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It's A Gray Area: Politics is sports by other means

July 12, 2013|By James P. Gray

What is your political philosophy? It is an interesting question that few people really give time to think about. With apologies to George Carlin, here's how I see the three largest political parties in our country.

Republicans are like football players. This game is played in the winter, when everything is dying, and in all types of weather. It is a rough sport so all of the players wear helmets and pads, and the game played on gridirons, which often have names like Memorial Stadium or Soldier Field.

Since this game is akin to a war, the quarterbacks are seen as the field generals who try to force their team all the way through their enemy's territory to score by throwing bullet passes from shotgun formations on target to their receivers. And occasionally when the attacks stall, a specialist comes onto the field to kick. Uniquely, to be awarded more downs is a good thing.

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The football game is timed, so we mostly know when it will be completed, but the teams receive a two-minute warning before the time expires. Nevertheless, there are lots of opportunities during the lulls between each play to analyze what has just happened, and everyone knows when the action will resume. Of course, only the skilled players can legally touch the ball, and normally only the strongest and fittest teams prevail.

Democrats, on the other hand, are like baseball players. This game is played in the spring and summer, when the weather is nicer and the flowers begin to bloom. In keeping with that spirit, the rules provide that if it is raining the game must be postponed. So this is more of a gentleman's game, played in a more pastoral setting, like a park.

Taking gentlemanliness to an extreme, baseball is probably the only game in which the ball is put into play by the defense, and those on offense are actually prohibited from touching the ball at all. Although there are set numbers of opportunities or innings for each team to score, the game is not timed. Furthermore, if the teams are tied after the set number of innings, the game can drag on for an unlimited number of extra innings until one team prevails.

The baseball players wear full uniforms with long pants, but they use no padding and wear caps instead of helmets. This is also probably the only game in which the manager wears the same uniform as the players, so everyone at least can appear to be equal.

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