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