So, I’ve been finding it really hard to blog lately, and I’ve been trying to put my finger on why, exactly, that might be.
There’s a lot of little reasons, of course, but I think the one it comes down to is the way I write. I really have a hard time writing about something until I’ve thought it over a lot. I’m the only person I know who drafts the comments I write on other people’s Facebook posts. It’s actually one reason I hate reading my own writing; it always feels so labored and forced. I read other people’s blogs, and I’m sure they put, if anything, more work than I put into mine, but the end result just feels more natural, refreshing even. I wish I could write differently, but this is the way I know how, and the end result of all this is I have a very hard time just picking a topic and writing about it. Most topics I’ve written about are the ones that got stuck in my mind and I worked them over and thought about them until I felt confident enough to put something out there.
And, as of late, all of those topics are political. And this presents something of a problem for me.
It’s not that I think politics is not a topic worth writing about (obviously), and this isn’t even a promise that I won’t write about politics in the future. But my biggest problem, I think, comes from the unstated goal of this blog.
My very first post (so long ago now) was prompted by, and largely in response to, a comment thread on my Facebook wall in which two people argued back and forth about the merits of downfalls of Noah, a film that neither of them had seen.
And I decided then that I wanted to use this blog, such as it is, to oppose that sort of closed-mindedness. I didn’t have delusions of grandeur. I wasn’t out to change the world or reshape our cultural conversation. But even if I only got two readers, I’d hoped to use my posts, even in a small way, to promote thoughtfulness, reasoned (and reasonable) discourse. Dialogue.
And right now, when it comes to politics, I’ve just got so much anger. I’m starting to worry that I’m becoming what I’ve always hated. But even if that’s not true, even if every part of my anger is completely justified, what does that leave? If all I’ve got to contribute to this field is rage, I’ll keep it to myself. There’s already more than enough of that going around.
And so I’ve been thinking a lot about what (or if) to write, because every other topic felt so small, so insignificant right now.
But as I was thinking about how all these other topics, movies and TV and art and sports, “don’t matter” anymore, from nowhere a very powerful memory came back to me.
It was July, during my bachelor party weekend in Minneapolis, and we’d gone to the Jazz and Funk Fest to see Sly and the Family Stone. It was very warm, and I was quite drunk, and I’m shockingly ignorant about music history so all of the songs they played were more or less new to me. And then they paused to talk to the crowd before kicking off their set closer.
“I’ve been around forever,” the speaker said. “And this is the craziest election I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But one thing I do know…
“And so are you!”
And as they kept singing and repeated the chorus, everyone in the crowd began to sing along. Even I caught on eventually. And there was just this weird, unspoken bond in the crowd. It didn’t matter if you were Republican or Democrat, Making America Great Again© or With Her™, or throwing your vote away on a third party.
I’d never felt that connected with strangers. And never, before or since, had felt more assured that things would work out okay.
I don’t know why that memory came back to me or what prompted it, but it was like a cold splash of water to the face. It helped me remember something I’d always known. That these topics aren’t inherently frivolous. That anything that can connect us is worth celebrating and promoting.
And that is the main reason I, for one, herald the return of the NFL Draft tonight, with the start of the season soon to follow.
There’s so many divisions in the country right now. Don’t get me wrong, the issues are important, I would never say otherwise. Discussion and debate are necessary.
And at the same time, at the end of the day, we are just “everyday people.” “Sometimes [we] can be right and [we] can be wrong,” but “we got to live together.”
And anything that can make us feel united, even for a brief moment, is a good thing.
Which is why, I swear, if I see one more person try to politicize sports, I’mma smack ‘em.
I’mma do it.