On kindness, change, responsibility, and defending our own.
This is going to cover a lot of areas, but it's mostly politics. And because of that, I think it belongs here. I want to preface this by saying that I'm not a member of either the Republican party or the Democratic party. As (I think) I've said on here, I've voted for both parties (with a very similar ratio for each). I did not vote for Trump, and I did not vote for Hillary. I consider myself to be in the middle, and I don't like the tone, rhetoric, or actions of either party at the moment.
When I'm not watching comic book movies or too much TV, my other favorite hobby is sports. I'm guessing this isn't something that a lot of people on here have a lot of passion or, but I do. One of my favorite sports is college (American) football, and there have been three major scandals that have happened in the last few years revolving around three very popular and successful head coaches. I say "revolving" because all three are crimes committed by people around them and the coach's inaction.
The most famous is Joe Paterno. He was a very successful and long-standing coach at Penn State University. An assistant coach and friend was assaulting young boys. According to reports, Paterno knew about it and did nothing. He protected his friend and the success that came along with it. Paterno was fired.
The second incident revolved around Baylor University coach Art Briles. During his tenure at Baylor (by far the most successful in that school's modern history), there was an alarming spike in the sexual assaults that happened on campus. According to reports, Briles knew that some of his players had been involved in reports, and Briles did nothing. He protected his team and the success that came with them. He was fired.
The newest one is Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. He's one of the best coaches in the nation, and he's led Ohio State to at least one recent championship. He had a former player/coach who was repeatedly and violently beating his wife. According to reports, Meyer knew about it and did nothing. He protected his friend and the success that came with him. He's currently on administrative leave.
I bring these cases up for a couple of reasons. First, none of these people reportedly did anything wrong themselves. Paterno and Briles never committed any sexual assaults. Meyer never beat his wife. But they all defended their people and all have paid (some level) of price. The other reason I bring them up is because of the reaction from fans.
If your school is a rival of Penn State, Baylor, or Ohio State, your reaction to these stories is pure disgust. How could this coach lead young men and allow these crimes to happen? How could they ever be trusted? Their names are tainted and their legacies destroyed.
If your school is Penn State, Baylor, or Ohio State, your reaction is different. "He did what he was supposed to do." "He reported it to X." "No one is listening to his side." "He can't control or know everything." "There's no proof that he knew." There were candlelight vigils in support of Paterno and Briles. There was a protest in support of Meyer yesterday.
And responses to all three can vary individually by the case. Ohio State fans could've been very hard on Paterno and Briles, while demanding more investigation into what happened with Meyer. It's the same across the board.
If it's their guy, lock em up and throw away the key. If it's your guy, we need to take our time and hear all sides of the story.
Their guy is obviously guilty. Your guy is a good guy, and there has to be an explanation.
I relate this to college football because they are, in my opinion, the most emotional of fanbases. Whether you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to the school, were raised into fandom, or just live in the general vicinity, colllege football makes people's blood boil more than most. The rivalries can go back over 100 years. People live and die by the success of their team. It used to be something that I thought was unique to college football.
But I'm now seeing it much more in another area: politics.
I don't know exactly when it started. There's a decent chance that it's always been this way, and social media just makes it easier to see. But instead of identifying with one party or another, more and more I'm seeing people's party becoming part of their identity. Their fandom towards their party matches anyone else's fandom towards their favorite team. And you're seeing a lot of the same attacks and defenses.
In the past, you criticized the president more if he wasn't in your party. You defended him more if he wasn't. But in modern times, everything has gone to extremes. George W. Bush was considered a tyrant by one party, and he was beloved by his own. Obama was considered a tyrant by one party, and he was beloved by his own.
Trump is different because he's universally hated by Democrats, and a lot of people are turned off by him, even in his own party. But there's the select group of the population that's willing to forgive everything he does. That only wants to talk about the crimes of the other side (mostly Hillary). That wants to defend and excuse.
But it's not just Trump. Trump is an extreme case, but it happened on a smaller one with Al Franken. Franken's stuff came out at the height of the women's march and the #MeToo movement. Some people were happy trying to tear down people until one of their own came up on the stand. Then, they wanted to talk about how long ago things happened. How innocent it was. How things had changed. Did matter for Spacey. Did matter for Hoffman. Didn't matter for Cosby. The defense was specific to Franken.
And the hypocrisy was evident on the other side. #MeToo was a joke one week to some, and it was serious the next week when they had the chance to take down someone who disagreed with them.
If it's your guy, it's one way. If it's their guy, it's another.
And so the war started between the two sides to dig up whatever they can on whoever they can on the other side. Nothing was off limits. No statute of limitations.
The most recent casualty was James Gunn. He's been very outspoken against Trump and Trump supporters, and so the Trump supporters decided to strike back. They found old jokes that Gunn had made and reposted them. Disney, apart from Marvel, made the decision to fire him.
If these had been jokes made by Donald Trump, the left would've gone crazy. Because they were made by an outspoken liberal, the left thought it was a ridiculous act. Gunn apologized and talked about how much he'd grown and evolved since then. People that liked him rallied to his support. People that didn't danced on his grave.
What's funny is that I don't think the jokes would've ever resurfaced if Gunn wasn't an outspoken Trump hater. And I don't have any idea if the story would've been spun differently if he wasn't. Politics has clouded the issue to the point where I don't know what would've happened to him in a vacuum.
Some people recognize the hypocrisy. In looking at comments on stories, some people will admit that "if (blank) said/did it, we'd be in an uproar." But I worry if those people will eventually drop off.
Are we going to be willing to forgive anything if the person agrees with us? Are we willing to tear down anyone for any reason if they don't? Are we ever going to get back to a place where a person's beliefs have no relation to a person's crimes?