On the wall of my high school gym were painted the immortal words of Grantland Rice: “It’s not whether you won or lost but how you played the game.” Those words along with the high school are gone, replaced with a McDonald’s, a fitting metaphor for the culture we have come to embrace.
Honor and class become irrelevant when “how you played the game” is replaced with any way you can.
Nowhere is it more evident than in this hyper-political season with Democrats still smarting from 2016 and Republicans sitting astride a solid record of accomplishment behind a president who is a regular barbwire factory.
Current campaign rhetoric reminds one of the old saying, “when a wise man tries to reason with a fool, it’s hard to tell which is which.” There are two culprits: (1) voters who are so distracted by cultural trivia that they wouldn’t know a fact if it slapped them in the face and, (2) a media who will never be guilty of expounding an abundance of face- slapping facts.
If it seems Republicans and Democrats are talking past one another, it’s because they are. To a Trump recitation of accomplishments, Democrats find enclaves of special identity groups to pander to and their arguments most often are a variation of “that’s racist.” White racism has not existed in the U.S. for at least five decades yet that seems to be the only color on their palette with which to paint Trump supporters.
Advertisers pay very large dollars to create commercials and have them shown on TV as marketing tools, employing models of random racial makeup. If white racism were a factor in our culture, that would be beyond stupid. And if racism were present in a majority of our white population, wouldn’t such labeling by Democrats enhance Trump’s status? To be sure, there will always be folks harboring prejudice against people who don’t look like them, but they have zero influence with anyone except race baiters like Al Sharpton who use them as foils.
And the point is? Public discourse has gone from temperate to rabid while the PC of Polite Conversation has been transformed into Politically Correct and one person’s Politically Correct is another person’s beguiling speech or BS for short. Illumination of issues through intelligent debate has given way to, “liar, liar, pants on fire” and “you do it too.”
As the crescendo, if not the content, of the discussion has increased, so to has the propensity for violence following the maxim “actions speak louder than words.” Egged on by urgings to call them out in restaurants, grocery stores and filling stations, a few unstable minds have been triggered to atrocity-level reaction.
It is not the first time that we have experienced inflamed political passions, so why does it seem so open-ended and out of control? It’s because the referee has gone over on the sideline of one team to cheer and of course this refers to the media whom the writers of the Constitution envisioned to be a moderating influence on the extremes.
And so, we have gone from major league to bush league and nobody gives a flying fart how you played the stupid game.