NASCAR has become a microcosm of the Democratic Party.
I was listening to the NASCAR race at Concord, N.C. last Sunday. I was several times "treated" to a commercial decrying racism and racial inequality. After hearing it for the third time, I began to think about the transformation NASCAR, whose TV ratings are down, is trying to pull off.
NASCAR, founded in 1948, was content to sanction races for seventy years. Then, on October 1, 2018, it appointed Steve Phelps as its president. Of the appointment, Matt Weaver, Autoweek columnist, wrote, "And for the first time since the decline of NASCAR's mainstream popularity began, the sanctioning body is publicly admitting what Phelps is calling a headwind — the challenges major league stock car racing will face as it looks to discover its place in modern American pop culture."
It has become obvious what Phelps's answer is to NASCAR's "headwind," to its looking "to discover its place in modern American pop culture." Play the race card — no, not the auto race card, the human race card. Racism and racial inequality are thinking characteristic of the country. As the cited commercial illustrates, NASCAR has clearly become an ideologue because it has "an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology (a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture)."
The commercial opens with Bubba Wallace, who is NASCAR's only "black" driver, saying, "We're not strangers to moving fast." Wallace is followed by several NASCAR drivers who say, "And we know how life can have that same quality. But now ... is the time to slow down and reflect. The events of recent weeks highlighted the work we still need to do as a nation to condemn racial inequality and racism. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others in the black community are heartbreaking ... and can no longer be ignored."
The commercial continues (emphasis mine), "The process [of no longer ignoring the work that needs to be done, I guess] begins with us listening and learning because understanding the problem is the first step in fixing it. We are committed to listening with empathy and with an open heart to better educate ourselves. We will use this education to advocate for change in our nation, our communities and most importantly in our own homes." Sounds admirable.
"Understanding the problem" requires recognition that there may be more to the problem than just an ideologue's view. It also requires recognition of the truth (often called facts), something an ideologue seldom, if ever, does.
Andrea Widburg, in her AT post, has done the heavy lifting for the NASCAR drivers. Reading it, the drivers could discover some embarrassing truths about the people to whom they refer (Floyd, Taylor, Arbery). But even had they become thus fully educated, the drivers likely still would have made the commercial because I'm certain Phelps would have suspended those who refused. He has a frisson of fear over NASCAR.
That's the same NASCAR that, in June of this year tried to play the race card, albeit clumsily, with the "noose" incident. Phelps took that opportunity to tell "his employees and teams that they will have to undergo sensitivity and 'unconscious bias' training and ... be put under video surveillance." This because he jumped to the conclusion a hate crime against a black person, something the MSM would eat up and could play up, had been committed.
Conclusion: NASCAR has become a microcosm of the Democratic Party. Steve Phelps has taken the route of the Democrats: become an ideologue, ignore facts, lie, prevent understanding. As with all ideologues, Phelps ignores his own transgressions as well as transgressions committed by those close to him. He tries to define problems by using people he can control. Phelps has forced his ideology on NASCAR. He is a perfect example of what Democrats will do.