Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

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Dec 30

Football Politics

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 9:10 AM by Iredell County Public Library

My father has been a strong republican all his life. I mean when it comes to politics he has no use at all for a democrat. I can remember as a little boy in Lenoir, North Carolina going with him to local republican rallies down at the recreation center. I can’t remember anything that was said, but I do remember Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks performing and a lot of politicians getting up to talk.   

Today in our country we have what I can, “Football Politics.”  Elections have basically turned into football games in which you pull for your team to win regardless of the position they take or who is on the team running that year. That’s the way it is in football. Before the Panthers arrived people in N.C. had their favorite pro football team that they pulled for. I am now a Panther fan, but I still pull for the Philadelphia Eagles while my best friend is a Panther season ticket holder and still pulls for the Dolphins.

I pull for the Eagles whether they are good or bad, winning or losing. Who is on the team doesn’t really matter. I pull for them anyway since they are my team. That’s the way it is in politics now. People decide for some reason that they are a Republican or Democrat and then pull for that side to win pretty much for the rest of their lives.  It doesn’t matter who is running, what issues they believe in, or how the country is going. They vote for their team regardless and pull against the other team. They love to see their side win and the other sides lose. They eat up good news about their team and relish seeing bad press about the opposition.

Some people say that this is not a good way to elect officials or to run government. They point out that people have become so impassioned about seeing their side win that they cannot stand to see the other party get any credit or success even when that success means good news for the country. The campaign season is now 7 days a week 365 days a year weather it’s an election year or not.

The deal used to be once the election was over you quit campaigning and accepted the results and forgot about it until the next election. Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost you supported whoever won as a legitimately elected official and as your representative regardless of what party they ran under. By the same token they were supposed to represent you regardless of what party you belonged to. Now a lot of people just refuse to accept the election results. “He’s your President, governor, senator, or councilman, not mine,” is what you hear from a lot of people after their party’s candidate loses.

I am sure some people will say that what I am talking about is nothing new in politics. Rob Christensen is a long-time political reporter and columnist for the Raleigh News and Observer and author of the recently released book, “The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics: The Personalities, Elections, and Events That Shaped Modern North Carolina” (University of North Carolina Press, spring, 2008).

In an online interview at www.ibiblio.org/uncp/media/christensen he said, “I believe in the old saying that democracy is the worst form of government—except for every other form. Politics is always messy and unsightly and sometimes corrupt and, in the past, even violent. But I think that I have been privileged to have a front row seat to witness a free people governing themselves. Harry Truman once said that the only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know. Nearly everything we see today, we have seen before.”

“The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics” basically asks how could a state have had both Jesse Helps and John Edwards as its elected officials in the U.S.

June 14, 2008