OpEd

"Super Bowl" in Pristina

Taylor Swift and the future of Europe

1.

I fell at ten last Sunday evening and woke up half an hour before Monday's departure.

It was the final game of the American football "Superbowl", once in my student youth I had played this sport and I had a kind of affinity - I wouldn't call it passion - for it. However, the affinity was enough to stay up until five in the morning to watch a dynamic match taking place in Las Vegas for the first time.

And, for the first time in as long as I can remember, there was even a little political undertone in what I've never heard of in American sports. So, yes in Europe it is known that Real fans have a tendency of political beliefs closer to the Spanish conservative center (or they had this) and those of Barcelona closer to the Catalan nationalists. And, yes, there is a difference in political anime between Inter and Rome and, yes, there are differences between Partizan and C. Zvezda in Serbia. The list will be long and full of stories about why the Italian fascists loved one team, the Basque manufacturers another and the Czechoslovak communists a third. But in America, there is no political significance, in any sport, of who will win.

And so it was supposed to happen in the American football final between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49'ers. If a poll was conducted among American football fans (and any other sport), it would not be investigated which teams are preferred by the Democrats and which by the Republicans, and this should also apply to the teams that entered the finals.

But then Taylor Swift appeared.

2.

Until recently I knew about Taylor Swift's boyfriend, Travis Kelce. He is one of the best players of Kansas City and as such he was a popular sports icon and then became part of pink magazines, TV stories about the VIP scene and the like, since it was understood that his girlfriend was Taylor Swift.

People like my work didn't know who Taylor Swift is and they wouldn't even care after the news that she is the girlfriend of one of America's top football players. But last year "TIME" magazine declared Taylor Swift the person of the year in 2023. Thus, what I knew as the girlfriend of Travis Kelce turned out to be on the same list of personalities with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, J. Stalin, Pope John Paul II and Francis, Yasser Arafat and Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth.

He seems to be an extremely successful person who has already accumulated a fortune of over a billion dollars through songs, concerts and similar events. I went to listen to some of her songs and it seems to me that it will be difficult to remember any of them after a few days, let alone a few months and years (for example Madonna, although it is not part of the music I listen to , however almost forty years ago it was a similar musical phenomenon, there are still songs that are sung as weekly hits on radio stations around the world). But, as the Romans said "de gustibus non disputandum est" (tastes are not disputed).

However, on the night of the "Superbowl" the presence of Taylor Swift in the stadium (after a 20-hour flight straight from the concert in Tokyo) gave a political twist to the match between the two teams, because a few weeks earlier it was rumored in the serious media that she would to come out in public support for the candidacy of President Biden for the 2024 elections.

3.

The warning that Taylor Swift could come out in support of President Biden was first given serious media by the president's campaign circles. Then, in a flurry of reactions against the singer and various conspiracy theories about her boyfriend and the football team, the media circles close to former president Trump arose.

And that was enough to worry me. Not so much because I didn't know who Taylor Swift is; this has to do with other cultural affinities as much as the age gap with the music of those in their twenties. It was worrying because Taylor Swift was heralded as one of the strongest weapons of the Biden campaign, a weapon that should mobilize the generation of first-time voters or new voters. And it was troubling because the Trump campaign considered the warning of Taylor Swift's involvement in the campaign so dangerous that it launched a smear campaign against the possibility, even against her.

If Taylor Swift is the tipping point for one presidential candidate or the other, that describes the state of democracy in America. And, when this person is a personality of the year who has the same weight for civilization as Charles de Gaulle or Nelson Mandela (both in "TIME") then this can describe the magazine's fallen criteria or/and at the same time it also describes the time of degraded in which we live.

4.

President Biden was described in an official investigative report (regarding forgotten official documents in the basement of the house) as "an elderly man with a poor memory," a description the president would have to contend with throughout the campaign. Former President Trump, in his daily stream of mentally immature sentences, explained how he would invite Russia to attack any NATO member state that did not pay its budget of 2 percent of gross national product.

President Biden is today the oldest president in office that America has had. If he wins the election, Trump would be the oldest president at the end of his term. In this race to prove that one candidate is not affected by the loss of mental faculties from age and the other candidate is much more serious and wise than his spoken words suggest, the news that Taylor Swift will lead the way in one aside, it seems to me to transcend the common European interpretation that sees these as American extravagances. If Taylor Swift is what drives young voters to President Biden, this issue will not only be about awakening the American youth or strengthening the liberal vote. This has to do essentially, as things stand today, with European security, because the USA, a predictable democracy as we know it since the end of the Second World War, is the biggest European power. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, even numerically smaller Europeans such as the Albanians, who even have a special relationship with America, discovered this.

In the next seven months, Taylor Swift may trade her fandom for Team Kansas City for Team Biden. In a tough, nerve-racking game, Kansas City won with three seconds left in overtime. Maybe it's good metaphorical warning for the presidential race. And, moreover, for the insecurity that the European continent feels in this constellation of things.