Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who do you root for?

I once read an article, maybe in Reader's Digest, where the author had asked her husband why he was rooting for the same football team that had been the arch nemesis all season. He sounded crazy to her and me when he replied. Here's the sequence:
- You root for your home team first.
- If your home team loses the semi-finals, even to their arch nemesis, you root for your regional team even if you normally revile them.
- If your regional team loses in the finals, you 'switch your allegiance' to your conference winner in the final game.
- In this way you always have a favorite in the Superbowl or whatever.

I never understood this. I freely admit it. You like that team or you don't, right? Well, I understand it today. I read an article on politics and noticed in the comments a lot of statements/threats like "if your candidate wins, I'm voting for the other party, I hate them so much. Take that, so there, nyah, nyah." Um... These politicians are currently pitted against each other in the finals. They are on opposite sides. But they're on opposite sides in the same conference. They really are more alike than different. One of them will win. And if you want a different party in the white house, you have to vote for the Democrat. If you want the same thing going on, you need to vote for the Republican. You won't do anything to the losing candidate by voting for the other side, but you will punish yourself and your fellow Americans by switching parties.

One reason I detest negative campaigning, especially in primaries, is that the dirt you throw now sticks later. And it has time to grow. Not that you have to say your opponent is good. You can say "Here are my strengths, here are my weaknesses. Here's how I will capitalize on my strengths and shore up my weaknesses." (If you offer up a weakness, you can spin it to do the least damage, plus there will be less motivation to keep digging for dirt.) You can compare and contrast your S&W with your opponents'. You can explain how your plans are better plans. You can give powerful, uplifting speeches filled with hope.

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