Monday, January 25, 2010

Of Losses, Big & Small

Right now I can't decide which is a bigger disappointment - being a liberal Democrat or being a Vikings fan. They are actually remarkably similar disappointments. Both teams are powerless for long stretches, unable to do anything productive for fans or constituents, and then every few years they find a star (or an all-star cast), and the hope starts to grow again. It starts small - you think, hey, maybe we'll actually get to the postseason this year, or, all right, maybe we'll get the money back to get those 35,000 people back on healthcare rolls. But soon enough the stars start to impress, and you start the season 9-0, and you start dreaming Superbowl dreams. Or a young upstart shows up, energizing the party and sweeping a wave of optimism into Washington.
This is it! This is the best chance you've ever had to get to the big game, or to insure every man, woman, and child! If you're going to do it, this is the best group of people with the best shot at it! Everything is going along swimmingly until an interception is thrown, or it comes out that someone in the party said something stupid and racist. A recovered fumble is lost again, rather than being run in for a touchdown. Fox news is allowed to dictate the discourse, and somehow manages to paint you as simultaneously weak, and a fascist. The perfect kicker misses his first field goal of the year. You lose a seat in a safe state, and have to kiss your whole year of work goodbye (the Kennedy seat? Really? Top notch work, guys!). You try to play it cool - it was too bad, but we'll come out just as hard next year! However, as the year plays on, it becomes apparent that the star just can't stay here if we're not going to be competitive - we lose him to a richer team out east. Remember those Fox news viewers? They vote your guys out. And suddenly you realize you're "rebuilding" again. When will the next time come when the hope starts? You don't know, but you're sure you won't fall for it again. Screw those bums, if they can't do anything! If they're always going to almost achieve, only to shoot themselves in the foot again, you're just not going to hope anymore!
But you can't help it, because it's in your blood. I didn't ask to be a Vikings fan. I know most of them barely have any ties to this geographical place, but somehow they still conjure in me a pride in my homeland, the North Woods. I didn't ask to be a Liberal Democrat. It's not my fault I was born with compassion and empathy. I never asked my parents to instill in me a concept of fairness and justice for every person, but now I'm stuck with it. This winter has been especially brutal, with the disparity between hopes and results much larger than usual. I'm not saying I'm giving up on either of my ineffectual teams, but we'd better get either a Superbowl win or universal health care soon, because I don't know how much more of this disappointment I can take.

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