GENDUSA COLUMN: Our American Playing Field

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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Am I the only one who feels the pressing need for less partisan politics and attitudes?  Our first President, the honorable George Washington, was wise to say in his farewell address these words on a Saturday in September 1796:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterward the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

In sports, teams are refereed during play.   If a dispute or unfairness causes a disturbance, the ref or umpire penalizes the coach, player, or fan who creates discord or refuses to abide by the game’s rules.

We all want to win, but we must remember the crucial role of compromise, listening, and teamwork.  These are the keys to achieving a resounding group victory.

Today, we may need a referee!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the American political landscape and our subsequent behavior have hit a new low.  There is low civility, low energy, and questionable patriotism.  Power and money often interrupt team play, and the field is rife with weeds.  How can we expect a great match without clean boundary lines?

Political play often is akin to the scam artist trying to sucker us into buying glass diamonds.  We know there is no such thing as a glass diamond, just as there should be no place for deceit or dishonesty in politics.  But if someone can convince us that the glass jewel is authentic, we might just fork over a vote or a buck, illustrating how easily we can be misled in the political arena.

Our first President was right.  When we see that folks will indeed buy glass, promote bad behavior, and distrust, we have lost the game.  Those cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled leaders become the victors.

How do we improve our current circumstances?  We need an excellent umpire with some common sense and someone who will blow the whistle if there is foul play.  He is the appraiser of diamonds, souls, and values.  And he is the only one who will provide authentic hope for America.

God should always be our head coach and referee.  We often push him off the playing field when trying to succeed, but we can’t win without him.  Some have lost the understanding that God is in all arenas of our lives, including politics.  He is the silent, unseen participant watching how we play the game.  We must use his wisdom and rules for unbiased play to change the negativity looming across our nation.

Rowdy fans interrupt a competitive game and garner much attention.  The camera catches their unacceptable behavior, while others ignore them, hoping they will go away.  No, they won’t disappear because quiet apathy and lack of spirit will lead to a loss for the home team.

If we want to maintain civility in the American ballpark, it’s up to each of us to promote exemplary sportsmanship.  Instead of complaining to a neighbor about our government, call your representative.  Instead of spreading untruths, listen to the voice of reason.  Instead of clinging to the status quo, push for compromise and new ideas to achieve victory for all.  Become a team player for our county by actively participating in the political process and advocating for the common good.

I pray that someone will rise from the messy field of partisan politics with courage and conviction to lead America to a kinder future.   And do so not for personal gain or power but for the collective triumph of all Americans.  Let’s play the game of politics not as a competition but as a cooperative effort to build a respectful and hopeful nation for our children to inherit.

Like most of you, I love this country.   I admire the courage of George Washington, who led us to our first victory, and Abraham Lincoln, who fought for freedom for my fellow Americans.   Franklin Roosevelt guided us through a World War, and Ronald Reagan helped tear down a wall.  They played an honorable game, and they won.

Freedom is a blessing, but it is incredibly fragile.  Our forefathers could not predict the number of diverse people inhabiting our country today.  They could not fathom AI, social media, high-impact weaponry, or countless other changes to our world.  However, they did write a Constitution for our Republic.  We must honor that sacred document by protecting it with our collective activism, Godly behavior, and civility.

We must keep the will of the American people alive and well so that tomorrow provides a just playing field for all.