Politics these days tend to rear its ugly head in the strangest places, ranging from auto racing to the North Pole and onto YouTube.

In case you’ve been in hibernation in the vicinity of Santa’s workshop, here’s a little background about a chant by the good ole boys of NASCAR that unwittingly made a hero out of Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown on the occasion of his first series victory.

The boys in their Make America Great Again caps were having a time hurling an expletive at their least favorite sitting president when an NBC commentator managed to twist it into a “Let’s Go Brandon” tribute. The expression immediately went viral.

Comes now President Joe Biden, taking care of a little PR work by speaking to the nation’s children about tracking Santa Claus via NORAD. One of the calls happened to involve the Oregon family of Jared Schmeck, who it is probably safe to say did not vote for Biden last year. After the president wished Schmeck a wonderful Christmas, he responded, “I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well, and Let’s Go Brandon.”

Apparently those handling the call were right on top of the situation, because the connection was terminated right there. Thus, according to Schmeck, he didn’t hear Biden’s response until the news media jumped on it with both feet later: “Let’s Go Brandon, I agree.”

We are left to draw our own conclusions about the president’s response. Either (1) he understood the significance of the expression while choosing to sluff it off as an ill-timed political statement, or (2) he doesn’t have a clue and once again proved it. The media, of course, lined up according to their wont, either gleefully reporting the episode or blasting it as a slur.

Schmeck, interviewed later, indicated he meant no disrespect but wanted to express his frustration with the president and his administration. “He’s the one who made this a story, that’s why they’re mad about it. Once I realized it was on global television, I was pretty surprised, and I have to say it was pretty darn funny. We really had a good laugh about it.”

The Let’s Go Brandon expression already had inspired a rap song posted on a YouTube video by Bryson Gray, Tyson James and Chandler Crump, which vaulted to the No. 1 spot on iTunes. YouTube has since taken down the video, citing “medical misinformation” among the lyrics concerning vaccination and such.

Brown has been quoted as indicating mixed emotions over being upstaged in his NASCAR career, probably understandable under the circumstances, as he’s become an unwitting hero in sarcastic opposition to a politician.

Is Let’s Go Brandon a slur? It probably would be more accurate to say it represents a slur, and as such it’s a covert way of dissing a sitting president in a fun sort of way. At least it’s fun, depending on one’s political point of view.

Jim Bailey’s column appears Thursdays in the Herald Bulletin. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

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