Politics as Sport
by Ari Armstrong, September 2, 2000
I just got back from watching Bring it On, a film about cheerleading that is surprisingly good. But that got me to thinking: Americans seem to view their politics the same way they view sports, or movies, for that matter. There's a great conflict, heroic struggle, then everybody quits for the day and goes home to a warm bed.
Only in America do we have the luxury of viewing politics as a game. But that attitude leads to complacancy. Politics isn't a game when you're being hauled off to a gas chamber. Politics isn't fun anymore when the gestapo are busting down your doors in the middle of the night to search for an illegal gun or illegal drugs, particularly if they riddle your body with bullets, as they did Ismael Mena, or if you choke to death on your own vomit because federal agents stole your anti-nausea medication, as happened to Peter McWilliams. Politics is no longer a sport when police lock you in a steel cage for years because a paid informant said you had the white powder they used to put in soda pop.