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The Sport of Politics.

by Kevin Slimmer 5 months ago in politics

The obsession with fandom.

Politics has morphed into sports. We root for our team instead of what's best for our country. Politics have mascots and uniforms (i.e. MAGA gear, ribbons, RESIST gear, confederate flags, etc.). We have commentators, 24-hour highlights, and televised events with play-by-play on Twitter.

Just like being a sports fan, we are biased toward our team and hate its opponents. We want our team to win and we mock those whose teams lose. We have underdogs like Bernie, libertarians, and the Green and the Tea Parties. We have the established teams like the Dems and GOP. We even have players whom we love or others love to hate (Hillary, Trump, Obama, Cruz, etc.). We have call-in talk shows to complain about our team and rip apart our opponents. We even complain about some teams having all the money.

Sports have always been about belonging and personal identity. Politics used to be about policies. If you disliked a policy, you could complain about it, regardless of who was proposing it. Now we just accept whatever our team does. We just want to win, not solely because we're right or that we have the best ideas, but mainly because we want to beat the other guy. When we do win, we celebrate like we do when a sports team wins the big one. When we lose, like in sports, we become sullen and sometimes lash out. Our bias leads us to not question the decisions of our "team." We accept that our team is right and we convince ourselves that the other "team" is wrong. Like in sports fandom, confirmation bias runs supreme as does cognitive dissonance and the Dunning Kruger effect.

Even Politicians play this game of fandom. They use us vs. them mentality. They rally their fans. They lie to keep loyalty. Politics has always been dirty, but lately, it has become dangerous. When our leaders won’t vote on legislation that will help Americans because it was proposed by the other guys, it hurts us. When our leaders won’t let a president appoint judges, it hurts us. The only way anything gets passed nowadays is for one party to have complete control. This is not what our founding fathers wanted. This leads to a pendulum of control, which can cause gridlock and entrenched divisiveness that is destroying our country. Since compromise doesn’t exist anymore, the only way to get what you want is to win all the elections. Because of this, you are now seeing political parties manipulate the voting process. Voting is supposed to be easy, not difficult. We should be trying to make voting an all-inclusive, simple, and open process. Our goals should be to bring more people into the political process, not alienate them. If one party is trying to limit voting and making it harder, you must ask yourself why. To me, at least, it feels like some people don’t want to accept the changing ideology and make-up of our country. This will only lead to increased division and possibly to a new kind of civil war.

If we continue to participate in politics and government as we do with sports, our country will continue to become more divided. If we only vote so our team wins, regardless of facts or what's better for our country, divisiveness and negative rhetoric will lead to further damage to our future. Bipartisanship is a distant memory as is individuality. I, for one, will not continue to blindly root for my "team" any longer. I will root for solving problems that save or better our lives. We need to stop hoping the guy we didn’t vote for fails. We need to stop only seeing everything they do as wrong or bad. Politics can’t be an all or nothing endeavor. As someone who despised Trump, I never wanted him to succeed even at the expense of our country. This was wrong. Also, as someone who admired Obama, I defended things he did that were wrong. This was also wrong. Rooting for my beloved Yankees and hoping they win is one thing, but treating politics and life or death situations like sports is downright irresponsible.


Kevin Slimmer

I have worked in Human Services for over 25 years. I am married with three children, living in New York. I recently finished my first novel, The Shelter, available on Amazon.

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