Normally I am not a professional football fan. Nor am I very familiar with the songs of Taylor Swift. But I am intrigued by the reports that Ms. Swift will attend Sunday’s Super Bowl to watch her football-playing friend (Travis Kelce) on the Kansas City team win the game at the same time he and she endorse President Joe Biden’s re-election.
Apparently MAGA conspiracy theorists fear Swift’s pop music following is so loyal and large that an endorsement from her could tip the balance of the 2024 election in Biden’s favor. If the rumors and paranoid nightmares are accurate, Swift’s support for the current White House occupant could have greater impact on voters than negative factors, such as unsolved crises involving wars, refugees, and climate catastrophe.
Is there no alternative to Biden, Swift and Kansas City? Is Trump the only other choice?
Although I am a San Francisco resident who hasn’t watched many 49ers games, I know that the team is also playing in the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, and I have to wonder why my home team doesn’t have a rival singer whose name could be associated with other rumors.
A San Francisco Bay Area singer could be going to the Super Bowl to endorse an alternative political candidate. I want to hear that Boots Riley and Joan Baez are planning to endorse Cornel West or Bernie Sanders at halftime. And that Bob Dylan (who sold his song archive for $300 million) is paying for the commercial airtime in which his colleagues will make their announcement.
Even if they’re not doing this, I’d like to hear rumors about it, rumors that a few Californian singers favor socialist and ceasefire-now candidates (even if they’re not 49ers fans). MAGA supporters might amplify the rumors once they start. Shouldn’t candidates who favor peace, diplomatic solutions to war, and democratic socialism get some rumor airtime, too?
(I know a responsible journalistic site like 48 Hills would not normally report such rumors, but this article is an opinion piece, and the editor should be praised for promoting freedom of expression rather than blamed for planting fake news. So let me be clear: The editors and staff of 48 Hills have not said Joan Baez and Boots Riley and Bob Dylan are going to endorse a candidate for president, or that they should.)
But why should the right-wing of our political spectrum be the only group whose fantasies, paranoia, prejudices and hopes for the future get all the media attention?
Since time is short before the big Sunday game, I’ve drafted a speech that I’m asking Joan or Bob or Boots or one of their peers to deliver. Here it is:
“While I am not pleased with the brutality of professional football and the harm it does to so many young players, who risk brain injury every time they step onto the field, I am glad to see representatives of our state (namely the San Francisco 49ers) entertaining the country with all their talents, as I myself have tried to do over the years, although we perform in different sectors of the culture industry.
“Given that it is an election year, and there is considerable media interest in singers who support the candidate of their choice on Super Bowl Sunday, I want to announce my enthusiastic support for the candidacy of Cornel West [or alternately, “I plan to write in the name of Bernie Sanders”] for president.
“I hope that 49ers fans will join me in calling for the election of a president (also a new senator) who seeks de-escalation and diplomatic solutions for military conflicts so that our oversized and lethal defense budget can be re-allocated to peacetime uses such as universal healthcare, free public education at all levels, widespread construction of affordable housing, subsidy of solar and wind power, and public support of the arts. Although I, personally, don’t need any arts grants myself.”
Let the rumors fly.
Joel Schechter is the author of several books about satire and theatre.