I’m a UCLA football fan. I’m a registered Democrat. Both at the moment are painful.
Watching USC and the Gallant Old Party strut around the field, lying, cheating and winning, pisses me off. It makes me sad. But both have one similar quality that I do admire, that I think both my alma mater and my political party leadership need to emulate (and which President Obama does well to his immediate political detriment, but hopefully to the long-term benefit of the nation) is this: long-term strategic planning.
USC has a stock of skill-position players (quarterbacks, runningbacks, receivers, etc.) who are in the wings, waiting for their opportunity. learning their positions and responsibilities in order to jump on the field running and achieve their immediate goals of winning games and their long term goals of creating a successful program. The GOP has been planning since Nixon opened China their uber-capitalist, non-regulated, (apparent) socially conservative, racially segregated Contract On America. Whether it is called the Moral Majority, the Contract for America, the Bush Presidencies, the Tea Party or Speaker of the House John Boehner, the step by step dismantling of civil rights under a cloak of traditional values and dismemberment of the social safety net for the poor and underemployed while screaming about budget deficits (money before people), the GOP is implementing their soul-crushing, cash-hoarding razing of America with precision.
Meanwhile, my Bruins are scrambling and struggling without a quarterback (haven’t really had one since Cade McNown left), hiring and firing coaches (watch out Coach Neuheisel – there’s a target on your back), changing offenses, defenses and not getting new players enough learning and training time before throwing them out on the field with older, stronger, smarter men to be pummeled into submission. And my Democrats are cutting each other into ribbons, pointing fingers, eating their young, whining about what they haven’t accomplished, throwing out babies with bathwater (sorry, Governor Dean, your 50-state strategy was awesome but there’s the door), and trying to hang our collective failure to plan and implement on the most successful Democrat in the last fifteen years, Barack Obama.
They’re planning and implementing thirty year plans (how else do you explain the line of qbs, rbs,and receivers in the National Football League? or the John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas Supreme Court which handed George Bush the presidency in 2000 based on “irreparable harm”?!) to implement their vision of what semi-pro football and the United States should be.
We’re going from year to year, from campaign to campaign, short-sightedly focused on immediate gains for people and failing to implement anything that lasts through the day after the election. We’re recruiting one or two good players per year, playing them as freshmen, and then wondering why they don’t perform. It’s painful to watch. It’s death by a thousand cuts.
While I hate, hate, hate the Crimson and Gold, I grudgingly admire what they have been able to accomplish. And while I abhor the stated values and goals of the Republican Party for this country, I have to admit that they have been out-strategizing us for at least a generation (really… they had in 2009 the minority in Congress, and they’ve been beating our asses with NO since then!) because they weren’t playing small ball. They’ve trotted our John McCain as a presidential candidate, and he unleashed She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named – sideshow distractions while they pursued their political and economic agenda that we are dealing with now.
“I am your enemy, the first one you’ve ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now on I am your teacher.”
-Mazer Rakam to Andrew Wiggin, Ender’s Game