Sunday, October 10, 2010

Elections and Football Games

I was watching a football game yesterday, Saturday, October 9th and there was a stoppage of play to review a play. As it was near the end of the game between LSU and Florida, all seemed to be glued to the field to see and hear what the officials would decide. And it dawned on me to wonder why. After all, neither of these teams will be in the running for a national championship, neither of the coaches is in danger of losing his job, and the outcome of the game will have no impact whatsoever on the pro prospects of any player on the field. So what was all the fuss about?

Then I remembered that some years ago I got a paper from a student comparing our political system to the Super Bowl. That is, we were the spectators and the two teams on the field were the Republicans and the Democrats. Of course, we had nothing at all to do with the action on the field, had no control over it whatsoever, and could only sit, cheer, and hope that "our team" would win. I thought that this was a pretty good paper then and think so now, emphasizing at it did the passive character imposed on us by our political arrangements. And for me, this is not too far from what the "Founders," some of the "Founders," wanted. As I like to say, the "Founders" sought to stretch the links between the government and the people in order to empower the government and disempower us, the people, at least to a significant extent. Not break the links between us and the government but to stretch them quite significantly.

However, now I see another dimension to the analogy, viz., that whatever the outcome on the field, it will have no impact on anything of any importance, like your life or my life or the direction of our country. Just like the outcome of the LSU/Florida football game I watched on Saturday. Oh yes, it is exciting and it is fun to watch. But it was, strictly speaking and quite literally, of NO CONSEQUENCE! Just like our elections! And, of course, this is the expected result when the political parties in existence are status quo parties and collude with each other to maintain the status quo.

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