Subscribe to the IHARE Blog

State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Friday Night Lights: Risking Lives for the Dow

Friday Night Lights versus the Coronavirus (

We have now celebrated V-Zero Day over the coronavirus per the White House Council of Economic Advisers. In a few days we will be looking back at the crisis per the Vice President of the United States. Next month we will be back to normal per the son in-law of the President of the United States. We have prevailed. There is light at the end of the tunnel per the President of the United States. We’re back!

What does it mean to be back to normal? For Trumpicans, the coronavirus crisis has been an economic crisis and not a medical crisis. People in New York got the virus. People in prisons did. People in nursing homes did. You know…those people did. Real Americans didn’t get the coronavirus.  As a person at a plaza in an Atlanta suburb said:

“When you start seeing where the cases are coming from and the demographics⸺I’m not worried.” (quoted in the Washington Post and by Michelle Goldberg, NYT 5/19/20).

The counter quotation on the same day was by Rebecca Patterson the girlfriend of Ron Wilkins in Texas who endured 37 days on a ventilator and has the medical bills to show it.

“People don’t really understand how serious this is until they know somebody who’s going through it. It’s only a matter of time before everyone in the country knows someone. I don’t know what the solution is but I don’t think hurrying to open is it.” (USA Today, 5/19/20).

If she was a Trumpican, it doesn’t seem like she is anymore.

Friday Night Lights

Sports, like every other segment of society, has been part of the coronavirus crisis. The Olympics have been postponed. Professional basketball and hockey seasons ended. Tennis tournaments and gold matches weren’t held. There was no “Play ball” for baseball. Football is trying to figure out what to do. Colleges are struggling with how to play sports if there are no students on campus or in the stands. But what about high school sports which affects every community in the country?

Friday Night Lights has been a book, a movie, and a TV series. It carved out a niche for itself as a tale of the role of high school football in a Texan community. It almost was an anthropological window into the way of life of a people and with a story to boot. Even people who were not from a Friday Night Light community themselves were drawn into its storylines of small town life with larger than life meaning.

But besides all that other stuff, it also was about football, about high school kids playing football, about high school kids playing football with practices in August which is only a few months away. Forget about all the talk about reopening schools in September for a moment and think about reopening football practice in a little over two months. Kids practice wearing helmets not masks; they practice near each other with no social distancing; and they sweat a lot especially in the hot and humid south.

And then there are the games. In a Friday Nights Light community, the whole town turns out for the games. It is not like high school in urban communities especially ones with professional sports. It’s tough enough to get coverage of college games yet along high school games there. Friday Night Lights and College Town football are different worlds from City Professional sports. Are you going to deprive these communities of the events that are essential to the social fabric of a community?

The game is more than a game. The whole community is involved. Politicians, families, local businesses, churches…you name it, it is part of the experience. So are the after game parties. So are the caravans to the away games. So is sitting in the stands. Real men don’t wear masks. Real Americans don’t get coronavirus. Who’s going to tell people in the stands to wear masks? Who’s going to tell them to sit apart? Who’s going to enforce it? Friday Night Light life poses an immense challenge if the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the son in-law of the President of the United States, and the White House Council of Economic Advisers are wrong and we have not prevailed, are not looking back, and there still is no light at the end of tunnel.


Friday Night Lights are not the only places where people gather on a weekly basis. There also is Sunday morning church. That debate isn’t waiting for August, it’s happening now. Weekly services are part of the routine of life for millions of Americans. For others who attend church for marriages, funerals, and the big holidays, the world of people who religiously attend weekly is as remote as Friday Night Lights football communities are. Simply being there in a religious building on a regular basis is part of the way millions bring order to chaos, strengthen themselves for the days to come, and find comfort. Are you going to deprive people of what is essential to their way of life?

We know that people gathered together indoors for an extensive period of time provide a ripe venue for the spread of the coronavirus. Outbreaks have occurred when simply one person has attended such family and religious events. People may not be in churches for as long as they are in a nursing home, a prison, a meat plant, or a cruise ship, but at this point, no one knows how much time it takes to spread the virus. It’s one thing for people to be willing to take the risk with their own lives; it is quite another for them to risk the lives of others. That’s the equivalent of not taking a vaccine.

Political Rallies

Our president feeds on the adulation of people who have accepted him as their Lord and Savior, the Chosen One, Blessed Be his Name. How long can he go without being fed? How long can they go without praising his name, laughing at his insults, and reciting the approved chants? He needs his rallies.

These rallies are indoors and for long periods of time.

No one who wears a mask will be allowed inside. Only Fox will be able to cover the events, the mainstream media won’t be able to.

Only Trumpicans will be present. They are immune to the coronavirus and the crisis is over.

Is there any doubt that Trumpicans will flock by the thousands to rally on behalf of their Lord and Savior once they are finally able to? After all, what could possibly happen to them?

Trumpican Presidential Convention

The single longest and largest concentration of Trumpicans will occur this August at the Trumpican coronation. Nobody will be allowed to wear a mask and there will be armed freedom fighters stationed at the entrances to ensure that no weak and wimpy people are allowed in. There will be no social distancing either. For days, Trumpicans by the thousands will rally indoors on behalf of their leader. And then they will walk the streets of the city in search of food and alcohol where they can continue the celebration. After all, what could possibly happen to them? We have prevailed, we are looking back, and we have reached the light at the end of tunnel.

The reopening of the country will pose many problems. First is the lack of reliable information from our national government. Second is the lack of reliable information from our state governments. Third is the belief in one’s invulnerability which doesn’t end when you stop being a teenager. Fourth is the fact that we are social animals who need to be with other people and touch them physically. Fifth is the origin of this country with the “Don’t Tread on Me” ethos that complicates the challenge of getting people to obey the government or common sense. And finally, of course, there is our impulsive immature child president who lives in an imaginary world where he creates his truth simply by speaking it and helped cause this crisis to begin with. All these factors do not bode well for the reopening.