People often ask me, “Chris, if you don’t believe we can change things politically why do you even talk about politics?” The answer is simple, politics is my sick form of amusement. Politics is nothing more than a sport in my opinion and in this sport there are spectators, commentators, players, and coaches. The spectators are your average people who merely watch the game and cheer by otherwise have no power to change the outcome. Commentators are the people who talk about what is happening, explain the players’ strategies, and otherwise help the spectators understand what’s happening. Politicians are the players and lobbyists are the coaches.
I play the part of commentator. Beyond explaining how the game is player I also explain what is or has recently happened. Like the spectators I have no actual power to affect the game but enjoy observing it and talking about it.
The spectators generally know the rules of the game by heart but know nothing of the nuances. They know that a bill must pass the Senate and House then be signed by the president but don’t understand all the lobbying and cronyism that goes on behind closed doors instead relying on commentators to explain those parts. While there are a vast number of teams playing this sport spectators generally have a very binary view of things. They only see the game as “their team” versus “the other team.” “Their team” is one the left or right side of the field while “the other team” is on the opposite side of the field. What about the other fields? Entirely forgotten unless “their team” is playing an away game there. Most of these spectators hold a great deal of superstition regarding games and believe their performance of certain rituals, like voting, can actually change the outcome of the game. No matter how many times you explain their wearing a specific red hat or jersey has no affect on the outcome of the game they refuse to believe you.
Coaches are the ones who call the shots. They train the players and develop the strategies but don’t physically play the game. Lobbyists and other cronies are the ones who tell the politicians what “the spectators” want and give them the strategies to achieve those desires. When an automobile manufacturer crony approaches a politician with a bill designed to shut out the manufacturer’s competition they will tell the politician how to sell it to the public. The crony will explain that the bill is for improving the environment and ignores the fact that implementing the bill’s demands is extremely expensive and therefore will cause smaller competitors to go out of business. Taking the crony’s advice the politicians being to play the actual game, selling the spectators what they want to see.
Each team promises to deliver its fans what they want. Fans of the “left” generally want the “right” to fail. When a player for the “left” says the fans want higher taxes on the wealth the “left’s” fans begin demanding higher taxes on the wealth. The “right” tells its fans to oppose higher taxes on the wealthy so the “right’s” fans begin vehemently opposing higher taxes on the wealthy. Whether the “left” wins or the “right” wins is irrelevant because nothing will negatively affect the wealthy, yet the spectators will feel as though they received a glorious victory or a horrendous defeat. Either way the spectators keep buying tickets and watching the game while the coaches and players become insanely wealthy.
That’s what politics is, a game. You can play any part if you really want to but ultimately the only people who matter are the players and coaches. That is until you realize that the game can no longer be played if the spectators stop showing up and giving the game legitimacy. Nothing will change regardless of what team wins, the only winning move is not to play.