This was a big sports week across the nation, but was even bigger here on campus as the Owls took down Middlebury. Because of the allure of the Super Bowl, many people overlooked the fact that there was both a primary and a caucus, in Florida and Nevada respectively. This collusion of sports and politics got me thinking about the ever evolving role that “sports mentality” is beginning to play in politics.
It’s difficult to talk politics with a majority of people today without hearing that said mentality. From the dire “I would rather DIE than vote DEMOCRAT,” to the overreaching “ Why are REPUBLICANS so DUMB?,” the sports mentality is beginning to take over the way we discuss politics, and it is far from a good thing.
The sports mentality leads one to blindly support a cause or candidate without any specific reasons other than, “Well he is in MY party…” It has caused an immense amount of competition, to the point where few are beginning to care about the end goal; what matters is if they score their points, in the rhetorical sense.
It causes stay-at-home pundits, and more often than not, professional talking heads too, to overlook good policy and sound ideas because it does not come from the Right or the Left.
A fine example of this mentality is the growing way in which those on the Left and those on the Right communicate and regard each other. I have always liked to say that a large chunk of my friends from home are conservative and believe it or not, we find a way to leave politics out of the conversation.
However, one particular friend can’t help himself and will try to get into a debate every chance he gets. He educates himself by watching television, which also leads to quite a few discussions, but that is neither here nor there.
Instead of having a civil and intelligent debate, it quickly dissolves into “Why are you Democrats always so greedy?” or my personal favorite “The best thing you liberals can do is leave!” and, oh yeah, did I mention he is a HUGE sports fan? This is the sports mentality at work.
The sports mentality in politics has made the electorate more polarized and has created an air of competition in Washington, and across the country that, I for one, think is toxic.
Our generation is becoming what I like to call “the tolerant generation” because of our views on social issues, and that tolerance is greatly needed in America’s political arena today. We need to put left and right aside and start looking at what policies are best for all of us, not what is best for whatever particular party we choose to belong to. It is up to the “Tolerant Generation” to change the discussion and our disastrous course.
Jordan Posner can be contacted at email@example.com