Football season is upon us – it is time for passes, kicks, fumbles, penalties, a Hail Mary or two and a whole lot of shucking, jiving and trash talk. I bet you think I am referring to the NFL/College football season. No, actually I am talking about political football.
The 2014 election political season is in its early stages and already we’ve witnessed poor coaching, missed opportunities, late hits and a few fumbles. A couple of political players have been penalized so far and one has been ejected from the political arena for unsportsmanlike conduct. We will see vicious hits and before it is all over, the person behind in points will throw a couple of Hail Mary passes in desperation. The sports announcers will spend too much time talking about the players and what they did in high school or on the sidelines or off the field rather than their performance in the game.
Growing up we were always told, ‘it is not who wins or loses, it is how you play the game’. Well in sports we know that is not really true, you are expected to win. The coach is expected to win. Your fans expect you to win. Unfortunately, this ‘win at all costs’ mindset is also front and center in politics. While it used to be a gentleman/gentlewoman’s sport, full of honor and a ‘may the best person win’ attitude, now all bets are off -- even if it means lying about your opponent, cheating or stealing.
With the 2014 election year rapidly approaching, rumors are already flying about who is going to run for office, who will not seek re-election and who will retire. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Tea Party, etc. are all hard at work finding candidates to represent their party. While they may start by seeking qualified candidates to fill every office on the ballot, this pressure to win at all costs deteriorates into anyone they can find, qualified or not, in order to get their political party represented. Too many times the political party and their hard line party voters do not even consider how effective the person in office has been in his/her office; it is all about the letter behind the candidate’s name.
When the game is finally over, the players have been beaten up and penalized so many times that the fans leave disgusted. How honorably you performed in the game means very little; it is all about who won or lost.
I am saddened by the staggering political costs when elections are won with less than honorable means. Public trust is broken, qualified candidates are destroyed and those men and women who truly want to make a difference quietly shut the door on what might have been a brilliant and impactful contribution to public office.
Sheriff John Montgomery