Thursday, February 4, 2010

Politics, Is It Really About Competition?

We recently went to a basketball game. This game was big, it was against our bitter rivals.  The fans  expected the game to be close and hard fought.  We, of course, anticipated our team's victory. As expected,  the crowd taunted the enemy with catcalls and different variations of "You suck!".

It was fun, exciting, and exhilarating. I loved it.

Competition in sports makes sense.  Teams battle it out on the field, but (usually) leave without hard feelings toward their opponent.  Losses and wins are to be expected.  It is a game.

In our beloved country, we see a similar competition in politics.  Democrats and Republicans viciously fight for their side in the House and the Senate.

Often,  the line has been drawn and we have picked our team.  We use our words to gain yardage on the political field.  We cheer when our team wins and moan when it loses.

And, I wonder, is this right?

NPR's Sound Medicine recently featured a health care commentary by Aaron Carroll.  During Aaron's discussion, I found myself nodding my head in agreement.  He suggests that the health care debate should not be seen from a win/loss perspective.

Since I am horrible at summarizing, please listen to his piece yourself here.

Once you have, please come back and let me know what you think.


  1. From arguments over whether or not to secede, there have always been "vigorous debates" in American politics and some of the mudslinging back in the early days was FIERCE. I think that is a healthy part of the system. I get irritated with people who argue strictly party line, but I see nothing wrong with taking a strong stand on particular policies, bills, fiscal belief systems, etc. and being happy or sad to see them defeated or passed.

    I had some serious issues with the health care bill that was proposed and thought there were other directions that would be better. I also wished it addressed some of the problems in health care that weren't health insurance issues. I was also irritated with some of the lines of attack the Republicans took to block it, but honestly I would have been upset if it had passed as written. And the fact that the MA election helped block it made me want to celebrate. Maybe we will get a better plan as a result.

  2. Oh, Charlotte, this comment is just another reason I am so grateful to have virtually met you.

    I think because of my upbringing, I am terrified of conflict. Raised voices frighten me. Disagreements bring tears to my eyes. I know, it is strange! These reasons have kept me from actively engaging in politics. I try to remain informed, but I don't like to argue.

    Now, about that audio clip. What really hit me was that he recognized that whether or not the health care bill is passed, he will continue to fight. There are many things that need to be changed, many errors in the bill. Yet, we must remember the real reason behind the reform: how people are suffering without insurance.

    Because Ben is considering med school, I am a bit leery of this healthcare bill. I know reform is necessary, I just don't quite agree with the current approach.

  3. The current health care industry reform will NOT be the end all in the discussion. We all must fight on as the reform will need to be reformed. Of this, I am sure. That having been said, something needs to be done.

    I think you hit on a nerve with me, though. Not about health care reform but about choosing sides in politics. I think that the two party system is part of the problem. I will have to get these thoughts out soon!

  4. I've read 3 posts of yours now and You are awesome! Because, of course, you think like me :) I was delighted to hear what I just heard on that segment, because it's what I've been screaming on the inside about for the longest time... and not just on health reform; the partisanship going on is KILLING this country.

  5. Yes, it is. My husband and I talk about this all the time. It is so heartbreaking that many of us don't see how this country is barely functioning because the fighting.


Comments are disabled.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.