Monday, February 6, 2012

Winning is the new losing for Presidents

        In November we will either vote for a new President of the United States or we will re-elect our current President. Either way, supporters of the winner will experience a temporary euphoria, similar to the fans of the most recent Super Bowl winners, The New York Giants. And it will be almost as great.
        In the case of the Super Bowl winner, it's great to be a fan. You get to wear the jersey, sweatshirt or hat and all of the fans of the other NFL teams have to go along with the idea that this was your year. You are the champions. You can wear the title proudly. No one will accuse you of being un-American. No one will accuse you of hating poor people. No one will openly discuss how being a NY Giants fan makes you philosophically or intellectually inferior. There will not be any character assassination. You will get to enjoy it. And next year, you get to try to do it all over again.  
        In the case of the next Presidential Election, it's not great to win. It's not great to be a fan of the winner either. And worst of all it's not great for the country, no matter who wins. Your euphoria will last about a week or two (if that long) before political opponents will begin to wear down your joy. As new President, anything and everything that goes on during your administration will be your fault. You will immediately become the butt of jokes. There will be personal attacks on the you. People will spend countless hours exaggerating your smallest flaws in an effort to make you appear stupid, un-American, racist, or just bent on the destruction of the country if your the "winner" or simply supported the winner. 
       There are entire television networks dedicated to this activity. 

       We Americans are funny people. All it takes for most of us to dislike you is for you to become President or a member of Congress. It's an American tradition to tear down our leaders. Now I will agree that in many cases it's our duty to be critical. It makes sense to question authority. It makes a lot of sense to hold people accountable.
       However, we have taken things to a bit of an extreme. These days you don't even really have to do anything wrong or controversial to be ripped to shreds politically. You can just have a different view of things. That's usually enough. It's enough to verbally ripped with unwarranted attacks, unwarranted accusations, and blatant lies. We do it with all of them.
       It's also enough to get you labeled, which is another American tradition. Keep life simple by slapping a label on someone. We throw around labels all the time. Fascist, Communist, Socialist, Liberal, bigot, tree-hugger. Yeah we're good at labeling, even if we're wrong. We like to label. That way we don't have to do the tough work of thinking. If I label you, I no longer have to consider you or your ideas as legitimate.
       What's even worse is that many people might read this and think, "Well, that's just politics. That's how it is.."
Well, that's just another sign that we're losing. When we simply accept inappropriate behaviors in politics and life because "that's just what they do," and neglect to hold them accountable, we lose. 
Why in the world do we suspend values and decency in matters of such importance? Is "that's just what they do" really good enough?
        It is true what they say, people do get the government they deserve.
        Winning isn't great, anymore.....unless you're a Giants fan. 

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