A Ham-Fisted Metaphor About the American Experience

The Cubs WIN!  And then one of the opposing players comes out and says in order to "win" they actually need to score two runs more than they have and must have a couple of women on the roster and their best players can only play left-handed.  And other players agree to these stipulations - both on the Cubs and the other team.  Even some of the fans find these changes to be reasonable.  The rest of the fans would go apeshit, right?  That's because those are new rules not agreed upon when the game started.

All games have rules.  Without a set of agreed upon rules, there is no way to progress in the game.  The rules ensure that chaos doesn't reign and there is a sense of stability to the gameplay.

Now imagine playing a game and, during the course of the game, players start deciding to change the rules.  The point system being relied upon by those who are winning the game suddenly changes and the steps to gaining ground in the game are discarded for different steps.  Perhaps these rule changes are being instituted to make the game more fair for all the players.

Enough changes and confusion sets in.  Those who have been winning up to this point will likely react in one of three ways: acquiescence to the changes, frustrated silence and a refusal to play by the new rules, or anger and hostility.

Those who acquiesce might even be open enough to embrace the new rules.  Their sense of fairness and justice being more evolved than their sense of competitiveness, they realize that it is the playing of the game that is the point rather than who wins.  They also may just be folks less invested in the game and completely willing to "go along to get along."

Those who deny the existence of the changes are simply unwilling to see that the game is changing.  Not so much agents against changing the rules but more along the lines of ostriches with their heads in the sand.  Focusing on just playing the game they've always played and ignoring those looking to shift the board to make things more equitable.

Then there are those who actively fight against changing the rules.  Whether they've been winning or not, these players are fundamentally against the confusion of changing things mid-stream.  They'd rather see everyone simply lose the game than change the rules.  Sometimes, their response is to throw up their hands and declare their own rules rather than give in to someone else's changes.  Sometimes they elect Donald Trump.

What gets sticky is that, for the most part, those who want the changes made aren't making that attempt out of malice for those already playing and those resistant to the changes aren't necessarily "against" those suggesting (sometimes demanding) are different paradigm.  It starts to feel like hostility toward one another because, in our efforts to either change things or keep them the same, the rhetoric starts to fly and instead of communicating with each other - taking a pause and discussing things like adult people - we go on the attack.

Guess what, gang?  The rules are changing. It's America, that's the point - an evolving experience of every imaginable type of person mashed up into one nationality.  It's understandable that those confused by the changes in power dynamics in gender equity and race are going to be a little freaked out.  Ultimately, though, it isn't about winning but about playing the game fairly for every player.