Alabama and Auburn, the Yankees and Red Sox, the Lakers and Celtics, North Carolina and Duke, Clemson and everyone. Sports rivals hate one another. It’s a universal truth.
As if that wasn’t enough. Politics are the official sport of the country.
Never mind the upcoming Super Bowl because it’s got nothing on the American government.
Take the words now used in politics or the political “arena.” Therein alone is the hatred commonly reserved for blindly calling out one’s rivals in less-than-friendly competitions. Check any comment section on Facebook — or better yet, don’t — and you’ll see immediate reactions that devolve more into name calling and less in actual problem solving. It’s a lot like when your favorite team bends the rules. Fans will defend ’till the death no matter the violation. Ask any of the New England Patriots’ fans about Tom Brady and air in the team’s footballs. A high percentage will either say it was unimportant or it didn’t happen at all. Now where have I heard that response?
Politics too often employ the rhetoric of sports: someone who disagrees with your method of governing is a “political rival.” Less obvious but more insidious are the reactions of online masses once a piece of legislation is passed or a particular politician wins an election: it’s treated as if a “side” claims victory instead of the country or state benefiting or even pinpointing the gains for the people. Trump’s rallies are more like the Iron Bowl than a campaign for election; Pelosi can be seen fist-bumping in interviews over her job in the impeachment. This is far from disturbing. It’s dangerous.
And now we have full-blown, head-to-toe gear for this shit! Granted there was always the bumper stickers and cardboard fans, often reserved for the campaign trails. Long gone are the car stickers of yesteryear that simply proclaimed “Reagan/Bush ’84.” Instead, it’s and outright attack to someone who differs on how to govern than you. A cursory online search brings up a shirt that shows Trump gobbling up the likes of the Clintons and Obama as if he’s Pac-Man. That’s a lot more pleasant than other memorabilia. MAGA hats are now a symbol far beyond an acronym or even an entire ideology but now a signal a type of person. Was there ever a time during the Jimmy Carter administration that people drove around with pictures of the Georgian’s face stuck to their windshields or when pictures of George H.W. Bush decorated high school students’ notebooks? Such is not uncommon now.
The implicit menace of it all builds to good ideas falling on deaf ears, to common sense being quite uncommon. Countless numbers of people vote by simply looking at the letter beside the name on the ballot and not the person. Think about that! It certainly takes the work off the electorate: a dead dog could carry Alabama if he was Republican and perhaps the same could be said about a Democrat in Portland, Oregon.
Perhaps a more sagacious country would eliminate parties altogether, but that would force electors’ hands by having them read up on a legislator’s policies or stances. With no D or R beside the name, would people sincerely know who deserves their vote? How many more problems could be fixed if we had to talk about the solution rather than coming up with names like “diseased” for someone associated with a specific political party?
The world’s literally on fire, but hey, at least your team’s winning.