I have to credit my boyfriend for suggesting this appropriate extended analogy. After several weeks of delayed games, inaccurate calls and the kind of under-preparedness that threatened to remove the integrity from NFL officiating, dire warnings came to fruition last night when the Green Bay Packers were essentially robbed of a victory. Although I am by birth a Chicago Bears fan, this was a uniting moment for football enthusiasts of all stripes. At the end of the day, it’s a love of the game that brings us together, and those who don’t stand in protest against the league’s continued lockout of unionized officials might want to consider who will side with them when their home team is cheated.
As my partner and I looked on in horror at the pandemonium that erupted at Seattle’s Qwest Field after the game’s controversial conclusion, he made a keen observation: “This is what will happen if the country votes for Mitt Romney.” Immediately, I asked for further clarification.
Basically the argument is this: President Obama has a great deal in common with the locked out NFL officials. These are the people that many fans, players and coaches take for granted during a normal season. They do their jobs without glamour, striving to make the best calls according to the league’s rule book. They don’t get it right every time, leading to the requisite jeers, but by and large, students of the game can rest confidently knowing that if nothing else, the referees decisions do not affect the match’s outcome. The best team will usually win. It is not until these shepherds are taken away that we feel the pain of their absence.
President Obama is just such a leader on a national level: a brilliant thinker and empathetic man entrusted with stewardship of the country in the midst of one of its most historically challenging epochs. Every call the POTUS has made since taking office in January 2009 may not have been the right one, but the choices were made through a combination of strategic thought and genuine respect for the American people. However much work lies ahead, in under four years, Obama has brought the union back from the brink of complete financial and foreign policy collapse.
Those that have grown impatient with the slow and steady progress of nation rebuilding would like to substitute Barack Obama for Mitt Romney, an ignorant charlatan who has made lofty promises about “putting people back to work” and “restoring the middle class” without the benefit of specifics. Seeking to capitalize on a stubbornly sluggish job market while conveniently forgetting that it was eight years of GOP policy making that landed us in this protracted mess, Republicans have the audacity to suggest we give them another go, because you know, destructive management is bound to yield completely different results this time. So send in the scab!
But as we have seen over and over again throughout this long campaign, Romney doesn’t have the chops to step into Obama’s shoes. He has no specific plans for uplifting America’s beleaguered middle class. His foreign policy ineptitude is now well documented, as is his disdain for the working poor and any average American struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. To underscore Romney’s utter cluelessness, it is now apparent that he doesn’t possess the basic understanding of your average first grader in grasping why commercial airline windows can’t be manually opened.
Last night’s Seahawks/Packers game, which bore witness to two awful contest ending calls from officials, was a case study in inexperience compounded by frozen ineptitude. No lives were lost and I do not mean to suggest that the NFL scandal is on par with the dire consequences we are bound to collectively suffer by replacing Obama with a cartoon punchline. However, those who enjoy the sporting element of politics yet approach the coming election with seriousness were gifted with a foreshadowing allegory from, of all places, a football match. Imagine Romney in the end zone during a matter of national urgency, surrounded by a team of confused advisers more interested in saving face than protecting the honor of the institution. That’s our future should the Romney/Ryan ticket prevail.