Political Ping-Pong

What Phil Robertson Reminded Me About Politics


I am really getting tired of the polarized political debate we are currently facing in North America.

Gay marriage, income inequality, Obama Care, oil pipelines, corporate bail-outs, hanging chads, global warming, whatever, it’s seems it’s being going on forever and it’s never going to stop.

It’s nothing more than a game of political ping-pong.


To be honest I’ve never played much ping-pong so my analogy may fall apart but here’s the way I see it.  Ping-pong is at its heart a very simple game.  You bounce a ball back and forth across a table with a paddle about the size of a dessert plate.  Two players of equal skill can go on bouncing that ball back and forth forever with neither one scoring any points. (The longest rally in history lasted for over 8 hours). More often, one player will be caught off balance and the ball will slip by resulting in the other player scoring a point.  When both players are equally matched this happens on both sides pretty much an equal number of times.  The official rules of ping-pong state that the game is won when one player reaches 11 points but if both players reach 10 points the game continues until someone wins by 2.  Again, when players are equally matched the game can in theory go on forever.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest ping-pong match in history took place in 1971 and lasted 59 hours and 30 minutes.

Here’s the point.  The endless debate between the political left and right has become nothing more than a marathon ping-pong match between two equally skilled players and it’s getting really boring.

At the end of the day nobody has a corner on the truth.  When someone tries to appeal to some higher law, such as they might find in the Bible (a – la Phil Robertson’s comments this past week) or science (a – la Global Warming) they are branded as uneducated, in-tolerant or bigoted.  To quote another popular TV series from a bi-gone era, “The Truth is Out There”.  But we’re too busy trying to score points in a game of political ping-pong to see it.

The truth is not subject to your political ideology, it just is.

Global warming is a fact; the climate data does not lie but according to many seeing that makes me a lefty pinko who hates capitalism.  Gay marriage is wrong, at least from a religious point of view, but that makes me an uneducated bigot who’s on the wrong side of history.  But wait, I made a distinction between religion and the legal status of two people united in Love and socio-economic reasons, by separating marriage from religion and placing it in the sphere of politics and the economy I’m back to being a relativist firmly ensconced on the left.

Or am I?

Maybe I’m [*gasp*] a centrist!  Which as we all know is just another term used by people on both sides describe an equal opportunity bigot.

Here’s the big idea.

When Phil Robertson states that he believes Gay marriage is wrong because it goes against what the bible teaches, he’s making a statement of truth.  The question isn’t, do you agree with Phil Robertson, the question is do you agree with the Bible.  We can quibble over the underlying meaning of the scriptures and whether or not certain passages that seem to support equality and freedom of choice supersede others or whether the bible should be used to influence what is essentially a socio-economic issue unique to this point in history, just like we can (and should) continue to test the science of Global Warming.  But at the end of the day, the truth is the truth and even as we continue to push the boundaries we must remain cognizant of those who have gone before us.

While our forefathers (is that politically correct? maybe I should just say our predecessors) may not have had all the facts, they too were searching for truth and they did the best they could with what they had.  As we continue to search for truth in our time maybe, just maybe we need to accept the idea that our forefathers (sorry, predecessors) had it right all along.

PS – I hate ping-pong!

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