Rooting for a favorite team comes earlier around here.
Kids in my family seem to learn it from the cradle. Both of my children had togs honoring the University of Alabama – my husband’s alma mater – long before they could dress themselves.
“Roll Tide” came shortly after “mama,” “dada” and “juice.” Since then various grandparents, aunts and cousins have worked to put their particular stamp on the kids’ sense of team loyalty.
They’ve been incited to bark like Mississippi State and Georgia bulldogs and roar for the LSU Tigers. They’ve even cheered “Go Irish” for the Notre Dame fans as their father cringed.
But sometimes the subtle nature of sports rivalries can be lost on little minds. At Chez Morris, we’ve had to explain that Auburn fans aren’t evil, even though we tease some of our War Eagle friends that they are misguided.
It’s great fun, but it’s only a game.
Unfortunately, I think we treat too much of public life like a sporting event. There seems to be more focus on whose team is winning instead of working together to find the best way forward.
No one political party has a monopoly on good ideas or love of country.
In these days of 24-hour news and blogs, both sides of the aisle have plenty of folks who bump up their ratings by rooting rather than having a probing social discourse.
And who can blame them. It’s a whole lot more fun to trade zingers than have a in-depth explanation on economic theory. There’s a reason more folks watch Fox News and CNN than CSPAN.
The need for civil civic discourse isn’t limited to any one generation. The Founding Fathers – Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams and others – said horrible things about each other.
There are plenty of examples where team has gotten in the way of good sense. But with municipal elections today, it’s local politics that are on my mind.
Before you head to the polls today, I challenge you to take some time to consider your vote.
Don’t choose solely on Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. Look at what the candidates have done and what they have put forward as their priorities. Who has the best plans for your town? Who is willing to balance competing concerns? Who is willing to listen to opinions of people outside their circle of friends and colleagues?
Then you’ll have your answer. And if enough people can approach elections with cool heads, then elections won’t just be a game of popularity.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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