The Politicization of Everything

Recently, Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake was in the news for saying on Twitter that he was going to buy an AR-15 to prepare for the upcoming civil war if President Trump was removed from office after impeachment.

Putting aside for a moment Drake’s First Amendment rights, or the fact that Drake and most of the media confuse impeachment with removal from office, and also laying on the ground that celebrity Democrats regularly call for Trump’s coerced forcible exit from the presidency if not for his death, the question is: So what?

The man officiates at a game. His public opinions will not make armies march. If millions or only a few agree with him, what difference does it make as to whether he can correctly call a strike?

It doesn’t make any difference, of course.

But it is part and parcel of a modern trend, exacerbated by the advent of 24/7 news coverage, to make everything and everyone political.

There are few facets of our lives today that academics or pundits don’t discuss in the context of their political meaning. From menstrual cycles and Ken dolls to track and field, damnable politics enters into it all in 2019.

And it should stop. Right after you read this article, I mean.

I’m not saying Pericles was wrong when he said just because you’re not interested in politics doesn’t mean politics isn’t interested in you. What I am saying is there are things in this world tremendously more interesting than politics, such as art, music, history, space exploration, and so on. Yes, many of those have a political aspect and that can be interesting.

But if you tie all of those and more into who is up and down in the swamp of Washington, D.C., what impact they may have on impeachment and trial, and their effect on next year’s presidential election, you are doing yourself a disservice.

This is especially true if you are a conservative. We on the Right are supposed to champion the ideal of conserving what is good and valuable about society like all of the above-mentioned pursuits. Government, we think, should be limited so it does not become the be-all and end-all, intruding into other more sublime areas that express the best nature and achievements of mankind.

I found this out myself, and was a boorish victim of it, after almost 40 years in politics both as a volunteer and a pro. From my first volunteer gig in 1970 at the age of 9 to the last campaign I ran 10 years ago, I could and regularly did fall into the trap of obsessing on politics to the detriment of much else. It may even have cost me a good marriage.

After I took the hits like that, however, I started to see that people—and in the D.C. area they are legion—who base their lives around politics are so one-dimensional you can lick the back of their heads and stick them to the wall. Latest book on a fascinating topic? Interesting work of art they saw at an exhibition? Best new cigar? OK, we did do the cigars. But as to the other matters and many others like them, they were subsumed under such vital world-shaking subjects as who is up in the latest poll in some obscure county in Iowa.

Oh, sure, when you’re working in the business, of politics—not government—it is a tight and exclusive community. And in both victory and defeat, it can be lots of fun. After a while, though, for some (and I confess I was one of those) it became the ultimate bring-the-office-home-with-you neurosis.

It’s no bloody way to live.

If it was limited to political geeks perhaps the matter could be contained like a relatively rare and annoying disease. But out there in TV land and for many who bend their lives around the internet machine, the constant hum of punditry and minute data renders them mute to all but politics. Then, naturally, they feel duty-bound to share their analytical wisdom with you.

People who in past epochs may have been respectable town drunks or village cretins holding forth in the civic square on interesting types of vermin, the most fashionable rags for the spring season, or the best shrub to eat in a famine are now found at coffee shops, street corners, and even modes of public transportation plying their avocation concerning the issues of the day.

Riding the D.C. metro (granted, again, D.C. is worse than most places) and wearing the wrong lapel pin I have been accosted more than once by a sidewalk Caesar or subway sage willing to tell me what they thought of my lapel association in loud and not uncertain terms.

The usual D.C. tactic, when approached with this kind of specific hoi-polloi, is to look away and hope it will cease when the individual doesn’t get a rise out of you. And that works most of the time. When it doesn’t work you just bear it because if you respond with your opinion, and are not of the proper loony progressive mindset, then your conversation buddy will froth even more and begin all sorts of frenetic displays of displeasure.

In a proper system that’s when you could set the dogs upon him.

Our republic does not generally allow for such efficient answers in debate, however, and so you get off at the next metro stop and go about your business.

My answer?

A politics-free zone of news coverage between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. weekdays, and 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. on weekends. Couldn’t we have one major media outlet that will take the Charles Kuralt sleepy Sunday morning arts-and-culture theme and run with it for those who are tired of the drumbeat of nonstop politics?

Yeah, you’d still get your political fix during the working day and then some. But perhaps we’d be able to cool down the rhetorical pyrotechnics a tad, as the whole shebang chiefly would be relegated to our duty as citizens, not our obsessive passion as adults.

Or we could continue as we are and eventually stand in line behind Rob Drake at the gun store. But an AR-15? Hell son, where do they keep the bazookas?

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About David Kamioner

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army intelligence, serving with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked as a political consultant for over 15 years and ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia for over four years. He is a public relations consultant in Washington, D.C. and lives in Annapolis, MD.

Photo: Malte Mueller/Getty Images

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