a grenade in order to save his fellow troops is also motivated by sacrificial love.
Imagine how silly the above scenes sound when they’re made to be political. “I’m only working overtime to buy you the bike, John, so that you will pay for my nursing home.” Or this: “Promise that you’ll pay all my family’s expenses and my daughter’s college tuition before I jump on this grenade.”
The oppressed, kneeling multi-millionaires in the National Football League were the first to bring primetime protests to the big stage. Television viewership in the NFL, as well as revenue, took a blow because of it. And the kneeling did not make any racist less of one.
Currently, professional baseball, football and basketball are planning to get even more political this season. Expect television receipts for all three sports to hit record lows. And all of this is happening in an area of our culture — sports — where its fans admire athletes based on their abilities and performance, not their skin color.
The conservative polemicist, Greg Gutfeld, said this about a show which was cancelled by the network A&E: “Cops was cancelled because it showed police in a good light.” When police are shown as professionals, it doesn’t fit the entertainment world’s narrative.
A recent study has shown that A&E lost half its viewership since cancelling that show. Half. That means it will eventually be aired again, after the smoke clears from the buildings the rioters have lit ablaze.
The famous poet, T.S. Eliot, said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” Sports, in part, should be a break from the everyday routine and reality. It should not be the nightly news shoved in your face between pitches of a baseball.
Jeff Ottney was a teacher at Titusville High School and was once the managing editor of Rollercoaster! magazine. While he owes his political views to Aristotle, Edmund Burke and George Will, he believes the most conservatizing experience one can have is becoming a parent. Ottney can be reached at email@example.com.