LeBron James Is The Problem

LeBron James posed for a Sports Illustrated cover after winning their gender neutral Sportsperson of the Year award, and if you look closely at his lapel you’ll see a big safety pin that his assistant ordered on Amazon. Most likely he ordered many different types so LeBron could choose which one would look the best on his suit. You don’t want to go too big and get a Baby Huey one, it will look like a novelty item. Too small and nobody will notice. This one is just right.

People began wearing safety pins in England to signify that they did not agree with the Brexit vote, as they deemed it a product of racism and xenophobia. The movement was co-opted by some Americans following the election of Donald Trump to signify opposition to his campaign rhetoric. The pin has the word “safety” in it. It is meant to identify others who share your sentiment, so that you may know they are a “safe” person, so that you may share some “safe space” with them.

Many Twitter users have posted photos of them wearing safety pins on Twitter. It should be noted that safety pins are one of the cheapest items sold in stores, and that applying one takes about as much time as posting a photo to Twitter. Point being, it requires minimal effort.

Voting, on the other hand, does take a decent chunk out of your day. First you have to register to vote. It depends on the state, but you must do this at least one day before the election. Ideally, you want to read up on all the issues before voting. Not just the presidential candidates, but various local and state representatives who will be governing you. Judges. Various ballot initiatives which could actually affect your life. Say, hypothetically, you have a relative in jail for marijuana possession. Here’s your chance to write a wrong, and vote to legalize pot.

If you don’t feel like going to the polls, you can register to vote by mail. Note: You must buy a stamp. This is a pain in the ass. Now, from the comfort of your own home, you can fill out your ballot and mail it in. Like most people, you may also choose to visit your polling place. Depending on whether you live in a rich or poor neighborhood, or rich or poor state, this process will take you anywhere from 4 minutes to seven hours.

Regardless, it takes considerably more mental and physical energy than applying a safety pin to your thousand dollar jacket, and you’ve got to wonder how many people wearing these safety pins are posers who didn’t even take the time to vote. People who take to Twitter to showcase their social justice solidarity instead doing anything practical to change things. LeBron James is one of those people. LeBron didn’t vote. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton, but didn’t vote in the Democratic primaries or in the general election.

A two minute search shows that the last time LeBron last voted in 2004. While living in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, where his vote actually mattered, LeBron missed quite a few elections.

LeBron portrays himself as a socially conscious person in the media. He spoke out about the Trayvon Martin, Donald Sterling, Eric Garner and other issues, and has been active in charity work in his hometown of Akron. All of that is well and good, but barring a coup by armed militia, the only way to make a difference is to vote.

LeBron, however, is not interested in voting. He’s interested in telling you who to vote for, but not in voting himself. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it’s slightly more difficult to vote than to apply a safety pin, or post your abbreviated opinions on Twitter, or dictate a few sentences with a recorder in front of your face, or dawn a black hoodie for a photo opp. Seriously, where can you even get stamps? The post office? Fuuuuuuk that.

Spending time on Twitter does not make you a hero, and hashtags which involve you sharing a cute picture of yourself wearing a safety pin just make you look like a twit. (Read: The ice bucket challenge was in no way actually challenging.) Activism is becoming increasingly passive. Sometimes it actually entails not doing something. So, basically the opposite of activism. I’m not going to class today to protest Trump. I’m not going to wear a bra to protest the topless laws. I’m not going to wear makeup to protest societal standards for women. I’m not going to stand up for the national anthem (Kaepernick didn’t vote either.) You even have to wonder how many people in the streets protesting Trump actually took the time to vote against him. I’d maintain voting is even more difficult than that, since you have to remember the day.

LeBron’s a hypocrite, and the epitome of the slacktivist Twittersphere. He may be socially conscious, but he cares more about appearing to be conscious than he does actually doing anything.

He’s also doing a lot of this for his own brand. Of course, a lot of those guys at the Vietnam protests were just trying to get laid too. Nonetheless, it’s time to stop talking now.

That should work for your lazy asses right, say you’re doing it to raise awareness for autism.

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Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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