Ever heard of Calvinball? It is a game in which the rules were made up by two comic-strip characters (Calvin and Hobbes) as they went along, changed at a whim, and sometimes resulting in injury and humiliation: however, the the game rarely results in a clear winner. Calvinball generally seems quite chaotic to an outsider.
The resemblance to politics seems quite apparent to this writer: two teams, each seeking to win, and employing all manner of artifice, cunning, and sneakiness to win the “game” (or at least have fun playing). Indeed, Calvin himself once said, “This game lends itself to certain abuses”, and that reinforces the political analogy.
Confession Time: Mr. Blunt and Cranky despises political parties, seeing them as inherently and actually corrupting organizations. Indeed, they have proven themselves to be every bit as detrimental to our nation as President Washington predicted. But as long as both parties played by the same set of “rules”, one could at least guess what sorts of nonsense and brouhaha would spew forth from our governmental entities.
Of late, the “Republican” party would seem to have decided to play a one-handed game of Calvinball: they have discarded the old rules of the political game, and decided to make up their own rules as they go along, without consulting the other “team” (or sometimes even members of their own). Not surprisingly, this is causing problems, for their party and the nation as a whole. Because, even in a game like Calvinball , both parties need to agree to the same overall framework. As said in the link above, “Calvinball cannot be played by enemies”: all sides must have a certain amount of trust in, and respect for, each other if the game is to be successfully played.
But the Repubs hate hate HATE President Obama in particular, and Democrats in general. Respect is long gone, and trust is nearly as dead. So as they change rules, the Boehner Brigade and Marching McConnells (and their counterparts across the nation) play their one-handed game not just to play, and not just to win; rather, their objective is to destroy their enemies. And that, Gentle Reader, is a really big problem.
The nature of a two-party system is that of a constant tug-of war: but not war. The one is people pulling on opposite ends of a rope to see who can pull the hardest, and the other is about wiping the opposition off the face of the earth. The Dems (especially the Prexy), bless their pointed little heads, are still acting like both sides are pulling on that rope: but the Repubs see the rope as a fuse, which they would love to light so as to blow the other party to smithereens.
Another analogy: in a game that has always been somewhat akin to a full-contact version of baseball, the Jackasses are throwing slow-pitch softballs, and the Elephants have switched to hand grenades. And put land mines under the rest of the field. And packed the stands with little baby elephants, each with his or her bag of peanuts, flag pin, and rocket launcher. And are adding new “rules” as each minute goes by, to boot.
If politics has become a game of Calvinball, then all the players must agree to play Calvinball. Right now, the “Republicans” have switched not just the rules, but the entire game: either the Democrats must also play Calvinball, or their antagonists need to go back to the old game and its rules.
Mr. Blunt and Cranky
Special thanks to a favorite blogger: NameBrandKetchup for reminding this writer of Calvinball in his post about relationships. Y’all ought to read his blog. Not sayin’ just sayin’.