RED SOX fans hate the Yankees, and Yankees fans hate the Red Sox. It’s been that way for over a century, and it looks like it always will be.
For a lot of fans, their hatred of the other team is as great or greater than their love of their own team. And it’s that hatred that sells tickets and creates lifelong supporters. These two teams need each other to survive — it’s almost as if each team’s reason for being is to serve as the other’s archenemy.
I remember going to an outdoor concert in Massachusetts a few years ago, and as the crowd filed back to their cars after the show, they started an impromptu chant of “Yankees Suck! Yankees Suck!” Huh? What does that have to do with Tom Petty (or whoever we just saw)? And why not chant “Red Sox Rule”? Why did they have to go negative?
I can’t be the only one who sees little difference between this red-blue rivalry and our two-party political system. This manufactured left wing/right wing dichotomy has led a lot of Americans to pick a side, and their crazed fandom has fostered an unreasonable hatred of the other side. Worse, it’s made for lazy politicking, which is obvious after two weeks of party conventions.
Our campaigning politicians never have to say who they are or what they’ll do. They simply have to not be the other side. Barack Obama has gotten a lot of mileage, naturally, out of not being President Bush. But the Democrats’ claims that a John McCain presidency will be another four years of Bush/Cheney are crap — McCain and Bush aren’t even in the same book, let alone on the same page.
But guess whose picture is on the front page of the Democratic Party’s website. If you said Obama, you’re wrong. It’s John McCain hugging Bush alongside the words “More of the Same.” And the link for “Meet John McCain” is actually higher up than the link for “Meet Barack Obama” (and there are half a dozen other links criticizing McCain.)
If you really want to get the scoop on Obama, you’ll have to click on the big “Meet Barack Obama” link on the front page of — yep, you guessed it — the Republican Party’s website. Damn, that site devotes shitloads of space to the horror that is Barack Obama.
GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin devoted a good chunk of her speech Wednesday night to this “Yankees Suck” kinda stuff. (Hers was the only speech I listened to over the past two weeks — she was the wild card, the X Factor, the only person whose speech I couldn’t predict beforehand. So I felt I should listen.) Yes, she talked about her family and McCain’s “guts,” but she spent more time taking potshots at Obama than she did talking about herself. The biggest eruptions of applause during her speech came at his expense.
The crowd went nuts when she talked about the people who are “always proud of America,” but those words didn’t have anything to do with national pride — they were a jab at Michelle Obama, and the crowd knew it. She referenced Obama’s “bitterly clinging to religion and guns” quote, and spit out the words “establishment,” “media,” “San Francisco,” “read ’em their rights” and “personal discovery” with disgust.
Belittle Obama’s experience as a community organizer once, if you must. But twice? It’s amazing how she managed to make community service sound like a dirty word. And that gibe about Obama’s styrofoam Greek columns? It’s a great line — for Jay Leno.
But here’s the bit that really upset me: Palin quoted Democrat Harry Reid “of the ‘do-nothing Senate. He said, quote ‘I can’t stand John McCain.’ Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.” So, the enemy of my enemy is my presidential nominee?
And that’s why the two-party system sucks. Hatred of and from the other side seems to be endorsement and qualification enough. It’s certainly enough to win our votes. And because these two rival parties have split our nation somewhat evenly, they’ve ensured that our hatred of the other will keep them both in power for a long time to come.
And the Red Sox will still suck the whole time.