America’s rivalry culture is a political problem

Aug 13, 2012, 10:44 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2012, 6:07 pm

The United States is currently $16 trillion in debt.

Americans owe $1 trillion in student loan debt, and the average college graduate has $30,000 in education loans to pay back. The nation’s unemployment rate remains above 8 percent. The economy is struggling.

These are all major issues talked about every day, but there are two places you don’t hear about them (and they might be the two most important places): the campaign trail and the media.

You don’t hear major issues debated because we’ve become a rivalry culture. The only thing that matters in a rivalry culture is wins and losses.

I grew up in the Boston area and have spent my life rooting for the Red Sox and hating the Yankees. In sports terms, it’s one of the biggest rivalries. Red Sox fans can tell you how many times they’ve beat the Yankees. Yankee fans can tell you how many World Series their team has won.

We do the same with politics, but there is one huge difference: In baseball there are 28 other teams to cheer for. In politics, there are a total of two. Which side are you on?

The problem comes in two parts. First, it is the people rooting for their teams. Filmmaker Spike Lee is on the Democrats side. More especially, Team Obama.

He admitted the other day that he thought the expectations placed on Obama were too high. But, here’s what Lee refuses to see: It was Obama himself who set those high expectations.

Obama was the one who promised to close Guantanamo Bay. He wanted to change Washington. He even said the unemployment rate wouldn’t get over 8 percent during his term. None of those came true, even though he made the promises. To Spike on Team Obama, the truth doesn’t matter, because Obama can do no wrong.

To make matters worse, Spike raised over $1 million for Obama’s re-election campaign. He’s bought into his team. He can’t admit their wrongs.

It’s the same as Sean Hannity. He constantly rails against Obama. Everything Obama does is evil. Hannity is on Team Republican and the goal is winning, just like in sports, even if you have to lie, cheat and steal to get there.

The second part is the media. The media is too interested in covering the team’s wins and losses, instead of digging into the burning questions facing America.

I look at a ton of news coverage every day. There’s no question this has been the longest election cycle in recent history. The debates on spending might be boring, but they are what’s missing.

Instead, it’s story after story and question after question about who has more money and who has released their tax returns. The media hardly ever asks the candidates their positions on the costs of college or costly entitlement benefits. They don’t demand deeper answers. They are just looking for that quick sound bite, not covering things that really matter. When this happens, the real problem is the only wins go to the politicians and all the losses go to the American people.

Rob Hunter

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America’s rivalry culture is a political problem