Monday, April 19, 2004

On Sunday afternoon, during our traditional post-shooting lunch at a Texan-themed steakhouse, we were talking about elections. In the course of our discussion, one person stated that he could not vote for a candidate who did not like sports. An indifference to sports, he claimed, meant that the individual did not enjoy competition and thus would not be a good politician. The example someone cited was the President, who has a simple and honest appreciation for, among other things, open-roofed stadiums. (The dastardly Al Gore, by this account, approaches sports in the same technocratic way he does everything else and thus has less of this valued quality.)

Now there was some agreement at the table which could be uncharitably attributed to traditional macho attitudes about what constitutes a "real man" who we can trust to lead the country. However, I will give the shooters the benefit of the doubt, despite the obvious weaknesses in the argument: the assumptions that only competitive people should be in politics and that enjoyment of sports is the best way of determining if someone has a competitive nature. "Sport" was also defined broadly to include individual pursuits such as golf, so the possibility that love of sports acts as a proxy for ability to work in a team or the like was eliminated.

They were not impressed by the argument that competitiveness could be manifested through pursuit of excellence such as art or literature, even if those were undertaken in the same spirit of seeking to improve upon one's own prior achievement. So I throw it open to you all: would you vote for a presidential candidate who professed a dislike of sports? Why or why not?
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