As this election season enters it’s final 30 days when things will get uglier – as oh so nicely announced by the campaigns! – I am feeling the need to pull back my view lest I get too caught up in the polarization of it all. The Us vs Them thing. You see, there are oh so many people on the Them side who I otherwise love and respect and generally have to live with every day 😉 I don’t want to get sucked into thinking of them is Those terms (you know, as Them vs them). Yeah, my head hurts thinking about it too.
So here’s the thing. Rather than think of it as The Most Important Election of my lifetime and start getting all “How can you possibly even believe this crap and support ‘x’ or ‘y’?” and get frustrated at people, I’ve decided to think of it in sports terms. We’re just fans of different teams! That’s all! Really really dedicated fans who support our team in good times and bad. We support our team no matter who the people are on it. Because it is not about the players, but those colors on their jersey. And if you are a member of my team, I will stick with you no matter what. Even if I did not choose for you to be on my team. It doesn’t matter. Once you put those colors on the team loyalty comes first. Both team’s fans will find a way to justify all manner of things to be supportive of their players. Much like San Fransisco Giants fans cheering mightily for their steroid created home run king Barry Bonds – who’s name and visage was literally *no where* to be found this past season now that he is out of the game. Or how Dallas Cowboys fans adore and defend their Terrel Owens – the same one they booed and threatened when he was on another team and dissed their precious Star on their stadium floor. Or how Dodgers fans suddenly LOVE Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez. Oh, wouldn’t a Dodger/Red Sox series be INTRIGUING?? I know, you would think I would root for the blue team on that one, but there is just no way 😉
So when my head is spinning trying to figure out how people can defend and support the other side, I take a deep breath and remember that they have to. That is their team.
I also always try to believe that everyone’s motivations are pure. Joe Biden mentioned a story about that in the VP debate. When asked about when in his political career he has had a change of heart or mind he told a story about being locked into a very deep battle with Jesse Helms where he was starting to think personally ill of Jesse, when another Senator reminded Joe that Jesse was doing the job for the same reasons – he had a family to support who’s future he cared about. He loved his country as much as Joe did. They just approached the solutions to the problems from differnet angles, but their motivations were based on the same things. Now, the truly cynical can argue quite correctly that there are probably more than one or two politicians who’s motives may not be completely pure, but I don’t choose to look at the world, or other people, that way.
So for the next 30 days I will root for my team, some of you will root for yours, and in the end we will shake hands and say “good game”.