I’m reading a book right now about Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans. Leading up to the battle, President James Madison declared war on Britain and both political parties were staunchly opposed to going to war with Britain (again). One party, which controlled the majority of the Senate, barely released any military funding so, as you can imagine (with the Brits up in Canada and in the port towns of Mobile and NOLA) resident Madison and his political friends were nervous. They’ve whooped the dog shit out of some pirates here and there, but Britain was in a different league, and because the other party hated their party, they were at the mercy of limited military funds. Meanwhile, the country was completely divided in 1812 on whether or not we should go back to war with Britain. By 1812, most of the bad ass generals and military leaders from the Revolutionary War were aging or dead, which is a large reason why Andrew Jackson (with hardly any experience) ended up having the opportunity to save the say. All this to say – The country has pretty much been divided since the beginning.
But in 1812 there wasn’t CNN and Fox News, and there wasn’t social media. There were obviously newspapers that were partisan and biased. Lots of folks (myself included) will often say something like, “back in the day there was just NEWS…” Well, that’s partially true. News used to be BETTER than it is now, but there have always been biased outlets.
Perhaps the biggest difference between biased news outlets in the 1800s and news outlets now is the EXTREME sensationalism. What this has done is made folks hate each other. The left has done an incredible job of this. They’ve taken sound bytes out of context like the “they’re sending their rapists and murders here” line, in which he was talking about MS-13, to make folks think that he’s a racist piece of shit. If I was convinced that my President was a racist piece of shit, I’d be vocal about how much I hated him, too. On the other side, you’ve got evangelical Christian outlets that write articles about how President Trump is being used by God. When you truly believe that Trump is being used by the Lord, then you’re going to hate anyone on Facebook who calls him a racist piece of shit.
Another big difference, that I don’t think anyone talks about, is how politicians are rock stars now. Politicians have always been rock stars in D.C., but up until relatively recently they weren’t rock stars country-wide. Take Rand Paul, for example. Rand Paul is a rock star. Everyone knows who Rand Paul is. Ever heard of Marlow Cook? He was a Kentucky Senator, but Marlow didn’t have Twitter.
Making the American people angry works most of the time, but I’m tired of it and I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t give two shits about a quid pro quo. In fact, the more I’ve learned about a quid pro quo, the more I’ve realized that every President in U.S. history has done hundreds of quid pro quos. Hell, POLITICS is basically a giant ongoing quid pro quo. This is why the only Democratic candidate who I actually respect right now is Andrew Yang because he’s not a petty angry psychopath.
I forget where I’m going with this. Oh yeah… I’m politically exhausted. I think I’m so exhausted because I can only deal with so much outrage in my life.
EVERYONE IS SO ANGRY. The other night I shared an article about Trump signing some $1.8 billion autism bill. It was an ABC article, so I thought it was relatively safe to share. I read it, and thought, “man, that’s cool.” so I shared it. You would have thought I shared an article about how to dismember a yellow lab. Folks hate President Trump so much that they overplay every interaction and have become the most annoying people I’ve ever interacted with. These people are way worse than the dumb rednecks who claimed Obama was a Muslim during the Obama presidency, and those folks were terrible.
Many of my real life friends are on “the left.” (I have to distinguish between online friends and real life friends because I’m afraid that many folks on Twitter actually think that following someone online means having a friendship with them.) And guess what? We get along. I know. It’s crazy! At the end of the day, so many of us want THE SAME THINGS. And, here’s another thing – Twitter makes you think that EVERYONE CARES ABOUT HOW TERRIBLE TRUMP IS AND WANTS HIM IMPEACHED AND WE SHOULD BE REALLY ANGRY. Here’s reality – Most Americans aren’t on Twitter, 90% of Twitter is left and of that 90%, about 10% make the most noise. What I’m saying is, most folks (in real life) just want to pay their bills and figure out what they’re having for supper.
Please join me in not giving a shit. It feels fantastic. It’s easy for us to forget that the media lives off viewership. In a world where Netflix and YouTube are killing it, they NEED DRAMA and they NEED US TO GIVE A SHIT. Fox really needs you to LOVE TRUMP and CNN really needs you to HATE TRUMP. Your friend Josh here needs you to stop giving a shit.
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to not give a shit has been reading. I’ve always read, but I’m often bad about finishing books. Lately, as mentioned before, I’ve been reading about Andrew Jackson and it’s sort of diverted my attention from politics (btw – Andrew Jackson is really interesting and even though he’s responsible for one of the worst things in American history, the removal of Native Americans, it’s important to learn why he was the way he was. When he was a kid the Brits burned his uncle’s house down and killed some of his family. Years later, the Creeks buddied up with the Brits, which made him hate Indians, which explains why he wanted them gone. I’m not justifying it. Just saying. It was a different world. Learning is fun. Sorry, I digress.)
I was having dinner with my friend Ben Wayne last week at The Cardinal and I was explaining to him how politically exhausted I am. I told Ben that it’s made me angry at other people (which is what I think they want). Ben didn’t seem to fully understand, but then I compared politics to a binge-watching a Netflix drama and he got it. That’s sort of what it’s become. At the end of the day, I’ll turn on CNN to catch up on the drama series that I’ve missed. I’ll watch CNN so that I can watch them cry (I have a sick sense of humor) which has the adverse effect on me (much to CNN’s chagrin) and I’ll get raging mad at every Democrat in America. This is not good. So I started reading and not giving a shit, and now I fee much better.
After writing this, I’ve realized something else that has helped me not give a shit. I have actual friends. Like, actual human beings I eat dinner with, hang out with, and talk about stuff other than stupid politics. So maybe the key isn’t just “not giving a shit”, maybe it’s about giving a shit about the right things. The things that really matter. Not the hyper-sensationalized bullshit that we have shoved down our throats on twitter, television, and the rest of social media. So go grab some boxed wine and invite some friends over and stop giving a shit about the things that don’t matter.
“Off the field issues with Josh” is a “weekly” column where Josh Brown shares his personal opinions and complex worldview with the readers at Knockahoma Nation. If you read more than one “Off the field issues with Josh” without wanting to tell him to shut up, then you probably need to seek professional help. Josh’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of Knockahoma Nation, so please direct your hate to Josh’s Facebook page HERE.