Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moving the Fifty-Yard Line

Ate too much for lunch? Need to, uh, get rid of it quickly? Try reading Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr.'s latest in which he laments how the Republican Party has been taken over by extremists. The inspiring episode was, of course, "genial and courtly" Mike Castle's loss to the wild-eyed Christine O'Donnell in Delaware's GOP Senate primary. The column is gag-inducing to be sure, but he may be more correct than he would like. And thank God he is.

The late Alabama Governor and sometime presidential candidate George Wallace once famously complained that between Republicans and Democrats, "there's not a dime's worth of difference." Others, quite happy with the fact of essentially indistinguishable parties, have sometimes described American politics as a game played between the forty-yard lines.

The problem with that latter understanding, however, is that it gives the impression that nothing is actually happening. It gives the impression that the game is simply one in which one team gets the ball for a few downs then struggles for a few yards only to eventually punt the ball to the other team which merely repeats the process.

But the impression is incorrect. Something is happening, has happened. All the while, as one team had the ball and then the other, the fifty-yard line was slowly and steadily being moved, moved to the "Left" of the stadium. In fact, mid-field has now been moved so far to the left that it has finally dawned on virtually everyone that it is about to be re-established outside the stadium altogether.

So, in protest, one team starts to look quite extreme in its opposition. Go Team Go!

No comments:

Post a Comment