Friday, September 26, 2008

The Sound and the Fury

My political leaning doesn't really have an official name, but I guess I'd describe it as the "Contrarian Party."*

What this essentially means is that I automatically take the opposite stance of the person I'm talking to, the strength of my beliefs scaling to match that person.

I wish I could say that I stir up such turmoil as some grand political statement, or perhaps as an exercise to bring about a genuine discourse on current issues. But the truth is that it's almost a compulsion, fueled by two things:

1. I'm deeply annoyed by anyone who believes fervently that they are right, and other people are wrong because they're too stupid, naive, or uninformed. This accounts for about 95% of politically-minded people, and only half of those would admit to it.

2. Making those kind of people angry is really, really funny to me.

The problem is that politics are so much like college football.

-Large numbers of people follow it, and can't believe that anyone in this country doesn't.

-Everyone who's into it has a side that they champion. The side they choose is conveniently in-tune with the people in their community and/or family.

-By taking a side, people automatically defend that side no matter what, while simultaneously demonizing all its opponents.

Just watch a political party convention, then watch a Saturday afternoon game. Flip the channel to CNN, then to ESPN, back and forth for a couple of hours. The stakes may be different, but you'll see the same sociological mechanisms at work. The only real difference is that most sports fans know their biases are mostly arbitrary.

So that being said, can't we just decide the election with a football game? Does it really make that much less sense than having the guy who you saw spit out of his truck today filling out a ballot?

I mean I'm just saying, we could have all this BS resolved by tomorrow.

*I've seriously considered starting a "Don't Vote: It's Bad for You" campaign, simply because it's the only position that would make both sides mad.

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