Have we reached peak politicization?

In UC Berkeley’s Great Good Magazine, Zaid Jilani and Jeremy Adam Smith ask, why is there so much polarization in the world?

Maybe it has something to do with our desire to politicize everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything.

In the United States, arguably the most polarized nation in the western world, Americans are faced with moral and political Rorschach tests on an almost daily basis.

As the Covington Catholic High School fiasco demonstrated, facts and context simply can’t compete with emotion and tribal loyalties.

Speaking of which, what about the recent attack on Andy Ngo? An innocent man was assaulted in broad daylight. A barbaric incident like this should always transcend political loyalties. However, as Dominic Green noted in Spectator USA, “When is it fine for an all-white gang to assault an Asian American in broad daylight? When he’s a conservative journalist.” 

Parker Molloy of Media Matters was quick to poke fun at Ngo, tweeting “Looks you like were attacked by a small family of pigeons.”  Remember Molloy works for “the nation’s premier progressive watchdog.” If progressive is a synonym for insufferable, Molloy’s cheap shot makes perfect sense.

What’s more, Ngo was hit with a milkshake, a sickly sweet drink that has become a weapon of choice for dissenters both sides of the Atlantic.

And what about Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland? This is a man who has single-handedly politicized the police force. Shortly after the attack on Ngo, Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw held a 20-minute press conference to defend her officers. She made a passionate plea for policy changes.

When asked why officers were slow to intervene in the Ngo attack, she seemed to imply that their hands were tied. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, criticized Wheeler, tweeting out “To federal law enforcement:  investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists.”

Ted Cruz makes a great point, and that’s not a sentence you hear too often.

In 2019, even sneakers are political. In early July, after reported insight from Colin Kaepernick about the shoe’s design, Nike pulled a pair of sneakers intended to commemorate the Fourth of July

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Air Max 1 sneakers featured the “Betsy Ross flag.” This early version of the American flag featured 13 red and white alternating stripes and 13 stars in a circle design, symbolizing the 13 original U.S. colonies.

And what about soccer? The sport’s popularity is clearly on the rise in the US, especially after the women’s latest victory in France. Megan Rapinoe, co-captain of the women's national soccer team, should really run for president. Due to “popular demand”, according to Public Policy Polling, the firm decided to poll the public about a “Megan Rapinoe v Donald Trump 2020 match-up.”

The findings? According to the firm, Rapinoe gets 42% of the vote, Trump gets 41%.  If anyone can keep Iran in check, maybe it’s an individual with no political knowledge whatsoever who happens to kick a ball for a living. The poverty of thought is worrying.

Not even children’s movies are safe from the plague of politicization. Did you know that The Lion King is fascist?

Yes, The Lion King, the beloved family movie. According to a recent Washington Post article, the Disney masterpiece is “both fascist and racist.”

In the article, Dan Hassler-Forest, a Utrecht University media studies professor, argues that the nostalgic Circle of Life scene is "a painful reminder of the film’s ideological agenda: It introduces us to a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong."

Not finished there, the impassioned author argues that “The Lion King' offers us fascist ideology writ large”

What next, is Aladdin really just a classic example of toxic masculinity? Some guy desperately pursuing a helpless female; and don’t even get me started on Jafar, that filthy misogynist.

Just to add, in The Lion King, Mufasa is voiced by James Earl Jones, the great black actor. By lending his voice to a fictional lion, did Jones also lend his voice to fascism? Moreover, in the remake, Simba is played by Donald Glover. Nala, his wife, is played by Beyoncé, who is also – wait for it - black. In the remake, Mufasa is still voiced by James Earl Jones, who, last time I checked, is still black.

Politics, though important, are deeply rooted in highly charged emotions. All too often, political discourse circumvents logic. As Karl J. Salzman noted in The National Review last year, “If we choose to center our lives completely on politics, then we forget why we have them in the first place. We cannot love policy-prescriptions, but we can love people, and we ought to realize that when we’re tempted to politicize every aspect of our society — from pageants to sports to film and television to our interactions with others.”

Lion King poster via IMDB

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