Saturday, March 1, 2014

10 ways to know if you are playing team politics.

From time to time I get on about team politics.  By team politics, I mean a person that has identified themselves as a member of one political group or another, so strongly that they can scarcely see the good in the opposition or bad on their own team.  They do this instead of weigh the planks of either platform and decide if that party's platform more closely resembles their thoughts than the alternative.  The problem with this, is the parties start to respond to this kind of behavior by doing things that better the party instead of better the country.  I have rarely written much about politics, but I feel this needs to be said because if we can't orient ourselves to the betterment of our nation instead of our pride we will find ourselves with an increasingly unresponsive government much like the one we enjoy today.  For those of you that aren't politically minded, politics aren't the only thing people play teams with.

10.  I wish I'd said that! - When you hear the other side say something that makes a good point, instead of giving them the credit for a well thought out point you resent your own side for not having made it.  Because when you are all in for one side, you are only about points and nothing else.

9.  They are idiots - When you are rooting for a team, you have to pick apart the opponent one way or another.  The vague estimation of their intelligence is the easiest way to promote your team by tearing them down with no specific proof.  It's just here say.  After all, they MUST be idiots, they are playing for the other team.  But assuming that someone is stupid OR smart based on one or two events or phrases makes you the idiot.

8.  They are great people! - Much like studies that have a theory they are trying to promote, scientists often look at data with a skew in interpretation towards the outcome they are looking for.  We do the same when we start looking up people we either side with or are against.  We will mentally cull all the information that does not support our assumptions about that individual.  They are evil bastards or saints.  I would suspect that in this world, most people have a bit of both good and bad in them on BOTH SIDES.  Our job should be to promote the good ones not the team no matter who they have on it.

7.  We never argue - If you can't look at the flaws on your side's players, you are probably a team cheerleader.  How can 2 parties possibly have all the answers for all of the people in our country on either side?!  Of course they can claim to, it's their job to proclaim that they are the last word in governance.  If we get back to the idea of representative government, we realize that some things we should support are actually claimed as ideological points on the other side and they should support some of ours.  Not because they are giving in on their ideological ground, but because it's what is the most right for our country.

6.  I always vote - This one is a bit more tricky.  If you always vote, but you rarely look into the candidates or the issues you are voting for, this means you are letting someone else tell you how to vote.  You are the water boy/girl for that team.  An important thing to always bear in mind is BOTH SIDES see politics as money and not much more.  Sure, once in a while there are people that are actually idealistic about public service, but that usually only lasts until the first lobbyist's campaign check.  Voting without researching what you are voting for because its 'your right' is like grabbing a gun and shooting it off into the air without thinking that it probably has to land somewhere.  Often, that bullet will land harmlessly somewhere where it doesn't matter much, but there is a remote chance that that bullet will matter a lot.

5. Serves them right! - Cheering when the opposition to your party is caught in something dubious is at best counterproductive.  It shows that what is being done doesn't matter nearly as much as that they were caught in the act of something.  Well, if your side hasn't been caught in enough situations with their collective pants down, then maybe it's fair to do so, but even then, it's not charitable.  But THEY aren't charitable with us so so so so.  Yes, I know.  YAY TEAM.  *yawn*

4.  Well, you have to put the situation in context. - Looking deeply on your side to try to find a plausible reason as to why your side screwed up, and justify it.  The deeper you look and the more websites you try to find to justify your position, the more you are just buying jerseys on behalf of your team.  Try to think why you can't take your bad news on face value like you do in number 5?  Hmm...

3.  The important thing is who's fault it is - This one is pretty special because it usually happens when two team players face off in a grand show of who's team is best.  Usually by taking one issue and then following it down to who's fault the failure is.  What is interesting is, there are SO many issues to choose from that Government has screwed up.  Who wins?  Both Teams!  Who loses?  You do.  What might be even more interesting is what can be done to fix any given problem.  Often I've found that the problems are much more complicated than the one liner antidotes that I have heard (or even given myself).

2.  Well, at least we aren't THEM - Oh the 3rd party.  The enemy of my enemy, should be my friend right?  Not in this case.  When a 3rd party candidate shows up, many people complain because they will split the vote of the candidate they are most like giving the other side a plurality victory.  This has happened a few times in our history and it wasn't THAT bad.  What concerns the team player is that it's not fair to have another team on the field.  It's just not done.  If a 3rd party is not a part of the system, they are not a part of the inside knowledge that politics is a show for the people not unlike professional wrestling.  A 3rd candidate is like a different franchises wrestling crew.  Who likes them?  They are horrible.  They don't know what they are doing. We need professionals.  Well, if politics is by the people and for the people, I would hope that we have fewer instead of more professional politicians.

1.  You don't even know the story, but you're sure they are wrong.  - Fox news?  Must be that stinking Republican Channel.  MSNBC?  Gotta be those tree hugging lefties.  Instead of looking for sources for the story, team players look for the stories outlet as a guide as to weather or not it's actually factual.  I've done this myself from time to time and have found that I'm missing on really cogent points of view.  I may still not agree with them, but to see them intelligently put together in a way that is informative is not the purview of any one news outlet or even a reporter.  Everyone is allowed their version of the truth.  This is not to say that the press is not the BIGGEST bunch of team players out there.  They are.  Make no mistake.  When it comes to political punditry, you can see pretty quickly that the press is not an outside observer of the machine, but rather an integeral cog.

Just remember kids, Bigotry,  is ANY time you paint with a broad brush your anecdotal judgments on to the canvas of an entire group and assume they are valid.  Play nice.  We should be people first, political animals 5th.  See you in 15.  

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