At the risk of being overly dramatic, I must say that without a reverse in direction, I fear that our society and democracy are in trouble. Self-interest, greed, hypocrisy, and the desire to beat one’s opponent at any cost seem to carry the day while civility, fair play, and a willingness to compromise are on life support in the public arena.
Not only in politics is this true, but it is bleeding into other areas as well. Well-heeled parents pay to have their children’s SAT scores altered or bribe athletic directors to get their kids into prestigious schools. The Astros and the Red Sox cheat to win baseball games and a World Series and are not stripped of the championship honor. Sure, the managers are fired, and a couple of ball players mouth lukewarm apologies, but they all get to keep their rings and bonuses. What does that tell our youth? Maybe the risk /reward is worth it? The mantra I heard when I was young and playing sports, and what I told my players as a coach was “if you have to cheat to win, you’ve lost more than the game,” and your integrity is more important than posting one in the win column. Sports also taught us to be gracious in victory and tip our hat to the opponent in defeat.
Certainly, grace and integrity are in very short supply today especially in the political arena. We have a leader who instead of trying to bring us together and find common ground, pulls us apart with insulting tweets and bullies those who do not see things the same way he does. The win no matter how approach is not good for our democracy, and I hope that whatever your political persuasion, you teach your children how to play fair and look for what unites us rather than what divides us.