The internet age has brought about many great things, but the never-ending, 24/7, “everything is political” state of the world isn’t one of them.
We were always taught if you wanted to make new friends, or do well on a job interview, you never talked about politics.
Why? Because politics divide people. Talking politics makes people angry. Political discussions lead to arguments and hurt feelings.
As 2017 comes to a close and 2018 looms just six weeks away, politics and political correctness has seeped into just about every facet of life – and it is not a good thing.
Take coffee for instance. Many adults enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. Some people might put the old-fashioned percolator on the countertop, while other folks might use the new-fangled “K-cup,” single serving coffee makers such as the Keurig.
Keurig recently pulled its ads from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show after he urged people not to rush to judge Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore who is facing allegations he pursued relationships with teen girls when he was in his 30s.
During a show segment, Hannity said Moore “deserves the presumption of innocence” and that “none of us know the truth” about the allegations.
Apparently, Keurig felt it needed to divorce its brand from Hannity and his views. But if the company is so worried about associating its brand with political views, why would it run ads on a political opinion show in the first place?
Our guess is Hannity has a huge national audience and Keurig wanted its ads broadcast during his show in order to reach as many people as possible. Obviously, Keurig has sales goals to achieve, right?
After Keurig announced it was pulling its ads, a fight started brewing. Viewers who support Hannity went ballistic and started posting videos smashing and destroying Keurig coffee makers in a variety of ways.
Hannity even tossed some fuel into the fire with some social media comments.
Keurig thrust itself into the political spotlight, or possibly was forced to by some group, which in turn completely angered yet a different group of citizens. Either way, this is not good for Keurig.
On Tuesday, Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort tried to diffuse the situation, and it appears he was successful. Gamgort sent an email to employees explaining the company advertises on both liberal and conservative networks, “which will continue.” The full email is online at The Washington Post website.
As the situation unfolded, Hannity told his television viewers to stop smashing the coffee machines.
If Keurig goes back to advertising on the Hannity show, some political element certainly will trash the company on social media and boycott its products for advertising on a “conservative network.” If Keurig doesn’t start running ads on the Hannity show again, many of the show’s supporters may stop buying Keurig products altogether.
It’s a no-win situation.
Yet another point of view is that Keurig received more national attention over the last several days than the company could ever afford to buy through advertising. Will this attention result in more sales? Hard to know, but we don’t think so.
The “everything is political” state of the world is “no win.” Nobody wins when any subject, company, issue or outlook is politicized because, by definition, politicization means taking sides.
The National Football League is another great example. More than halfway through the NFL season, television viewership and game attendance numbers are down.
NFL fans picked a side when the player protests during the national anthem began and it is not clear who is better off – the proponents or the opponents.
It is hard to visualize where this hyper-sensitive, no tolerance, pick-a-side perspective on life will lead. The country certainly seems more divided than ever, but how do you measure that division?
Will people smash their housewares and throw away other things they’ve spent hard-earned money on because of a company’s stance on an issue? Perhaps.
Will all the discord push people to unplug by not watching political shows and staying off social media? It will push some.
What did we learn growing up about making new friends and acquaintances?
When in doubt, talk about the weather. Sounds like good advice.