Monday, January 17, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Super Bowl

News Items:
The Chicago Bears will play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship football game.
President Obama begs for more civil discourse among politicians and others who disagree.

I have been a Chicago Bears fan ever since I moved to the Chicago area many years ago. I have accepted and enjoyed the traditional rivalry and buildups before battles between the Bears and the Packers, two teams that consider each other hereditary enemies. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I respect the Packers and their traditions. Over the years, a significant number of Bears players have moved on to the Packers, and the reverse is true also. On occasion, I even root for the Packers when they are playing someone other than the Bears.
In political, religious, and economic matters, why can't we respect the opposition even though we disagree with them? One of the differences and problems is that in football both sides play by the same rules. If one side tries to gain an advantage over the other, it has to work within the framework of those rules. In politics and economics there are too many opportunities for people to go outside the very minimal framework of rules to gain advantages by making false and misleading statements, inciting an emotional population, and branding someone as an enemy. Maybe we need more referees and fact-checkers in our national discourse and our media as well as in our sports. There are many reasons to stick to the facts when debating our future. Too many times we have trouble even sticking to the facts when we discuss our past.

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