We’ve lost our bloomin’ minds, Part 999: A friend of ours in California was invited to please stay home from a Super Bowl watch party there because he and his wife favored the Chiefs. You know, because this unacceptable allegiance might have made some 49ers fans at the football fête uncomfortable.
Comfort is overrated, people, and becoming more so all the time.
This friend is not even a very Kansas City serious fan: “Considering I can only name two Chiefs players, and only know the name of one Taylor Swift song, we didn’t feel dangerous.”
They were, though, according to the faux-polite text exchange he forwarded me, urging him and his Swiftie wife to please find somewhere else to watch the game.
In these texts, a pal with whom he’s been sharing meals and passing the clam dip for 30 years told him that “other conversations” outside cheering on the 49ers “will be distracting” and “your presence would kinda ruin it” for some San Francisco fans. Because with those who felt differently on the premises, they might be too inhibited to cheer.
It would be easy to write off this prissy and asinine behavior as a textbook example of liberal California fragility.
But while it is that, it’s also a parable of how small-minded and segregated a lot of our little baby bubbles have become, as I’m reminded every time a Star reader invites me to get the hell out of Missouri and move back to California, where I supposedly agree with everyone, ha.
The more we are likely to live, worship and now even cheer with only the perfectly like-minded, the more diminished we are in our capacity to appreciate either our differences or the ways in which we’re alike, and that’s so dehumanizing.
I don’t even know anyone with whom I perfectly align, and why should that trouble me? It seems like a lifetime ago that Barack Obama said we are more alike than different, but I stubbornly still believe that.
Recently, someone I love questioned the morality of the fact that some other people I love are, unlike me, quite conservative. But I feel fortunate to have them in my life, both because we are all more than our politics and because I learn so much from them.
What are we afraid of, crouched in our corners?
Whatever it is, we more and more seem to lack the confidence to look on those who think differently with open hearts and minds, and that’s a major problem.
As a Notre Dame grad married to a Wolverine, I always thought that part of the fun of sports was a good-natured back and forth with fans of the other team. When we lived in New York, I used to enjoy going to games at the old Shea Stadium in my Cubs gear, and those were the Mets for heaven’s sake.
When we got too siloed to even share some wings with friends rooting for a different team, we lost one of the most glorious aspects of our beautiful, messy democracy.
What we are starved for, whether we know it or not, is more moments like the recent Grammys duet of “Fast Car” by the great Tracy Chapman, who is Black, queer and liberal, and the great Luke Combs, who is white, straight and conservative.
We need more friendships like that of the talented country star Toby Keith and the talented comedian Stephen Colbert, who after Keith’s recent death said, “Because I’m sure Toby and I disagreed about many things, as so many Americans do these days, more and more of us are angrier and angrier with each other. But tonight I will issue this invitation to anybody: I do not care who you are. I will meet you at this place: I will meet you at being brokenhearted that Toby Keith is gone.”
“Thank you, Big Dog,” he said, and cried.
I told our friend in California that he and his wife should just crash the Super Bowl party singing, “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me,” and all would be well. I don’t think he even knew what I was talking about. Which makes his exile from his buddy’s party all the sadder and sillier.