All credit to Matt Lubchansky for this gif

Politics Are Not Sports

Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and the other Republican ghouls in power have scored their first victory since taking over the country on January 20. They passed the American Health Care Act through the House of Representatives, the first salvo in a successful repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, a Republican White Whale ever since the measure was passed. The bill was not made public, nor was it even read by all the representatives, and was voted for without a score given by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The writers and co-sponsors also made sure that members of Congress were exempt from it and could keep their better, more expanded coverage, which includes coverage for even pre-existing conditions, the full list of which is ghastly and heartbreaking.

It’s clear that this “repeal and replace” measure was done to smear the legacy of the former President, Barack Obama, and to make sure the base of the Republican Party, old, rich, mostly White vampires and despots got to upgrade their piles of gold from Scrooge McDuck levels to Smaug-fill-a-whole-fucking-mountain amounts. In the past, the GOP has at least tried passing its 99 percent gutting and war-hawking measures with an air of solemnity, for the “good of the nation.” This time? These utter wraiths cracked open cans of Bud Light as if they were a baseball team that just won the fucking World Series. The Democrats, specifically Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, sang the song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam in response with seeming joy assuming this bill will give them back a legislative majority without them actually doing work.

People are going to die, and our leaders treat this as some kind of sporting event. No one cares who benefits, as long as they can enact strategy to gain votes as if they were opposing gameplans in a football game. Republicans accuse Democrats of the same malfeasance they commit on a more grotesque scale, while Democrats outsmart themselves playing games of 69-dimensional chess, thinking a worthwhile goal is losing close instead of taking a seat and perhaps gaining a vote to help stop a brutal regime from treating human beings as some kind of simian cattle. Then again, how can anyone be sure that the Dems really are fighting on the same side as the people who need them to? Pelosi herself is worth $120 million and said on CNN that her party are “capitalists, and that’s just the way it is.” Of course, if one believes that ethical consumption under capitalism is possible, then that person could reconcile that statement with any semblance of folks like Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, Joe Manchin, Chelsea Clinton, or [insert Democratic figure here] as a true ally. Hell, Bernie Sanders is about as far Left in Congress as you can get right now, and he still has embarrassingly capitalist and imperialist views.

But the point is trusting these people to clash with each other to the point where they’ll actually appear like opposing forces when they’re all dedicated to the same end is naive at best and damaging at worst. No, the two major parties aren’t the same, and voting Democrat all things equal will at least make things a little easier for oppressed classes. However, if politics weren’t an issue at all, who thinks any of these people would clash with each other over reasons that weren’t petty? Trump and Hillary Clinton were family friends before the former decided to get into Republican politics. They’re almost all successful captains of industry transplanted into politics, or they’ve been in the game so long that their constituents are no longer the voters, but lobbyists. No wonder why they treat this whole thing like a sport. Capitalism is transparently the driving force, and they’re just two bodies trying to figure out if they want the cold, ruthless version or the kind that superficially addresses the problems but refuses to address the economic issues that keep oppressed classes in their lanes, no matter how destructive.

And because of this, the proxies who argue on Twitter are more like Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith yelling at each other on First Take in the golden age of ESPN opinion mining than the idealized versions of Walter Cronkite or other journalists/detectives folks have in their heads. It’s why Republicans can so nakedly call for Stephen Colbert to be fired for using a homophobic slur against Trump and Vladimir Putin despite being the party that has made oppressing the LGBTQ+ community its cottage industry. Chris Cillizza and Frank Luntz and any Fox News talking head who hasn’t been ousted for sexual harassment on the right and Rachel Maddow and Clintonista surrogates on Twitter like Peter Daou and “Hobo” Al Giordano on the center-left treat this all like a week 12 NFL game between divisional rivals rather than policymaking for a nation of diverse faith, gender, race, religion, sexual preference, and ability.

You know who isn’t treating all this like a game, however? The Nazi-Right, people like Richard Spencer and Paul Joseph Watson (aka the dumbest man on the planet). The conviction behind their words appears real, and I can tell because the former, while attempting escape from a mob of people who wanted to string him up by his intestines, insulted the Indian driver whose cab he hopped in for a getaway. The latter, meanwhile, has claimed he hasn’t left his apartment in years for fear of being doxxed by his enemies. These aren’t the actions of people who work politics as a game and go home on the weekends to a life free of consequence. And these racist, anti-Semitic fuckbags are the ones most in President Trump’s ear.

Treating all this like a sport means at the end of the day recognizing that the other side is just as on the level as you, and that means the White supremacists who walk in daylight without fear of the people they want dead throwing them into the nearest ravine get people defending them as they get punched. That means opposition politicians breaking into song thinking that a “loss” today means a big “win” tomorrow. That means an organized Right under direction of a fascist-capitalist extreme advancing slowly on the rights of all of us who oppose, especially the oppressed, while the Left is fractured because the capitalists among it don’t want to share their money with those poors that the socialist and Leftist portions need redistributed. And of course, no alliances can be made because to the Liberal center, as soon as Leftist leaders are purged from the organization, the rest will fall in line, because the resistance has to be a TEAM to defeat the other TEAM in the game.

Except it’s less like a game and more like war, not a hot war with live rounds, but a literal fight for lives of America. In that fight, the more alliances one has, the better, and contrary to the beliefs of the lanyard-wearing dorks who use hashtags to resist instead of digging in with more drastic measures, America is ready to move to the left. Maybe socialism is a dirty word, but the truth is the American people have had some form of socialism in its government since inception. It’s just never been called that name. But the same people who recoil at the thought of socialism know they’d benefit from stronger labor union protections, better regulations on business, universal health care, and so many other socialist-left policies. Fuck, Sanders is the most popular politician in America right now.

The sooner the Democratic Party learns to put its ear to the window and the throngs of people, many of whom voted for Donald Trump last November, from its ivory towered balcony, the better off everyone in the country will be. If the Republicans want to play games, the Democrats would be well-advised not to play along, and instead fight, treat it like a war, gain groundswells of support on the ground with the masses, fight with effective strategy and weaponry, and not be satisfied with minor gains in places where they can win. And fuck, if they had a chance to win in Sam Brownback’s People’s Republic of Kansas, then they can win in other deep red areas where the people are aching for someone to listen to THEM. So it’s time not to treat politics like sports anymore. It’s time to get serious, because joshing around with the other rich kids who just wanna kill brown people and have all the money for themselves got us to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea and no good healthcare to treat the survivors of it (if any remain). Leave sports to the other rich assholes who own teams and the people who play them.

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