The divisive political infestation of sports and entertainment prompts a collective gag reflex, as the glitterati whine about a country that made them famous and rich. Politics on the field and stage just doesn’t feel right.
Sunday night’s Emmy awards was politicized from start to finish, serving as a platform for attacks against President Donald Trump. The show nearly tied its lowest Nielsen ratings, achieved this time last year.
The star-studded audience contained 1-percenters who reneged on promises to leave the country if Hillary Clinton lost the election.
So turn to football. There, a few high-profile 1-percenters are known for disrespecting the symbol of a country that has made them among the most fortunate humans in the world. Just as viewers shunned the Emmys, they have turned away from the NFL in numbers that worry league management.
Before the Denver Broncos played the Los Angeles Chargers last week on Monday night, fans wondered if any player would be so narcissistic, so politically crass, as to kneel for the flag on the anniversary of Sept. 11. After a spectacular opening with no flag protests, viewers expressed relief on social media. At least for that night, football was a game again without political drama. Ratings showed promise after Sunday’s match between the Broncos and Cowboys.
Americans have long been at peace with the income inequality displayed by celebrities who earn millions for playing 16 games each year or acting in a movie. They just don’t get the cynical, whiny, political antics of people with such good fortune.
A significant chunk of fans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and are not too put upon to salute the flag. Few would threaten to flee their country in protest of a lawful election, despite lives of challenges comfortable celebrities cannot fathom.
The politicization of American life rips at the fabric of a society built on the limitation of political power.
To understand the root of excessive and growing political strife, listen to Colorado author Thomas Krannawitter. He’s a former Salvatori Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who taught political science at Hillsdale College and Colorado Christian University.
Krannawitter warns of a country guided more by government than the governed.
“Americans are noticing that everything is becoming politicized: education, religion, news, business, sports, movies, music and virtually every aspect of popular culture and the entertainment industry,” Krannawitter wrote on Facebook last week. “Here’s why:
“When government becomes the Provider of all things, the Regulator of all things, the Ultimate Judge of all moral questions as well as the Omnipotent Controller and Confiscator - when government becomes total and involved in everything - then all citizens become lobbyists.
“They use whatever platform is available to them, including schools, churches, news media, businesses, sports, movies, and music, to lobby government for what they want.
“It’s naive to expect anything else from total government.”
Not long ago, Americans enjoyed less politicized sports and entertainment. Editorials, talk show hosts and civics teachers bored us with politics. Celebrities soared above it.
Families, businesses, faith, culture, perseverance, achievement and personal responsibility powered a healthier country. Politics was seldom center stage. It was a quiet machine of backstage support.