Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NASCAR, Politics and Hate

Ah, NASCAR fans. You gotta' love'em. They supposedly love NASCAR even as they hate everything about it. They despise the sanctioning body and its idiotic rules. They hate the dunderhead calls they make about restarts. They hate supposedly phony debris cautions. They hate most of the tracks NASCAR races on. We just ran at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Fans hate that track and the kind of racing it puts on. But we also hate boring mile-and-a-halfs and some of us hate the racing we see at super speedways like Daytona and Talladega. We hated the two-car tandem but we also hate the changes NASCAR made to try to change it. We hate that all the drivers are now soft, spoiled wimps totally unlike the tough, moon-shine-runnin' good old boys of the past. We hate The Chase and the Top 35 Rule and the Lucky Dog. We hate that there isn't more passing for the lead. Racing has gotten so boring, it's no wonder the stands are practically empty (even when they're not) And we especially hate the networks that broadcast the races because there are way too many commercials and the announcers only focus on the guys up front, unless your guy is up front, and then they don't focus on him enough. We write furiously into the NASCAR websites declaring that we'd rather watch paint dry than watch a NASCAR race the way it is these days. Honestly, I think some NASCAR fans will simply implode if Jimmie Johnson wins another championship because they have worked themselves up to such an irrational state.

I'm not a fan of any other sport. Is this how NFL and NBA and NHL and MLB fans all feel? Do they love to hate like NASCAR fans?

Or is this just what we, as Americans, have become? Are we all haters now? When I read Facebook, I see lots of posters that say, on the one hand, that if you don't love America, then get the hell out. But, on the other hand, the same people who post those in-your-face notices, seem to hate their government, their president, their congresspeople, the Supreme Court and their fellow Americans who don't think in lockstep with them. They post pictures of the First Lady as a chimpanzee. They claim the president is a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a Muslim, the anti-Christ. They claim America is going down the shithouse drain and they seem ready to take up their (beloved) guns and take back their country if THINGS DON'T CHANGE!  Honestly, I think many Americans are simply going to implode if Obama wins the presidency again because they have worked themselves up to such an irrational state.

To be fair, my side isn't totally respectful of Mitt Romney either. Lots of us call him Mittens. We post cartoons about his flip-flops and his tax returns. Most of it is pretty innocuous stuff. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Ann Romney turned into a chimpanzee. I don't think I've ever seen the allegation that Mitt isn't a "real" American or questioning his religious affiliation. I've never read that Mitt wants to destroy America. Yes, we think he might inadvertently do that with his policies but we don't accuse him of wanting to do it on purpose.

I've always been a passionate political debater and I can get pretty fired up at times but I think I've tried to be fair (and, yes, balanced too). Now I feel myself becoming meaner than I used to be in response to the other side's meanness. I feel myself becoming less compromising because of the other side's unwillingness to compromise. I believe that in the last twenty years, the Democrats have been bringing a political knife to a gun fight and you can only do that so long, until you get killed. Yes, Democrats have used the filibuster as a strategy at times and yes, the Democrats have withheld approval of appointments as a strategy at times but we don't do it every single time on every single issue their president puts forward.  Yes, Democrats have been known to redraw congressional districts in their favor but we haven't tried to change the elemental rules of the game by disenfranchising huge blocks of Republican voters through voter suppression. Yes, some Democrat-led state governments haven't been the greatest but they haven't done away with democracy altogether as they have in Michigan. They haven't foisted unnecessary medical procedures on women (at their own expense) as they have in several states. They haven't tried to do an end run around the Constitution by outlawing a procedure supposedly protected by the Supreme Court or passing a Personhood Amendment that makes a fertilized egg a person, thus allowing themselves to declare that abortion, or even birth control of some types, are essentially murder.

So, I'm in no mood to be accommodating. I want to elect Democrats who are warriors. If that's the way they play it, I want us to be as mean and ugly as them, to defeat them by fair means or foul. I think I want this even though in my heart, I know it will be bad for the country. What is the alternative? Sounds like a lose-lose proposition, doesn't it?