The title of Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s column this week, “The Midterms Are the Most Important of My Lifetime,” is indeed true. Almost 300 Republican candidates around the U.S. are on the record claiming they don’t think, or seriously doubt, that Biden won the presidential election in 2020.
If that doesn’t motivate a huge mobilization of the American people, then how about the fact that if they prevail then more radical bans on abortion are going to become the law of the land. These are unthinkable prospects, yet the voting public is being lulled by the usual diversions into thinking it really can’t be so bad. But it…IS!
To my mind, these are the two most egregious things about the upcoming midterms, where voting is already going on in some places (like my home state of Virginia) and it culminates in the big election day now less than a month away.
On the abortion question, many are trying to convince us that the issue is the personal behavior of Herschel Walker, that ex-football player in Georgia, as Republicans are now saying it really doesn’t matter how many abortions he personally arranged because there’s really only one thing that matters, that he follows the orders of the GOP leadership when it comes to casting his votes.
But it’s not about him. It’s about every woman in America, whether of child bearing age or not. It’s about the fact that women risk becoming prisoners in their own bodies, and don’t think that isn’t what many a white supremacist male would like! Yes, this is as bad as the worst nightmare scenarios of those who have fought for feminist goals ever feared.
Then there are those who are stepping forward as the veritable white male terrorists now feeling empowered in their worst hateful ways as a result of four years of Trump in the White House. It’s not so much Trump anymore as what Trump has unleashed, the lowest, most vile and contemptible expressions and behaviors by millions of American males, all who cite Trump as their role model.
Exemplary is the case of the U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, the former college football coach Tommy Tuberville, once coach for Auburn University, who felt empowered last weekend to unleash a foul, gut-spewing angry verbal terrorist attack at a Trump rally last weekend. His comment has been widely denounced as overtly racist, as he blamed all worthy of reparations for centuries of suffering under slavery, of being criminals, and yelling “Bull Shit!” at the end of his diatribe.
It wasn’t what he said, as much as how he said it. It was the kind of remark designed to arouse lynchings and comparable mindless criminal mob behaviors.
Now imagine this. Picture all those scores upon scores of football stadiums across our land filled to capacity with fans cheering their favorites teams every weekend. How many such “fans” are aware that in the locker rooms and the sidelines, jerks with the same angry sentiments as Tubberville rouse their players with the same kind of hateful rhetoric, even if the overtly racist parts are toned down because the best athletes may be Black.
There are hundreds and hundreds of players subjecting their brains to constant traumas, sometimes causing concussions that result in permanent injuries and death later in life. Chronic. Traumatic. Encephalitis.
On the sidelines, women prance around with pom-poms in small skirts to cheer on “their men” on the simulated battlefield.
But oh my, the hatred it evokes to even mention these things, to suggest there is something that may be wrong with this. Just enjoy it, can’t we?
Some comment that what’s gone wrong with our national politics is the fact that too many football coaches are teaching civics in our schools. They’re more correct than they imagine.
Sports, while there’s a place for them in child development and genuine recreation, are now our national obsession, and are getting more than more violent and extreme. They’re grounded in zero-sum outcomes, a major fallacy of thinking right there, and now betting is legalized and overt violence is sanctioned in so-called “MMA” fights.
To save our democracy, this is the culture we have to change.