Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

Relax, Americans. This is not an attack on sports. No, in fact, I could have titled this article “why we care more about Jersey Shore than politics” or “why we care more about Facebook statuses than politics.” Presumably, I am not a reality TV, Facebook, or sports fan. Nevertheless, last Wednesday I went eagerly to my first sit-in on the school’s radio, WCUR 91.7 The Curve, for which I am currently training to join the ranks. I could never have been prepared for what I found when I got there; I had entered through the door of WCUR’s “Brotherly Love Sports Talk” and for the next hour I was drowned in RBI and other abbreviations I do not, and likely never will, understand. Upon leaving, I could not help but think, “if only we cared this much about politics…”

As I left, I continued to ponder why we do not care much about politics. In many ways baseball and politics are quite similar. Both require energy and commitment, but a dedicated fan never misses a game. Fans will root for their team for better or worse and through wins and losses. They will never give up hope regardless of challenges. Fans are there when the team faces their worst nemesis, and also when the team decides who to draft for the next season. While fans may not like the most recent player traded or drafted, they still root for each member of the team. Fundamentally, baseball and politics ask the same from their fans.

I have heard many Americans justify the reasons for their lack of interest in politics. Some people may feel that they are not represented in either baseball or politics. They may feel that both appeal to a certain demographic.  White, males have long dominated both areas historically. This has been changing in recent decades. Many people might argue that politics are boring because they are confusing and there are too many complicated rules and parts to follow. After listening to “Brotherly Love Sports Talk” use terms I have never heard for an hour, I completely dismissed that argument. Then, of course, there is the argument that with so much money involved in politics it is all corrupt anyway. Take a look at baseball. An average pro-baseball player might make anywhere from $2 to $6 million a year in salary. The president of the United States only has a salary of about $400,000 a year.

One of the most common arguments I have heard is that just one person will not make a difference; just one vote will not change the outcome. Yet again, the same is true of baseball. Without one fan’s support, the Phillies will still win, or lose (whichever the case may be) but that fact does not seem to any fans. All in all, I find more reasons to care about politics than for baseball. Whether I like it or not, politics have real impact on my life. How many people can honestly say the same about baseball?

What if baseball were treated like politics? What if most people did not actually pay attention to baseball? Or what if they only paid attention to the pitcher and cared less about the rest of the team? What if Americans only tuned in to baseball a couple times a year for the most pivotal moments? How would teams do without fan support? And what might they get away with when the fans are not looking? As Americans, we seem to think we have all the best solutions, yet we avoid responsibility. We think our democracy is the answer to everything, but Americans are missing the key point of a democracy. The Declaration of Independence states “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The very point of a democracy is for the ultimate results of government’s decisions to reflect the needs and desires of the people. When the people choose to stop caring, the democracy no longer runs the way it was designed. A true democracy requires people who take responsibility into their own hands.

Certainly Americans have proven to have the passion and devotion required to fight for American democracy. Now another election is approaching. Some may argue that no difference will be made, but one by one I believe that Americans can take democracy back into their own hands. Perhaps we might even come to care as much about the politics that run our country and infiltrate it in every part of our lives as we do with baseball.

Joy Wilson is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JW794401@wcupa.edu

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