I love politics. I love politics the way other people love football. I watch 24 hour news channels in political seasons the way other people watch ESPN. The minor of my Bachelor’s degree is in Political Science (Major in History), and I would describe my knowledge of practical politics by saying that I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I have enough theoretical background to “Monday Morning Quarterback” campaign decisions. I am fascinated less by what the polls say, and more by what strategy and tactics each campaign uses. In my life, I have been registered as a Republican, as a Libertarian, as an Independent, and now as a Democrat. My own political development has followed my spiritual and social development.
Tomorrow is the Iowa Caucus, and I am all but giddy. Up to now, we have been watching the pre-game show. We’ve seen some players take to the practice field, and then get cut from the team. We’ve had an amazing competition this year for the first string. We’ve had a lot of fans and pundits, unhappy with the team roster, looking at the minor leagues for any players they might be able to bring up.
As of tomorrow, the pre-game is over. It’s Kickoff time. We actually get to begin seeing plays run on the field.
It’s not just the Republicans that I’m interested in tomorrow. In the Iowa Caucus’ you are able to vote “uncommitted”. The Democrats are also having a caucus tomorrow, and President Barack Obama will be the only candidate… but voters have the opportunity to vote “uncommitted”. In a public way, Democratic activists who are unhappy with how centrist President Obama has governed will have the opportunity to express that dissatisfaction. This is important, because much of the chance the Obama campaign has for re-election will depend on whether or not those activists will come out to be his “ground game” in the general election (also known as the second half).
You have the players that get all the media attention, and those who have the technical talent and skill at the game. Sometimes you have someone who has both the skill and the media… and they are almost unstoppable. You have some players who are wild cards… who might run as third parties and change the dynamics of the game.
The metaphor can go too far. While both games have rules, in football the referees have a lot more power than in politics. While both games have boosters who are sometimes unethical, the money in football has nothing on the money in politics. And, while both have multiple levels and leagues, unlike football, the stakes are actually the highest the more local in politics… and an individual can have the most effect politically at the local level… even in national campaigns.
Now yes, politics are far more serious than football. Politics affects the future of our nation, and U.S. politics often has a major effect on the future of the world.
My point is that I’m excited. I love politics. So, it’s kickoff time. About time too… the pre-game show this year has been a lot like reality television.
Yours in faith,