In the sports world, fans and critics love talking about rivalries, and a recent NFL commercial claims that Chicago and Green Bay are the oldest rivalry in the book. Being a Baltimore fan, the best rivalry in sports is between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. I would argue, however, that the oldest rivalry is Republicans vs. Democrats.
There are roughly 30 teams in the four major sports in the USA, creating a healthy competition. But when it comes to voting for a president, or even a representative and senator, you usually only have two choices: Democrat or Republican.
Since going back to the parties’ beginnings: Andrew Jackson in 1829, the Democrats have had 15 presidents; the Republicans, starting in 1860 with Abraham Lincoln, have had 18 presidents. The last time a non-Democrat/Republican was president, was Millard Fillmore in 1853, a Whig.
Through 150 years, this political battle has become the oldest rivalry and it has escalated in recent years with each party accusing the other of being unAmerican and/or killing the American Dream.
Everyone has the right to believe in what ever they want to believe, so long as they allow others to do the same. With so many different ideas and different people in a free society we are left with more ideas and beliefs than two dominant parties can handle.
So what can people who are not 100 percent Democrat or 100 percent Republican do? Not much.
In the presidential election you can pick either heads or tails. The two parties in this two-party-system have a stranglehold on the elections. Just ask Ralph Nadar, the Green Party candidate. In 2000, a vote for Nadar was a vote for then Republican candidate George W. Bush, even though they are complete opposites.
When the other party fails or when a third party steals votes the whole country sufffers the damages. It’s as if the only two teams in baseball are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Through unhealthy competition both parties have a tendency to only highlight each other’s failures and will sometimes push those failures with obstruction and lies. When a parties’ policy succeeds the country and its citizens succeed. When the policies fail, the country fails, and the opposing party gains an advantage. Therefore, it becomes the interest of the opposing party to push for the failure of its counterpart to better their chances of winning the next election.
Recently, certain Republicans have accused President Barack Obama of “cooking the books” on the September jobs numbers. If the country is doing better, they won’t admit it and will do what they can to ignore and down grade the facts in order for help their party win, instead of saying that the numbers are better, but still not great. Back in 2008, there were many Democrats who took advantage of the failing economy to help Obama win.
This is what happens when you have a two-party system set up like a sporting rivalry.
Rose O’Neill Literary House