As has been a practice of mine whenever a succeeding occasion calls for it, I'll again be using an analogy I've used before.
With this year's general election steaming toward us like a proverbial runaway locomotive, and, among other incendiary political issues, is undoubtedly going to be influenced significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic whether we want to say it out loud or not, I think the analogy fits this scenario as well.
Sports enthusiasts know it was Green Bay Packer Coach Vince Lombardi Lombardi who first recognized there was something unnatural, even foolish, about the idea of playing the game just for the fun and sport of it.
Lombardi understood if not-so-good teams, such the pitiful one he first took over in Green Bay, were to going to reach the pinnacle of success this notion had to be removed from the psyche of every player and coach and replaced with a fresh and bold new way of thinking.
That’s why Lombardi decided to change the phrase, “It’s not if you win or lose that’s important, but rather, how you play the game,” into something a little closer to his personal view of how the world really turned on its axis.
Not long after his players embraced his new, less than sportsman-like ideology of win at any cost and by any means, the Packers raced to the summit of professional football. In short order Green Bay had gone from hapless losers — who prior to Lombardi were at or near the bottom of the NFL heap — to unquestionable and indisputable champions of the first two Super Bowls.
While Lombardi is credited with this radical concept, and while his team did enjoy unprecedented success, he did not invent the notion. As a matter of fact, the principles existed even before Green Bay, Wisconsin., let alone Lambeau Field, was much more than just a vast, untamed wilderness.
Years before there were teams competing for championship trophies, there were politicians. And it was the politician, and not someone affiliated with sports, who first recognized the undeniable reality that the nice guy, though admired and respected by all, at least in the world of politics, had never amounted to very much more than an ill-fated pigeon prime for plucking and fricasseeing over an open fire.
These individuals knew all too well one could not win and keep office by being the nice guy who played by gentlemanly rules.
Which, I suppose, is why all this again is noteworthy. With very important 2020 November election coming up, every voter in this country needs to think hard and seriously about whom it is we're voting for and why.
It's especially important with this country in the throes of a health crisis we as a nation haven't experienced in more than 100 years, whose consequences could mean whether it survives as it as has always been or transcends to something forevermore unrecognizable.
Winning at all costs and using every means possible, including this current pandemic, to keep one group in power or to usher in another while trampling on the graves of all those we've lost and will continue to lose to this virus, is just plain wrong. Winning at all costs when that means leaving in the wake all the victims of the collateral damage who have lost their jobs, their farms, their companies, not to mention many of the possessions they've worked their entire lives to get, is not only unacceptable it's unconscionable.
Nevertheless, and very much unfortunately, you and I both know COVID-19 and its social and economic fallout will be at the forefront of a lot of minds this election.
It'll be up to us, the voters, to make sure we understand that, in this instance at least, the ideologies of past politicians and, much later, Lombardi, were wrong — very much wrong.