This morning, being behind not only on my grading, course planning, writing, and housecleaning, I also found myself behind on current events. As a consequence, I was forced (not literally, of course) to do an internet search to understand the meaning of the “Let’s go Brandon” catchphrase or meme or whatever we’re calling such things in our contemporary and ever-changing vernacular.
What I found was—on its face—disturbing. After having won his first NASCAR event, a man named Brandon is being interviewed by an NBC reporter. He looks so young, so happy, and so excited to talk about his first victory. In the background, there is chanting. Although not PERFECTLY clear, if you listen closely and look at the video clip, some in the crowd are shouting, “Fuck Joe Biden.” The reporter, in an effort to weave the chanting into her interview, explicitly interprets the chanting as “Let’s go Brandon!”
At a deeper level, the chants, their interpretation, their re-interpretation, and their current use as a method for mocking and insulting President Biden, represent a deep, sad, and pathetic powerlessness. We all feel it. We all want to shout out our own beliefs, because, of course, we think our own beliefs are the best beliefs and the right beliefs and the beliefs that should be heard above the roar of the crowd.
What saddens me the most is that it also represents not only the deep divisions in our country (and the world), but that it has become viral fodder for confirmation bias and spinning. People see whatever they’re inclined to see in the chant. Is it evidence of fake news or disrespect for the presidency? Have we caught the press intentionally remaking reality or have we caught Trump supporters in their anti-patriotic hypocrisy? The facts don’t matter much anymore. Polarizing is the thing. Sloganizing is the thing. It’s not so much about what unites us; it’s about what divides us.
Like many, I feel a paradox. I care about the deep divisions. I wish I could bridge them. At the same time, I don’t care for people stoking deep divisions. I wish to ignore them.
All this brings me to something that I unequivocally and unapologetically wish would go viral . . . instead of the popular outrage and mockery.
After discovering and lamenting the Let’s Go Brandon mockery, I read Rita Sommers-Flanagan’s Sunday morning blog post. Hers are the messages I wish would catch fire on the internet.
“God,” I whisper, awake and facing morning, “You know I’d like to extend my reach; do things that make me feel important and complete. I’d like to turn the tide of hate into an ocean of love. I’d like to make the fear go away.”
This is the call for unity, love, and peace that SHOULD be in my newsfeed.
Here’s another line: “I am of your doing, and you of mine.” Just spectacular.
Rita’s blog is titled, “Short visits with an honest God.” Should you be interested in deeper unity, here’s the link to her blog: https://godcomesby.com/ . . .
And here’s the link to this morning’s post: https://godcomesby.com/2021/11/14/the-long-gray-bird/?fbclid=IwAR1kYlUDhLOUdj0lV-9001MnEIeK3XCsCd-FjkAmlZinBTMp7z1lq0NkEyw
8 thoughts on “Let’s Go Rita!”
Well, this is a first–I think this is called a PING. Or a ping back. Or something nice like that. But going viral sounds kind of awful. A certain number of those infected will simply not survive.
It’s the love virus. Infection means more love and less hate.
Thank you for this. Both of you. I have been listening to (over and over) two podcasts: Tara Brach on “fear and love” and Deb Dana (polyvagal stuff”) talking about her newest book “Anchoring” – they have so much relevance for where we are today. It’s all so helpful. I too wish I could “… extend my reach; do things that make me feel important and complete. I’d like to turn the tide of hate into an ocean of love. I’d like to make the fear go away.” Are we back to “random acts of kindness”? I guess so. Love to you both. N
Thanks Nancy. This is a frustrating time for many reasons. I’m glad to hear you liked the post and that we’re working together on the same goals . . . despite the fact that they feel so darn elusive and unreachable. In my happiness class, I changed “random” acts of kindness to “intentional” acts of kindness. I like it better because it’s what we’re doing. Love right back to you!
Thanks for your post. Rita’s and your words are refreshing. Many are disheartened due to all the political hatred and climate change. At times I’m confused and disappointed in people’s anger towards others they don’t know. I’d agree people don’t feel heard. They have a desperate urge to identify with something and place blame. There is less trust in others and political parties. Science and health are now political. I would have never thought people would be fighting with each other as our people die. I heard “let’s go Brandon” phrase two weeks ago from my uncle. He explained the ridiculousness of it. Slogans like these show a lack of compassion and self-awareness. We all need to honor each other. Limiting news and social media goes a long way. These medians can feed anxiety which can lead to anger and hate. Social media is like driving. In both realms it is easy to display anger towards another. Being isolated (though necessary in my opinion during COVID) didn’t help as people probably relied more going online. We almost forget the child or human side in each one of us. The true self. Take care.
Thanks for your comment Kyle. I agree with everything you’re saying. These are challenging times . . . and social media is definitely magnifying the problems more than helping. All my best to you in your practice. John
Hi there! I was assigned to watch your video on psychotherapy.net and somehow I found my way to this post. (Yikes, way to procrastinate.) I am prior military and there is a deep respectful regard among many other things that I’ve carried into my life outside of the military. I too share your sentiments. To make sense out of the things I see, it’s like our Country and Politics have taken on the role of “reality t.v.”. Every one seeks to be entertained, root for their “team” per se. To me, everything is not meant to be entertainment.
Thanks for your constructive procrastination. Right now I’m commenting on your comment instead of doing what I should be doing . . . so I know the meandering feeling.
I appreciate your perspective. Although I love entertainment, we’re not a 24/7 reality show.
All my best to you in your work,