Ya, ya, I know it is called soccer here. For the life of me, I do not know why. A game where the ball meets the foot just for a brief moment and stays ninety nine percent of the time in the hands of players, is called football? Then why the game where the ball is kicked around all the time by feet is not called handball? I am digressing. Not here to discuss about the origins of football, soccer or handball.
This is the season of the mecca of American football, the Super Bowl 50. I am not going to talk about it. There is enough going around on all types of media about Super Bowl 50. What I want to talk about is the quadrennial US political game of presidential election and its corresponding nomination process. America is in a constant political rally mode, a never ending cycle of some or other elections going on at all times. Crown jewel of these political games is the presidential election. Like all games, this election game also needs some issues to be kicked around. and that leads to the analogy to football. Sorry US soccer or football fans, I am referring to the internationally recognized game of football here.
Every election, specially the presidential election, must have at least one, if not more, issue to be kicked around like the football. Majority of the time the football just gets kicked around everywhere on the playing field, except a few times when a goal is scored. My experience has shown that in the American political football game, the football only gets kicked around and never a goal is scored. It does not matter what party the candidate is from. If the candidates are challengers, kicking is more forceful. If the candidate is an incumbent, it’s more of a defensive mode of play. Incumbency has its privileges. If you can defend sufficiently well, you are home free, set for life. No need to worry about anything anymore. As a corollary, if an incumbent gets elected then every eight years the game becomes more entertaining as challengers from each party tries to kick the ball as hard as possible to try to show their supporters that they are serious about scoring a goal.
Let’s look at the ball. As in actual football games, every election is played with different balls. Unlike real football games, the shape and size do not stay same. Shape and size in political football games varies with the season. They also come in different hues. From the “trickle down economics” to lift everybody to the top that resulted in the top one percent controlling ninety percent plus of the finances and near obliteration of the middle class and poor becoming poorer, to “read my lips, no new taxes” or “it is the economy, stupid” to “Monicagate”, to “strategory / lock boxes” to “WMD” to “Obamacare”, there have never been a dearth of issues or balls in American political football game. Never mind the none of the issues have ever been resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. No one has scored a decisive goal yet, though everyone had claimed partial victories.
So which ball will be played in this year’s game of American political football between the donkeys and the elephants? Does it really matter based on the results of all the previous games? I have a theory that I will present shortly in another post today in the form of a poem titled “Of Donkeys and Elephants”. I wrote that poem about two years back just before another election cycle to humor my son who thought my earlier poems were too dark. That poem is one of the few poems I wrote that had seen the light of the printed words. Let me know what you think the ball in this cycle of the game will be or if you agree with what I say in the poem.
5 thoughts on “American Political Football”
Thus far, since the parties are in primary mode, focused on ripping themselves apart in the attempt to pick a nominee, they are using different “balls.” The Democrats are focusing on issues and proposals, trying to be the cognitive party with ideas to take us forward. Their cognitive “ball” includes campaign finance reform, medical care and social security, and income inequality. Sadly, they are generally staying away from their key strength at this point – foreign policy (or national security, to look at it from that perspective). The Republicans, and Donald Trump (you’ll notice I made him a separate entity) are focused more on feelings and reactions, and on raising the screech level, trying to be the emotive party with the passion to connect to voters who are uncomfortable with a new America that includes women, non-whites, gays, and all those weird foreigners who seem to be A-rabs whatever them damn liberals seem to think they are. People frightened by a complicated world in which America isn’t #1 “just because,” in which America, and Americans, must compete with other nations and other peoples for greatness, for influence, for jobs, for foreign investments, etc. Their emotive “ball” includes fear and anger, directed anywhere it can get to, regardless of pesky facts (like Fiorina’s nonsense about the “abortion film” that showed a miscarriage – not an actual abortion – and which had no soundtrack, so nobody said anything about anything, let alone “harvesting brains”). Once we get past the feeding frenzy of the primaries, in which the sharks are simply eating each other, and we get past the conventions in July, the parties will start looking hungrily at each other, and they may start using some of the same “ball” to kick around.
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Thanks for your extremely analytical response. Enjoyed reading it.
I personally always try to find some humor in everything I see. Not possible always, but keeps me going. My follow up poem, “Of Donkeys and Elephant” is an attempt in that direction. Appreciate your comments on that, whenever you have time.
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This was a great read, I like the analogy of football, fun read yet at the same time you do have a very good understanding about politics. Believe it or not I’m a political junkie, been born into a family involved in it in some form or another. And reading this I can obviously see that you do have a good understanding of it. I might add that it happens in the US as well as here in Spain and other western countries. Not exactly the same obviously but the base line is there.
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Thank your for your comment. Glad that you liked it. Politics is big business and like any business where money, specially untraceable money, is concerned it is a corrupt business.
Yes, and here in Spain corruption is the norm in a lot of political cases in all parties.
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