I recall a time at a much younger age when tensions seemed to rise every four years when Americans got the opportunity to perform that good old civic duty of heading to the polls and casting their ballot for the next Commander in Chief in hopes of the newly elected taking the Land of Opportunity to new heights. Like I said there was tension, but it appeared to fade once the results were final. The quarrels between family and friends ended as life continued.
That was the 20th century. In this millennium we get to hate one another 24 hours a day from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve because the political circus is featured ’round the clock on cable news and social media. If you tune in regularly you will find those who hold or seek office become more polarizing by the hour. And the more you give your two cents the more backlash you invite. We used to have sports as an escape from everyday realities. Not anymore. The sideshow in Washington has infiltrated that too. In the words of George Costanza “worlds are colliding”.
Before it gets better it is going to get worse. New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty have recently stated they will not attend the team’s White House visit which is a traditional invitation from the President to championship sports teams both at the professional and collegiate level. Most people in the media saw this potential trend gaining life between Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem and the election of Donald Trump, however it doesn’t deserve the criticism or praise that it will receive compared to other protests and stands taken by athletes. I don’t think Bennett and McCourty’s choice not go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should fall under either umbrella.
At the end of the day Bennett and McCourty do not feel comfortable going. It could be for personal reasons or maybe they don’t feel like having to explain themselves to friends or relatives who have strong feelings and opinions about the direction our country is headed. In 2015 Tom Brady did not attend the Patriots visit with then President Barrack Obama. Brady, a friend and supporter of President Trump, attended the previous three meetings with George W. Bush and even was seen at the 2004 GOP National Convention. Obama just might not have been his cup of tea and he decided to pass. Who cares? I have more respect for people turning the other cheek and walking away rather than indulging themselves in controversy in order to receive attention or demonize someone else.
If you do not like what is on TV turn it off or change the channel. If you don’t care for a particular protest stay clear of the crowd marching in the streets. If you are upset about a scheduled campus speaker do not attend. Not enjoying what you see on social media? Put down your iPhone and go do something else. Perhaps you don’t want to visit the White House after winning a Super Bowl. Then by all means stay home. That’s okay too.