Politics as sport

I grew up in Alabama, a college football obsessed state. I now live in Ohio, another college football obsessed state. While I don't obsess on any sport, it was fun watching the University of Alabama beat Florida last week. Ohio State fans I've spoken to were also thrilled to see Florida go down. After all, the Gators smashed the Buckeyes in the 2007 National Championship Game.

It's been written many times before that sports is a modern version of ancient warfare.  A way for people to show their tribal colors without engaging in actual blood and death. While this theory rings true--there's definitely something deep inside humans which finds satisfaction as part of a group competing against another groups--I've long been troubled by the people who sprout this theory. Such smug looks on their constipated faces as they use this theory to look down on those who enjoy sports.

But this need to be part of the winning team is in all people. I've seen people who wouldn't know the difference between football and baseball get into screaming matches over that other sport of modern life, politics. Because I dare you to say that politics in countries like the United States isn't played for anything but sport.

In the U.S.A., we gin up the political outrage over issues and problems which both sides have no desire to actually solve. Never mind that these problems are people's lives. And never mind that by playing politics as sport we are consenting so many problems to be ignored. This is a shame. Making sport of problems instead of tackling them is the perfect way to never make a difference in people's lives.

Yes, far too much of politics these days is merely played as sport. The people playing have no other goal but to destroy as many enemies as possible.And that's the difference between politics as sport and true sports. When the football play is done and the quarterback's down, another player--often from the other team--is there to lend a hand and help him back up.

When was the last time you saw that happen in politics?