By Evelyn Perez-Verdia
“Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
I believe one of the topics most Latin Americans relate to is soccer. They may not take time off to go and vote, but when the World Cup happens, rest assured that you will see an increase of sick and paid leave in the Hispanic population.
It is so embedded in us that in 2007, my friend Angelette and I did a commercial to teach Hispanics about the new voting machines that would start being used at election offices around Florida. We used soccer to make our point:
Yet, as I think about it more, I realize how much the two major political parties have become like soccer. I think of the blow in the last World Cup that “my soccer team” Colombia gave to Neymar, the best player of the Brazil team, who suffered from a broken vertebra when he was hit by someone from my team. Colombia had never been so close to winning the World Cup. I remember being in a place with so many Colombians and all of them shouting in joy as Neymar was on the floor filled with pain. Neymar was not a human from planet earth like all of us–Neymar was the enemy. Brazil was wrong, Colombia was right. Neymar “deserved” to be hurt. In soccer, when it comes to your team, you become so blind because you want to win, that you become a fanatic. The penalties against your team are always incorrect. You stick by their side till the end. You celebrate with them when they win, and cry with them when you lose.
Democrats and Republicans have gotten to the point where many have become “soccer fanatics”. The majority are not willing to listen to the other point of view. Parties come first before the principle, where all that matters is winning the election, and special interests overtrumps the wishes of the people they represent.
I have been an Independent since 2010. I used to be a Democrat. I never had the courage to sign a form that said that no matter what, I always had to support and vote for a Democrat in the elections. The man or woman could be incompetent, yet I needed to support them because they were Democrats? No, thank you. I have been offered to become a Republican and even become appointed to a Governor’s board if I decided to do so. No, thank you. No one can buy me. Because I am not a fanatic, and I also do not want to become one in the near future. I believe there a many Republicans and Democrats that are also not fanatics, overshadowed by the extremists of their party. Possible extremists because it is no longer about us, it is about power, it is about ego, and it is about winning. When this changes, our nation will improve. When we have more members of Congress trying to work with both sides, our nation will change. Yet, as Americans we tend to forget history. A history where 20 years ago, we may not have been in agreement with everything of the opposing party, but we came to a consensus for the betterment of the people. For the sake of the “American Team”.
Maybe that is why I am independent, too cynical to believe that either party has all the answers, and too optimistic to not get involved in the political process. Maybe that is the reason why 45% percent of all Americans currently self identify as independents. The last time this happened was 70 years ago. 70 years ago, we were in World War II. Should I say more?