On Team Sports and Politics

The following post originally appeared on Medium.

I am not a sports fan. My knowledge of sports is, shall we say, limited... I sort of understand why people are so passionate about sports, the same way I understand why some people are so passionate about Crossfit. But I don’t want any part of either of them.

The fact that I couldn’t care less about sports leaves me feeling left out of the “boys club,” but it also gives me a different perspective on the passion (fanaticism?) of the fans. I’m amazed at how strongly they can affect people. My co-hosts are perfect examples.

Pat Gray, one of my best friends, is one of the most loyal, smart and kind people I know. There are times when my emotions get the best of me, and Pat is always there to add a calming perspective about faith and principles.

RELATED: Those Standing on Principle Are in Good Company

Unless it’s the Monday following a BYU football loss, which seems to be happening a lot lately.

In that case, my week begins with a breathless review of every broken play, every stupid decision by the coach, and a lengthy biography of every communist traitor that the NCAA has dared to employ as a referee. I should mention, Pat did not go to BYU, he doesn’t know any of the players, and their home games are played 1,200 miles away from his home. Yet, his whole life is affected by the results of these games.

I’ve even seen his morning destroyed by what happened in a BYU rugby match. I didn’t even know BYU had a rugby team. I’m not even sure BYU knew they had a rugby team. They do, as it turns out, and they’ve actually won four straight national championships — just ask Pat.

I’ve worked with Stu Burguiere going on 20 years. He was born in New York and grew up in Connecticut so, naturally, he is a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan. Throughout the week, you can tune in to hear Stu complain about government spending on feel-good green energy. On Sundays, you can hear him cheering on a team named after a symbol of the New Deal, in a stadium lined with wind turbines and solar panels. His stated position: “I’ve made it through 40 years without a Super Bowl, I think I can power through anything short of an ISIS endorsement.”

Pat and Stu are relentlessly dedicated to their sports teams; and they are not alone. More than half of all adult Americans — and 100% of real men, I’m told — proudly call themselves sports fans.

Let’s dig into one of the great rivalries in sports history (my thanks to an anonymous friend who assisted me with this analogy): The Lakers and the Celtics in the 1980s.

Imagine you’re a Lakers fan in the early 80s and Jerry West trades Magic to the Celtics for Bird. Later, he trades Worthy for McHale and Parish for Jabbar? Then, the next year, Pat Riley and K.C. Jones switch teams. Then imagine that the next year after that, the Lakers decide to wear green and white and the Celtics go with purple and gold. And, finally, a year after that, in case your head isn’t already spinning, the Lakers move to Boston and the Celtics move to LA. And with that last move, the NBA logo man, Jerry West, goes to the Celtics as the GM.

At any point, based on the players, the coaches, the team colors or even the location of the team — would you switch allegiances?

RELATED: Many Voters Have Already Conquered the Mountain of Accepting Trump’s Behavior

What about when the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis? Colts fans, did that drive a stake through your hearts? Or did you say to yourself, “business is business — they needed a new stadium”? What happened when the Ravens became Baltimore’s team? If you were still a Colts fan, did you suddenly become a Raven’s fan?

What if your team cheats? What if they get caught and fined for recording another team’s practice or deflating balls? Do you remain loyal because they’re still winning? I mean, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,”[1] right? Or is there virtue in playing by the rules?

I could go on and on...

My understanding, from my friends who are sport fans, is that they would identify with Stu’s position — short of their team endorsing ISIS, they are true blue and would never give up on their team.

Why? Because it is their team. What makes some entity that charges you a lot of money to go to the game, makes you pay through the nose for mediocre food and blacks-out local broadcasts if they fail to sell enough tickets to the game deserving of your loyalty is beyond me. BUT — and this is a big but — the reality is it does not matter. I don’t mean to the sports fan; I mean in life. It does not matter if you are a Lakers fan or a Celtics fan, an Eagles fan or a Giants fan or, as depressing as this may be, a Miami Dolphins fan (like the president of my company). The world won’t change based on who you root for or why.

In sports, the teams with the most disastrous histories of losing become incubators for the best fans. We call these fans “die hards” because their teams are seemingly always trying to kill them. This sort of blind loyalty is only excusable in the world of sports because it means nothing. It does not impact our jobs or our economy or our society — it is, at the end of the day, just a game. In any other context, this sort of blind loyalty would be — and is — insane.

As it relates to politics, the appropriate level of team loyalty is zero.

As George Washington (and our founders) warned us — blind loyalty in our system of politics has real ramifications. The Red and the Blue of our political environment pits us against one another — our team against their team. Our politics should not define us. An Eagles fan should be able to be friends with and respect a Giants fan (and vice versa), and they can and are. But this same bi-partisan respect does not exist in our politics today.

But it is worse than that. The political climate today, besides being team focused, is closer to the hypothetical Lakers vs. Celtics scenario I proposed above than to what typically happens in sports.

The GOP did stand for small government, free trade, the protection of the unborn, the Constitution, etc... But what is it now?

The Democrats were “for the little guy” who couldn’t do it alone, they were against the big banks, they were against spying and drone warfare... But what does the party stand for today?

If your party dumps its principles and proceeds to engage in the sort of behavior that you wouldn’t accept from a toddler, you should abandon that party — immediately. Loyalty to your party in the face of constant abuse doesn’t make you a brave and virtuous soldier, it makes you a helpless, yet complicit victim.

We are the most dynamic country in history. For us to have allowed ourselves to be held captive by the parties is one thing, but to willingly settle into what feels like a perpetual state of Stockholm Syndrome is quite another. Too many people seem to be willing to defend their party’s decision to abandon its principles for no other reason than the good of the “team”. But this isn’t a game — this stuff actually matters. If the team changes, are we obligated to change with them? If they lie, must we become liars in defense of the team?

Watching the VP debate was enlightening, though not surprising. Seeing Gov. Pence, who I believe is a good man, allow himself to be made a liar, in his defense of a liar, was shameful. Watching Gov. Kaine acting like an ass (although I’ve heard he is a really good and decent man) is beneath him — and us: But all in the name of the team.

RELATED: Did Kaine’s Debate Plan Include Being the Most Obnoxious Man on Earth?

If you’re like me, you look at Washington and ask how these people (not just the VP candidates, but also the strategists, the “elites,” the elected officials, etc.) can live with themselves? How can they go back on their principles the moment they feel it may benefit them to do so? Does this not bother them?

It’s because it’s all about the team. It’s blind loyalty to a mindless cause — likely starting with what they believe are good reasons. (If I don’t go along, I will be voted out, and then what? How much difference can I make from the outside?) But likely ending with a desire for power and control.

Why do we allow the ends to justify the means and the letter that follows the name to supersede everything?

As John Adams said, “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Many have written that 2016 has been an unmitigated disaster, filled with tragic deaths, terrible events, and the universe’s worst political candidates this side of Kang and Kodos.

A lot of the time, I feel exactly the same way.

But these moments of real strife can be the moments of real character. Challenge yourself. Ponder and pray. Don’t let your vote be a passive matter of partisan habit. Think beyond one election and think about who you are, what type of country and society you want and what type of leadership we deserve?

What would 2016 look like in a world rid of the political “teams”? What would 2020 and beyond look like? Would we have the two least likable politicians EVER? Would we have two proven liars running out the clock in hopes that the other will screw up badly enough to cost him/her the game? OR would we have an engaged citizenry demanding that its politicians comport themselves with decency and reflect the principles that they actually believe in?

Has either candidate earned your vote? Or are you just voting against the other one? Don’t get me wrong, I get the “binary choice” argument — but don’t we want more? Don’t we deserve more?

RELATED: Binary Choices Lead to Walls, Condemnation and Destruction

We can do better. We must demand more. No more of this blue team vs. red team nonsense. Let’s focus on the principles of the men and women we elect and stop treating the future of our country as if it were a game. It isn’t.

[1] Hat tip to Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders.

Featured Image: Professional American football player diving whilst being tackled during game in outdoors stadium under dramatic sky at sunset (credit: Pali Rao)

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn explained why he wouldn't be surprised to see our supply chain collapse and empty shelves in America in the near future. Shortages are already wrecking our economy, China (where many of our goods are still made) is facing an energy shortage, and the Biden administration sure seems to be doing everything it can to make things worse.

Glenn noted a serious warning from American CEO Mike Beckham: "There's a major storm brewing in the supply chain," Beckham wrote on Twitter.

Thanks to China's centrally planned system, electricity shortages are causing huge delays in product manufacturing. In fact, some items are facing a 33 percent cut in production. "It could dramatically impact every [American's] life next year. But almost no one knows about it yet," Beckham warned.

Glenn went on to explain exactly what this means for you — and what you can do to prepare.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn break it down:


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Every decision made by President Joe Biden has ended in "disaster," Bill O'Reilly told Glenn Beck.

O'Reilly joined the radio program to explain why he thinks there's only one "mechanism" Americans can use stop the Biden administration's mess.

"Give me one thing that [Biden] has done, just one, that's improved this nation. Everything that he has been involved with is a disaster. Everything from the COVID mandates, to the energy policies, to the economic policies, to the inflation, to Afghanistan, to the collapsing southern border, to the social woke business, to the denial of due process. Right across-the-board, there isn't anything this man has done, or stood for, that's improved America," O'Reilly said.

"But there is no mechanism to do anything about it until a year from this November: the midterm elections. That's the only mechanism that we have, under the Constitution. We elected this guy and he's there for four years. You neutralize him next November [2022], with the Republicans taking back the House and Senate, then he's done. [He] can't do anymore damage because you've got him in a hole. And he's not going to be proactive with executive orders. He's just going to stay there in his jammies for two more years. OK? So that's the only mechanism."

O'Reilly also tore into the corporate media for using its power to defend Gen. Mark Milley after news of his China calls broke. Is there any deterrence in American society anymore to keep our leaders and media in check?

"What does this say to the United States of America when you have two of the most powerful information agencies in the world — NBC, Comcast, and AT&T, CNN — actively deceiving you?" O'Reilly said. "They know what they're doing. And yet there is absolutely no way for anyone to hold them accountable other than not watching them, which has, of course, happened. You know they have no audience. But just the corruption level of the information flow to the American people is at an all-time high. We have never had a worse media in the history of this republic."

Watch the clip below to hear O'Reilly break it all down:

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Twitter is full of fake communists. Privileged teenagers and 20-somethings who tweet about Karl Marx from their iPhone, safe inside their parents' house.

A recent example of this is the "What is your job on the Leftist commune?" meme. It began as a tweet from some anonymous Twitter Marxist, asking "What is your job on the Leftist commune?"

She continued, "I'm gonna be leading discussion on theory some days, making clothes from scraps other days, and making lattes whenever needed."

The tweet got thousands of likes, retweets, and comments. Things like, "Bringing everyone water. Pouring tea and hot cocoa for folx in the reading alcoves. Checking in and doing a pause-to-breath with folx."

By the way, "folks" is spelled with an "x" for some reason.

Other commune occupations included "proofreading pamphlets," singing, archery, cooking, crotchet, "guiding embodiment practices," tarot card reading, "identity politic lawyering." Therapist, librarian, prostitute, and "puppy kindergarten teacher."

They're basically parroting Marx, whose communist society sounds like Woodstock or Burning Man.

They're basically parroting Marx, whose communist society sounds like Woodstock or Burning Man.

A magical place where "there are no painters but at most people who engage in painting among other things," which allows "everyone sufficient free time to take part in the general affairs of society — theoretical as well as practical," so that "there are no politicians but at most people who engage in politics among other activities."

Don't you know that communism is all about leisure and good vibes? A playground full of puppies and lattes.

Marx refers to "idle time" as a time for higher activity. He calls it "time for the full development of the individual."

Me Time. A life of spa days.

Generation Z is the first digital generation. The first generation to be born inside the internet. So it's no surprise that they have fallen for this kind of Marxist nonsense. If someone convinces you that Marxism will free you from work, of course you'd want it.

Now they're quitting their jobs in droves. The media is calling it "The Great Resignation," but really it's just a new version of Marx's anti-work movement.

Gen Z are incredibly progressive. And they expect the government to be involved. Decades of Marxist activism have finally convinced a generation that the point of work, the point of life, the point of government, is activism.

Pew Research Center found that seven in ten "members of Gen Z are more likely than older generations to look to government to solve problems, rather than businesses and individuals."

Seven in ten of Gen Z believe that the government should do more to solve problems. A majority of them are not proud of America, a majority of them hold negative views of capitalism.

They believe Marx when he says that Capitalism is only good for producing its own grave-diggers. We know that this is actually a description of communism. Actually, communism is much worse. Because it always results in mass graves.

They haven't realized that that the world that Marx foresaw is long gone. It failed. Repeatedly.

They don't realize that, even on the page, Marxism doesn't work. Because ultimately the greatest flaw of Marxism is that it forces us to choose between productive slavery and unproductive freedom. Either way, with Marxism we can never be free.

"The Great Resignation" is ultimately a crisis of freedom, identity, and exhaustion. It is, as noted in a recent Gallup report, an expression of great discontent. Gen Z feels like they have nothing to lose and nothing to gain.

But in America, there's always something to lose and gain.

But in America, there's always something to lose and gain. They just need to have a little patience.

For the most part, Americans adhere to the libertarian maxim, "As long as you're not hurting anyone…." It's our undeniable belief in the goodness of the people around us. If you've traveled out of the States much, you know this to be true. There's a spirit inherent to America, and it is overwhelmingly good in nature.

Marx's utopia would ruin us. It would make us as lazy as Marx. A man who lived off other people his entire life. A man who had no loyalty to any nation because no nation wanted him. He was stateless. Do you realize how awful a person has to be for them to be stateless?

Maybe Gen Z just needs to see America at its finest.

Marx's utopia would quickly become disgusting. It would leave us feeling empty. Hopefully, they realize this before it's too late. For their own sake. Because, if America ever actually fell to communism, they would be the first ones against the wall.

When the government plans to spend $3.5 trillion that it doesn't have on a loose definition of "infrastructure," it's a good idea to know what's actually in it.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck revealed some of the expenditures Democrats hid in the bill, like a 10-fold increase in fines for employers who don't comply with the government's COVID-19 mandates, "equitable" bankroll for Biden's Build Back Better agenda, and "climate justice" funding.

"Let me tell you what's in our infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion bill," Glenn began. "Nancy Pelosi quietly tucked an enforcement mechanism into the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, passed it down to the budget committee, and sent it to the House floor. It's something you should know about, on page 168. I know, why read it? It's 2,465 pages."

Glenn pointed out the huge fees for certain businesses that refuse to comply with the Biden administration's proposed vaccine mandates. The fees could be as much as $700,000.

"Up to $700,000 ... that will kill all companies that are noncompliant. Kill them. That's 80 million of us who work in companies that are going to be fined in that way, if they don't bow the knee to the king," he said.

Glenn and Stu Burguiere went on to discuss more Democrat "wish list" items hidden inside this reconciliation bill, such as establishing "business incubators" who are authorized to disperse tens of billions of dollars to startup businesses in underserved areas, including the formerly incarcerated, and exclusive to businesses less that five years in operation or in "the planning stages."

"These sorts of businesses are the most risky place to put your money. Well, that matters when it's your money. But if it's not your money, who cares how risky it is. It's our [taxpayers] money so they don't care at all," Stu noted.

"Well, there's also $5 billion for climate justice block grants to pay for community organizations for, among other things, facilitating engagement of disadvantaged communities in state and federal processes," Glenn read. "Wait a minute. 'Facilitating engagement of disadvantaged communities in state and federal processes'? Organizing votes — that's what it sounds like."

"This is essentially all of us funding the fever dream of Barack Obama," Stu said.

Watch the video clip below for more details:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.