Tuesday, March 28, 2006

On politics and sports

Over at Poliblog and OTB there is talk of how politics is being treated like a sporting event and I feel the need to chime as I have some strong opinions on both.

James says:
Aside from following the occasional link during a blogstorm here and there, I quit reading the most virulent blogs on both sides years ago. What’s the point, really? Unfortunately, most blog readers, like talk radio listeners, gravitate to those sites where the host’s views mirror their own. This actually encourages over-the-top language, villification of the other side, and shoddy reasoning. Echo chambers tend not to reward nuance.
And then adds:
Yay us! Boo them!” is not particularly helpful in framing a public policy debate.
And I couldn't agree more. I've gone to some blogs that were way far left or way far right, but I quickly determined they were not worth my time. When it is all just regurgitated rhetoric from the party line (either party) with no original thought or analysis, what is the point.

Steven makes the original comparison to sports:
The notion that politics is a sporting event, and not a serious discourse that affects the lives of actual people, contributes to such attitudes, clearly.
I have often felt the same way and made a similar comparison. My feelings about sports and my feelings about politics are actually very similar. As previously noted, I do watch sporting events on occasion, but I'm not an avid sports fan, largely because of what "sports" have become. It is a game but so much of the sportsmanship has been lost. During the recent basketball games, I think Alabama was playing UCLA, and everytime Alabama got the ball, the fans started booing or making some distracting noise. It just really annoyed me. Why can't they just watch the game and let the teams play, but that is not what "sports" is about. Politics, unfortunately is the same way.

Political affiliation, for so many individuals has become as irrational as football in Alabama. There are so many people who are Auburn fans or Alabama fans who have no real affiliation with the school, but they practically bleed either orange and blue or crimson and white. The same is true of political affiliation for many people these days (or maybe always) it seems. The new addition of "red state"/"blue state" terminology only proves to accentuate the comparison. People support a political party that has no practical benefit for them personally and actually give very little thought to all the things that the party actually stands for. Consequently, political "debate" turns into name calling and political campaigns are like sporting events with the home crowd booing the visiting team. I just can't stand to watch.

The actual games of sport, like baseball and basketball, actually interest me. "Sporting events" do not. The actual study of politics and political theory interest me. "Politics" does not. It's rather sad actually.

1 comment:

Altoid said...

While it may be sad, it is a reality and will be, in some shape or form, in any country that has a representative democracy, making the study of "politics" relevant.