Friday, November 30, 2012

Passing the buck

We try our best to be consistent in our decision making, but try as we might, we are often unable to do it. This problem is a trait that most of us share in common. It is one of the most fundamental parts of our human nature.
Our decision making can be impacted for a number of reasons, but one of the most common ones deals with how emotionally involved we are in a situation when trying to come to a conclusion.
When thinking rationally, I believe most of us would agree that matters involving our government usually are much more important than matters in the trivial world of sports. After all, our government makes decisions that directly impact our lives while sports only provide periodic moments of entertainment.
With that in mind, why do we hold people in the sports world more accountable for their actions than people in politics? This is not the case in every situation, but we see this more often than not.
Consider what we have seen in the news lately. In late November, the University of Tennessee fired its head football coach after failing to find success on the gridiron. Derek Dooley inherited a mess when he was hired three years ago at the school.
However, during his time there, he was unable to clean up the mess and was let go. Fair enough. College coaches at big schools are paid tons of money, and they understand the expectations and pressure when they take the job. Coach Dooley did some good things at Tennessee, but it did not work out.
His situation was unique in that he was only given three years to fix the program's problems. Most rebuilding situations take more than three years, but the team took a step backward this year. Supporters of the coach would argue he was not given enough time to succeed, and they might be correct.
Unfortunately for Dooley, the fan base got restless and all the negativity built with each loss. Despite the brevity of his tenure, the emotion reached a point where he had to go.
Compare the quick hook Dooley got with our attitudes toward politicians, especially on the national level. Early in November, we held an election and very few of the incumbents were voted out of office.
The president was re-elected, as well as most of the people in the House of Representatives and Senate. This is despite our nation’s struggles economically and in other areas. As voters, most of us made the choice to continue with the hand we had been dealt.
Keep in mind, my comments are not meant to be anti-Republican or anti-Democrat. My curiosity centers on why we are willing to be so patient in certain aspects of our society and impatient in others.
For example, approval rates in polls are generally quite low when measuring attitudes toward Congress. Despite this, as a nation, we chose to keep the Senate in control of the Democrats and the House of Representatives in the hands of the Republicans.
As much as we say we want change and accountability we do not follow through. Our idea of change is usually wanting other people to be thrown out of office instead of our own representatives. Therefore, few get voted out.
So, where has this approach gotten us? It has gotten us $16 trillion in debt and an unemployment rate of almost eight percent. It has resulted in our country being extremely politically divided. Working together is becoming more of an obsolete concept.
What should we do? Maybe the time has come to hold our officials as accountable as some of us held Derek Dooley.

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