I have always rather liked Michael Vaughn. Yeah, I know, he’s a blowhard, and all he can ever talk about is how his England squads were the greatest squads in the history of the world. But I don’t mind that. I don’t mind a bit of bluster from athletes. When they are overly humble, it just seems fake. And I also follow Michael Vaughn on Instagram and he seems like an all right guy, enjoying life after a good career, playing with his kids, doing his commentary bit, plus of course slagging off Australians.
And I have also always known — or at least assumed — that most professional athletes are conservatives. Just like everyone in Hollywood is a liberal, most people who put on uniforms and chase balls around for a living are Republicans. It’s a financial thing at its core. Most professional athletes are super wealthy, and the super wealthy — except for the Hollywood elite — tend to vote for the more conservative party. And in America, that’s the Republicans, the party of our president, Donald Trump.
But then the other morning I come out to my phone to find this:
My first reaction was “fuck you, Twitter, get your algorithms right.” My second thought was: “fuck you, Michael Vaughn. Unfollow, block, report.” But then I calmed down and dialed it back and said: no, I am going to keep following him. It’s his right to express opinions, and I can listen to those opinions and disagree with them and still think he’s an okay dude, still enjoy his bluster, his dorky instagram posts. I was rather proud of myself. Not to toot my own horn, but I bet he lost a lot followers that day, and I am glad that I wasn’t one of them. We can’t poke our heads in the sand every time anyone expresses any sort of opinion that we don’t like. Our echo chambers are why we are in this mess. And despite what a lot of people think, athletes and actors and musicians have just as much right to their opinions as everyone else. And if they want to use the platform they have as a megaphone to voice those opinions, then that is their right, too. We can’t just say: “you have that right as long as I agree with you.” That’s BS and you all know it. We have to allow it from both sides. (Within reason, of course.)
And so I didn’t unfollow, block, report. I just went about my day. And later I watched one of Vaughn’s dumb instastories and didn’t even think about the tweet from earlier in the day.
I will say this though: you are wrong, Mr. Vaughn. The last thing the world needs is more leaders like President Trump. We don’t need more divisive, fragile male egos in power. We need kind, impassioned, educated leaders who lead with a strong moral compass, with the best interests of all in mind, and who see public service as an important and vital mission that will, in the end, hopefully, help raise all boats.
No, Mr. Vaughn, we don’t need more Donald Trumps. That is the last thing we need. Yeah, both our countries’ politics are a bit of a dumpster fire. But reality show politicians who do little but gin up their base with racist dog whistles aren’t going to solve that. We need leaders. Not snake oil salesman.
You are wrong, but I still think you’re all right.