Gosh, it’s been a long week. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe resigned Tuesday morning. That evening, the president delivered his State of the Union. Then a Kennedy gave a response, and so did every other Democrat, it seems. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a controversial memo detailing alleged corruption at the FBI Friday.
Of course, partisans bickered throughout. After all of that, we are ready for some football. But we could really do without partisan politics this Super Bowl Sunday.
Everyone knows we live in an unusually fractious country today. Politics consumes more and more, wasting communities and dissolving friendships by making toxic the shared experiences that make social cohesion possible.
A big part of the problem is that what once united us now divides. An unwitting Joy Reid perfectly encapsulated this disorder when the MSNBC host complained that the State of the Union included too many references to the church, the family, and the military. Along with the national anthem, she groaned, those institutions are “tropes of 1950s-era nationalism.”
God, Mom, and the army may seem relics of a bygone era to Reid. We see them as the building blocks of civil society. Americans like to brag about having the best system of government and the biggest economy, but the strength of the nation has always been its selfless people. The church that looks after the elderly. The mother and father who step up to coach a school basketball team. The neighbor who drops everything to help in a moment of crisis. But even the most mundane moments of community have become controversial. Politics increases the chances of a bitter fight everywhere making us wonder if it’s even worth going anywhere. As a result, we are more separate and alone than ever.
Lately, the National Football League has become its own political football. Beginning in 2016, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Other players followed suit for a grab bag of different grievances. A large portion of the public, people more likely to know someone who makes a living serving in the military than someone who makes millions playing a game, were understandably upset. Counter-protests were organized. Viewership dropped by as much as 9 percent, according to one recent survey. And the leader of the free world advised a private business owner to “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired.”
Everyone can agree that a timeout isn’t a bad idea. The nation could use four quarters of peace and quiet as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots. The only tribalism allowed on Sunday is allegiance to the team. Take off the red and blue jerseys for once. Put on white and green ones instead. Don’t talk about politics. Talk about the playoffs.
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. This Sunday, let's give the politics a rest. The health of the republic really could hinge on the outcome of 22 overgrown men crashing into each other. For the sake of decency and civil society, we need Sunday football without partisanship. It's time to lay down the muskets and cheer for brotherly love. And if you want to know who at least one commentary writer at the Washington Examiner is supporting in the Super Bowl this year, go back and read the first letters of each paragraph of this editorial.