I’ve been catching up on election results with the independent political information website, Real Clear Politics. RCP summarizes data in easy-to-understand lists and images – but also provides links to detailed analysis articles and opinion pieces from all sides of the political spectrum.
So it occurs to me, what with the so-called Tea Party mood swing, the increase in grass-roots awareness and voting, the increase of new election candidates in all sides of the political spectrum, the ability of voters to more easily keep track of both the numbers and the “reading between the lines” of speeches and bills, that politics may have become America’s new favorite sport.
The stereotypical favorite American sport is baseball. Although it’s been somewhat supplanted by football, baseball is still popular in the US and abroad. You can still hear / see games regularly on public media. My favorite way to follow baseball is by radio. You can easily visualize the moves by listening to the announcers narratives (and let’s face it, watching baseball is sloooow). Baseball has lots of tension; playing of percentages, tactics and strategy, and dealing with randomness when strategies fail. And baseball has heroes. It’s interesting that baseball has become so ingrained and well-liked in the American psyche.
The newer favorite American sport is (American) football. While baseball is mostly a one-versus-one contest (pitcher/batter) with associated team support, football is many-versus-many on every play. Football has a lot more brute force, with players and teams shoving each other up and down the field. BUT there remains a LOT of finesse combined with the action. There are many more specialist positions to keep track of. “Fantasy football” leagues, where fans run virtual teams against each other in a virtual season, are popular. Football can be followed on radio but is especially suited to television – the colors, the crowds, the medium shots, the close shots, the following shots, the replays.
Now consider politics. Politics certainly requires finesse and force (if not physical force, then financial). Politics especially requires fortitude (“stick-to-it-ive-ness”; holding your position in the face of adversity). Politics has one-versus-one contests (elections) and team-versus-team campaigns (parties; movements). Fans are not mere passive observers; fans may directly affect outcomes by donating, campaigning, and even just by talking to each other. Fans may also become players (candidates for office) at any level and age. Politics can be followed on radio and television but has become especially suited to web – the data available in lists, charts, maps, emails, audio, and video. Actual candidate words and positions are available immediately along with analysis and opinion. Fans can publish their own positions, analysis, and opinion, right along with the pros, by using social media tools that are just as powerful.
So we have:
Baseball – Finesse; Radio
Football – Force and Finesse; Television and Radio
Politics – Fortitude, Force, and Finesse; Web, Television, and Radio
Politics is the equal-opportunity sport for fans and players of all ages, ethnicities, genders, heritages, and life styles.
Finesse – balance of imagination and horse sense
Force – strength or energy especially of an exceptional degree
Fortitude – blended resolute courage, firm behavior, and power of prolonged endurance under duress
Real Clear Politics – Chicago-based independent political web site