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While Our Children Bleed, We Boycott Bud Light

Scott Slayton | Contributor | Updated: Apr 19, 2023
While Our Children Bleed, We Boycott Bud Light

While Our Children Bleed, We Boycott Bud Light

Most people can tell you where they were on June 17, 1994. They may not recall the date, but they remembered what happened. Five days earlier, Los Angeles police found Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman murdered. Suspicion immediately fell on her ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, a beloved former NFL player turned actor and pitch-man. 

On that fateful Friday, police had a warrant for Simpson’s arrest. Simpson was not at home, but rather seated in the backseat of a white Ford Bronco driven by his friend Al Cowlings. Police followed the Bronco at low speed through the streets of Los Angeles as Cowlings drove towards Simpson’s home. Crowds who had seen the chase on TV lined the route to cheer Simpson as the Bronco drove by. This all unfolded on live television during game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. It felt like the whole nation was watching.

I’ve thought about the Simpson Bronco chase a lot since New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the indictment of former President Donald Trump. News channels spent half a day with their cameras focused on a door just so they could get a 10-second glimpse of Trump. His late-night rantings on Truth Social get discussed ad nauseum on cable opinion shows.

The Simpson Bronco chase also came to mind as I watched the brouhaha over the Bud Light boycott. Bud Light partnered with a trans Tik Tok influencer. Conservatives all over the country announced they were boycotting the iconic brand. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 contender, waded into the controversy in an interview a few days ago.

The Trump debacle and Bud Light boycott are taking place against the backdrop of some weighty issues. In the last month, there have been at least three high-profile mass shootings. Each one has been different from the one before it. The first was a woman who identified as trans murdering children and teachers at a Christian school in Nashville. A man walked into his workplace in Louisville and murdered five people, including a police officer the next week. This past weekend, four people lost their lives in a shooting at a sweet sixteen birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama. Police have yet to name a suspect in the Alabama shooting, so we don’t know the motive.

These trails of blood scream for massive cultural discussions about gun access, mental health, school safety, and social isolation. Finding solutions calls for deep research, discussion, and debate.

In our current cultural milieu, we don’t have the attention span or will to deal with the real issues. It is infinitely easier to post about Bud Light on social media than it is to weight the pros and cons of red flag laws. Fund-raising off of President Trump’s indictment lights more fires than examining the roots of social isolation and anger in our culture.

Our nation’s children bleed in the floors of their school and in the doorways of dance studios while politicians grandstand for the camera. There’s no better example than Tennessee, the site of one of the recent shootings. Three democratic lawmakers staged a rally on the floor of the Legislature. It was nothing more than a stunt, but Volunteer State Republicans responded by expelling two of the lawmakers. This proved to a worthless gesture, as local governments voted to send them right back. The nation was treated to a spectacle, while our children got no safer.

Our politicians, from both parties, figured out that working on real solutions doesn’t get their face on cable news or garner social media likes, both of which they turn into fundraising opportunities. If we want action on guns, the debt ceiling, Ukraine, or a host of other issues, we must stop rewarding our political leaders for engaging in meaningless spectacles that produce no real change. Don’t engage with them on social media, turn off cable news when they are on there, and don’t send them any money.

Instead, pick up the phone and call their offices. Write letters and send emails. Do not stop until they get the message that we want them to legislate, which is the job they were elected to do.

Each of us must decide that we are going to learn the difference between issues that matter and cultural brushfires we will forget by the end of the week. Tackling tough problems requires long discussions and difficult decisions. They don’t make for exciting television, but they produce a healthier culture. The other feels urgent in the moment, but it only fuels our cultural and moral decay.

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

Image credit: ©Getty Images / Dennis Fischer Photography

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

While Our Children Bleed, We Boycott Bud Light