We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and a warm and sincere greeting to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR. It is just Tuesday morning as I pull up to the magic keyboard that always manages to make the ramblings of an aged race fan make some sort of sense. The words chosen for the title of this epic to be are familiar to many of the blue-hairs among us, but maybe not so to the younger crowd. They come from a comic strip drawn by cartoonist Walt Kelly called Pogo.
Pogo was a possum that lived in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia. The strip included a host of denizens of the region; we saw the most of Albert the Alligator, an owl called Owl, a mud turtle by the name of Churchy LaFemme, a hound dog named Beauregard Bugle Boy and a porcupine called Porky Pine. There were many sub-characters that appeared from time to time and Pogo was a must-read for millions of Americans.
The illustration chosen here was done in conjunction with the first celebration of “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970. Note the trash and litter scattered as far into the forested swamp as the eye can see. Hence, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” I don’t believe that was the first time Kelly used the line, as the strip goes back to World War II, but it’s the one that is best remembered.
So… what has any of that to do with racing? Good question, and I believe I have the answer. As many of you know, I am quite active on the Twitter social media site, which can sometimes be better described as “anti-social media.” Folks with nothing better to do complain constantly on almost any subject. I can’t count the number of times I’ve exercised the option to click “I don’t like this tweet”, which makes the dissention magically disappear.
When it comes to discussions on NASCAR racing, I fear I’m as bad as anyone else. With the unprecedented decline in attendance and ratings, all of the jokes and put-downs made on social media… all of them, not just the Twitter site, only serve to exacerbate the situation and make it worse. Seeing all those empty stands at Bristol just ripped a hole in this old heart.
Then slowly came the realization that I… we… are at least part of the reason for those empty stands. Yes, the weather was more than regrettable, but in all honesty, if those tickets had been sold, the folks that bought them would have been in the area, at motels or the camp grounds and once the rain stopped, would have been in the stands. Fact is, they weren’t there!
Dear gentle readers, I think it’s time for a “Come to Jesus” meeting for all NASCAR fans! The sport that brought us all together… the sport that gave this website its name… Race Fans Forever… that sport needs our help. The very least we can do is clean up our own act. I guess I’m asking for some sort of a clean-up campaign, much as they do on Earth Day, which by the way, is coming up this Sunday. All race fans on any social media can help.
No, we can’t work miracles and we are not the total cause of the decline, and we all know that. What we can do however, is think twice before we post. “Is this the best I have to offer? Is there a softer or kinder way to say it?” How about it? Are we truly race fans? If so, let’s see what we can muster to aid and assist our top-of-the-line racing series. I’ve even made a “you-can’t-miss-it” logo for the effort.
As I said, you can’t miss it! If you agree that we, the fans, especially the ones on social media can shoulder a bit of the blame for the fall of our sport, then pass this along to friends. The more folks that know about the effort, the more difference we could make. This is in no way intended to chastise anyone for anything. It’s just a reminder that we are judged on our own words and behavior. If each one of us would be a little kinder, gentler and/or more thoughtful in our posts, this cyber world would be a so much better place. In the words of a beautiful song, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
We have met the enemy and he is us! Let’s fix that!
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout and I hope everyone out there is enjoying the old Ozark Jubilee shows I’ve found for your viewing pleasure. Red Foley’s voice just melts this old-timer.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling.
It looks so good on you!