Editorial: Nation Biggest Loser In Latest Political Game

Saturday, October 26, 2013, Vol. 6, No. 44

Think of this as a game that two people want to play with each other but not let anyone else intrude upon, especially those most affected by the game.

They have their own game board called Washington, numerous news channels and talk shows devoted specifically to the game and in every state of the union they have another capital where relatives play another part of the game.

In order to play they have to get elected by people who can’t play the game. But once they get elected, they then get to draw their own district lines and essentially make up new rules for getting to play the game.

The whole idea beyond that is to make your opponent look bad by labeling whatever they do as part of a mindset of ideology that is consistently bad for America. There is no consistency here because there is no real ideology in play. Today’s conservative is tomorrow’s liberal is yesterday’s conservative.

There really isn’t much difference no matter which side of the aisle a player sits on.

Players on both sides of the aisle will tell you they speak for the people and offer their election by the people as proof.

But increasingly our elections are just part of the game – a small percentage of voters reacting to their buttons being pushed in the spin from both sides. If you play, you want to go for the button labeled “fear.” But the one for “blind party loyalty” requires less effort.

A shutdown of the federal government isn’t really a shutdown. It is enough of a shutdown that employees don’t get paychecks when they should. But those playing the game still get paid promptly because they’ve made the rules that say that’s the way it should be.

And when they resolve the shutdown, the resolution is only temporary because the game must continue – although one side says the other side has likely learned its lesson. There are no lessons here.

When the game reaches the state level, many of the same rules apply. And victories for each side count toward that side’s national tally as long as no problems are solved.

Take our election problems here in Shelby County. That was a risky time for both sides in the game because it looked for a brief time like there was enough outrage outside the game to make changes that might have nothing to do with the game – make no contribution toward the bottom line of points toward winning and losing.

Luckily, each side met the challenge and quickly made the legitimate outrage over specific documented problems apart from the technology vanish with a torrent of distractions about technology and library cards. Then there could be no bipartisan consensus without risking one’s status as a player.

And remaining a player in a game that never ends is what winning is about – not results.