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Columnists

American Politics Must Not Remain a Subway Series

As of this writing, major league baseball’s New York teams, the Mets and the Yankees, sit atop their respective divisions and at this late stage of the season have a reasonable chance to face each other in the World Series, a prospect typically known as the ‘Subway Series’.

Should that series take place, one of the two teams inevitably will win. But the other won’t lay down and accept permanent defeat. It will vow to bounce back the following year. That’s what competitive sports is all about. Unfortunately, that mindset also applies to politics.

At the moment, Democrats and Republicans each own a liability that stubbornly refuses to go away: wokeness and paranoia.

For those who still haven’t realized it, wokeness is the insane extremism of considering math racist, binary pronouns sexist, and police departments as the enemy. The woke tear down statues not only of slaveholding presidents, such as Washington and Jefferson, but also of Lincoln – you know, the one who ended slavery – because he didn’t become an abolitionist soon enough. Most sensible Democratic voters consider these notions preposterous, but enough squeaky wheels have weaseled their way into office and rabble-rouse enough to stir throngs of gullible masses.

The Republicans have a different problem, but one equally damaging. They no longer trust the government. They think President Biden is an agent for China. They’re convinced that most of Biden’s 81 million votes in 2020 were fraudulently created out of thin air. They think the Clintons run a satanic pedophilic cabal out of the basement of a DC pizza parlor, and the jury’s still out as to whether they’ve accepted the moon landing as real. Like their Democratic counterparts, mainstream Republican voters pay no heed to such absurdities.

Each party’s challenge is to rid itself of its problem. But the underlying reason for such political obstacles arising in the first place is that Subway Series mentality. Both parties claim to want what’s best for America – and perhaps on some level they really do – but they go to great lengths to conceal the 500-pound elephant (and donkey) in the room, which is how desperately they want to win.

Because politics is a zero sum game, both Democrats and Republicans are forced into a situation that defies human nature. For instance, consider a meeting among company executives where there’s a lot tension in the room because several individuals know they disagree with one another, and they’re not looking forward to the contentiousness that lies ahead. But much to their pleasant surprise, they decide to focus on common ground and emerge from the meeting with a feeling of satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment. They were able to resolve a lot of problems because they realized just how much they thought similarly; their differences turned out to be minor and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

But Democrats and Republicans can’t do that, because one party is in charge at all times. The other party won’t take the high road and work to make everything great; instead, it will magnify the differences between the two sides so as to keep itself relevant.

Worst of all, each party has an unholy ally in the form of the media, which to a great extent sells its soul on a daily basis to preserve its own existence. Want a story about how Biden became confused at the breakfast table and poured cream into his orange juice? Tune in to Fox News. How about one of Donald Trump locking Melania in the closet for three hours? MSNBC will cover that one. Of course, as far as I know, neither of these things ever happened. But if they ever do, it’s pretty easy to guess from which specific comfort food trough they would emerge.

Currently, the Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. Suppose they agreed with Republicans insofar as accepting the Supreme Court’s recent abortion ruling, strengthening second amendment rights, reopening the Keystone pipeline project, closing the borders, cutting corporate taxes, relaxing emissions restrictions, reinstating prayer in public schools, and declaring English as the country’s official language. Would the Republicans join them in solidarity? Maybe for a month or two, but then they’d go back to the drawing board to figure out how to reinvent themselves in order to avoid fading into oblivion. Perhaps they’d become the party of high-speed rail, or nutrition, or adding two extra months to a calendar year. Anything to stand out.

I refer to the Republicans in this example of pettiness and selfishness certainly not because of who they are but because of the position they are in. You can bet if the roles were reversed and it was Republicans in power who became more like Democrats, by abolishing cars that run on gas, granting U.S. citizenship to all Dreamers, and outlawing athletic competitions that segregate by gender, Democrats would equally feel the need to persevere by, say, changing their platform to one of interplanetary colonization for improved sustainability, and portraying the Republicans as narrow-minded ‘Earthers’.
George Washington railed against forming political parties, but his successors, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, ignored his advice and galvanized the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, respectively. At least there’s one good thing that comes from competing parties: each is outstanding at pointing out the other’s flaws. That helps to ameliorate the corruption that can form in a one-party system.

Nonetheless, if Americans want things to get better, they need to raise their political IQs and make sure that their elected officials are aware of it, so that at the very least they won’t continue to feign magnanimity and languish in hypocrisy.

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