Recent headlines in newspapers:
“Obama Up by 5 Points in Iowa,” ”Down to the Final Pitch,” ”Party Planning, for Both Victory and Defeat,” ”Heavy Hitters Swing for Liz Home Run.”
As you might have guessed, I wasn’t reading the sports section.
Now, this is election season, so those sports metaphors make a fair deal of sense. People will win and lose on election day, and I, at least, can’t think of a better way to phrase that. The problem is that winning and losing in politics has stopped being reserved for elections. The two years in each term of Congress is now one long baseball season. I like baseball, but that is bad.
We no longer have arguments or debates over policy. We have battles. We have fights. When healthcare reform passed, it was reported as a victory for Democrats and a defeat for Republicans. However, “victory” and “defeat” didn’t tell people what the bill actually did. Those words did nothing more than tell you to be happy if you were a Democrat and upset if you were a Republican.
It’s not just healthcare, of course. Every piece of legislation is framed in terms of conflict, and only rarely in terms of what the legislation actually does. People are encouraged to back their side instead of looking into what the argument is about. It has become professional sports; games are played not for some higher purpose but instead to decide winners and losers. A legislator’s job has become to simply be a part of the team, to help their team win. Their opponents’ errors are not things which impact the country, but opportunities to win the next game. And no game is bigger than the election.
I am a Red Sox fan. When questioned about them, I am inclined to defend and/or ignore the worst attributes of their players and coaches. I can not envision anything that could change that; being a fan means you’re a fan for life. Politics should not be treated the same way. Your “team’s” loss may not be your loss. If your “team” does something stupid, you shouldn’t keep rooting for them just because you always have and always will. You have a choice; no one will mock you for switching sides (unless you do so while in office). Rather, they will be more inclined to think of you as an independent, someone capable of thinking for themselves. People should be voters, not fans.
About the Author (Author Profile)Ryan is studying journalism in the college of communication. He hails from Rochester, New York, and is slowly growing tired of explaining that it's really quite far from NYC. He watches far too much sports and likes to think of his life as a really long (and occasionally boring) book. His guilty pleasures include most of the music from the 1980s and every movie Sylvester Stallone ever starred in.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Judged by the Color of Your State | Culture Shock | November 12, 2012