If you have a favorite sports team, you know how it is. You’re rabidly, illogically devoted to them. If a bad call is made, it’s always against your team. You never acknowledge that your team got an advantage. Though you might complain to other fans about your common team, you will NEVER let the opposition’s fans know your team is imperfect.
Yankees fan: What’s with the Mets making that trade?
Mets fan: (knowing the trade was awful) I think he’s got potential. Just wait – this is going to be our year.
Yankees fan: Of course we win every year. We’re just that good.
Mets fan: Of course they win all the time, they have ridiculous amounts of cash to spend on whoever they want.
When my son was about 9 years old, he dedicated his life to the New York Giants. He’s the kind of kid that never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings. He’s the kid that doesn’t want any one mad at him. So we had to have a talk.
Me: You know, sports is the one place where people can kinda mean and insult each other and it’s okay.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Well, some people are going to tell you the Giants stink. And it’s okay. You can even tell them their team stinks.
Him: confused look
Me: It’s okay, just be prepared. Hating on the other team is part of the fun.
His first day at school wearing his Giants jersey was a big life lesson. Within a few weeks, though, he learned to razz his teachers and classmates when the Giants won or their team didn’t. He figured out that them picking on his team just made him more fiercely loyal.
That’s how it is with sports, and that works. Because in the end, sports is a kind of entertainment.
It seems that some people take the same philosophy and apply it to politics. They pick a team, put on the jersey, practice the cheer, and refuse to see any imperfections. They hate their opponent with all the joy of booing a rival football team.
The difference is that politics shouldn’t be entertainment. It should be about what you truly want for your country or state or city. It shouldn’t be about all the “cool players” being on your team. It should be about what they’re planning to do.
Too many of us pick a team because one person is charming or another is snooty, or someone else has an annoying voice, or someone associates with someone we don’t like.
He’s dishonest. She’s stupid. He’s a crook. She cheats. He doesn’t speak well. Worse, he belongs to this, that, or the other ethnic group or demographic. Let’s not forget blind party affiliations.
Before going any further with character analysis, how about asking some important questions.
What are their goals?
How do they plan to achieve them?
Do I think, based on what I know and read and hear from experts, that this plan will work?
Do I agree with the goal in the first place?
If you plan to support a particular leader based on soundbites, character assassination, or personality, I suggest you look deeper. Think about the issues. Form some opinions FIRST. Then find out whose goals most closely matches your beliefs.
Save your undying loyalty for the soccer finals.
The sacred duty of electing a leader of our country deserves a bit more consideration.