Opinion: Politics may be a game, but it’s no football game

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

How as a nation could we sink so low? Last week, at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual convention for Republicans, grassroots activists and politicians (including 2012 candidates), opening speaker Republican Sen. Jim DeMint had a booming message for the Republican Party.

In his speech to his fellow Republicans he said, “I can guarantee you Coach Coughlin did not tell his Giants to go out on the field and work with those other guys…  They weren’t cooperating with Tom Brady… The two teams had different goals. The Patriots were there to beat the other guys. Compromise works well in this world when you have shared goals. When you have shared goals, you can sit down together. We don’t have shared goals with the Democrats, folks … every time we compromise with Democrats, we spend more.”

I was insulted, confused and disgusted when I first heard that. I played it over and over again like a car crash from which I couldn’t look away. There are a lot of times where I lose faith in politics, but this is a big one.

How could the opening speaker for the Republicans open on the message that bipartisanship is unnecessary and unconventional? How could any politician say that compromise is useless? Hearing him pretty much wiping his butt with Obama’s extended olive branch was bad, but what I am most upset about is that DeMint compared the two party systems to the Super Bowl.

American politics don’t have an off-season; political parties don’t just fight each other until only one is standing. The rest of the team just doesn’t go home after losing with nothing to gain and their fans have nothing to cheer for.

Our parties often fight in overtime, they call for time-outs and I’m fairly certain that some “players” want to tackle each other. But there is one aspect of football that I wish we could adopt since we may become a football team.

At least the players have better sportsmanship after they lose; at least they go up to each other after and shake hands saying “good game.” I can’t even imagine politicians doing that in my lifetime.

We aren’t the Democrat Donkeys or the Republican Elephants; we are the Democrats and the Republicans for the United States of America. Our goal is not to win all the seats in Congress and Presidency; it’s our goal to meet in the middle so that we can work our way in these polarizing situations to a compromise that most Americans can agree with.

Yes, Democrats and Republicans don’t share the exact same goals, that’s why they’re different, but they both have the intention to make America, and their constituents happy, which we can do by compromising — a tool not for a battlefield or football game, but in diplomacy.