Two interesting data points for this last week, both around the US and the World Cup. A number of conservative commentators have been bemoaning all of the attention that Americans are giving this years World Cup. At the heart of their arguments is that Soccer (Futbul) is not an American sport and doesn’t deserve the attention it is receiving. Soccer has been turned into another element in America’s culture wars. Yes Soccer is foreign, but so is Baseball (loosely based on Cricket), American Football (loosely based on Rugby), Hockey (Canada’s national sport seems to be an import from the UK). What’s really American–La Crosse?
In contrast it seems that the highest rated sporting event on American television in recent years was the US versus Portugal match. Viewership was apparently highly than for the recent World Series and and NBA finals.
I think in some ways the US in this years World Cup is pulling Americans together more than in the past. While the title says World Series, effectively the world for Baseball’s championship is nothing more than an American title, same with the Super Bowl and NBA finals. The World Cup shows how America stands against other countries in the world.
The conservatives find this years World Cup scary because the world is becoming more inclusive; and thus more equal. In a sense this is equality is what America’s founding fathers where striving to achieve; remember the phrase “all men are created equal”. Rhetoric aside, contemporary conservatives have been actively blocking equality effectively trying to protect their position–as they see it a favored majority. History will likely look back on this period as one where the last stages of inequality where played out. An inclusive America (and World) is the future, and we are getting glimpses of that future.