Politically indifferent – and proud?

Posted: August 29, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Working out at night is not ideal – it can be difficult to muster energy after the sun goes down and when the rest of your family is going to bed. But if there is one advantage, it’s the availability of sports on TV. Nothing makes a run go faster than a compelling game, and the last few months have been fantastic, starting with the NBA playoffs, through the Olympics and now to the U.S. Open leading into the football season.

But Tuesday night, I was unable to watch tennis at the gym. Why? Because three of the five TVs were tuned to the Republican National Convention.

My first instinct: Eye roll. Good grief. Who cares? Politicians are all the same – crooked and unable to implement positive change.

Frankly, some of that might be true. But I can’t say for sure because I pay zero – literally zero – attention to politics aside from what I encounter by accident. (Actually, that’s not entirely true – I once had Sen. John Thune on my work podcast, although all we did was talk sports.)

It’s been this way for years, probably since I moved away from home at 18 and likely related to the fact that my dad was all about political TV and radio shows. Even before I was adult enough to see the big picture, the rhetoric turned me off.

This guy was speaking at the Republican National Convention while TV was hitting the hamster wheel. Is he related to Doug Christie?

So I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t follow politics just because they are skewed by financial influence, because partisanship is silly or because the system seems incapable of progress. I have no idea if any of that is true even though those are often used and potentially viable excuses within the anti-political crowd.

What’s more, the sports world, to which I am dedicated as both a fan and a working journalist, is hardly perfect from a systemic standpoint. In baseball, people complain that big-market teams buy titles. In football, players are dying young because of the physical toll of the game. Olympic sports for years have been tainted by PEDs. The NCAA is under attack for not paying players, while giving coaches too much. Do I need to keep going?

Yet I find one imperfect world fun and fascinating, the other petty and unwatchable. It’s entirely possible – and I’m just spit-balling here – that this boils down to physical movement: Sports has it, politics doesn’t (unless we’re including revolutions and wars; I was thinking more in terms of conventions, meetings and talk shows). And, yes, I realize that makes me sound like a caveman. Grunt, I guess. Also, the largely irreverent nature of athletics seem to play in its favor – if I’m going to watch people behave badly while competing, I’d prefer it to be in the course of a game rather than, say, in the Oval Office.

That is, I am on board with the idea that the Republican National Convention is more important than the U.S. Open, and not just because it’s held only once every four years. But I still have no desire to follow along – ditto for the Democrats. That’s an indictment of me, before the system. If I tried to pay attention and still felt repulsed, then I could point some fingers.

I feel bad about this in the sense that government is a big part of what makes American unique. Ignoring that entire sect means that, to a degree, I take my country, my freedom for granted. That’s weak. No question. No excuses.

At the same time, I have no plans to change. The political game does not appeal to me right now. Will it someday? Maybe. I never gave money to the Children’s Miracle Network until losing a daughter to prematurity, and now it’s a very personal cause. But I’m also not going to dump all of the blame for my apathy on the system given how little I track it.

It’s not, you, politics, it’s me. It feels sort of crummy and lazy to admit that, but there’s no sense in pretending otherwise. I’m not taking a stand, I’m not trying to be cool, I’m just not interested. And I know I’m not the only one, for whatever that’s worth.

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