People on the same side often find they disagree on the specifics. Let’s take Jeff and his love of the Cardinals. There are plenty of other St. Louis fans out there who will immediately agree with Jeff that the Cardinals are the best and most wonderful team in the history of baseball. However, when Jeff then confesses his undying love for Albert Pujols, one of these guys might tell him to hold up a second because obviously Ozzie Smith is much more loveable than Prince Albert. This will then devolve into a heated discussion on how facial hair should be worn and that will quickly be followed by a fistfight. But they both still love the Cardinals.
What matters is that both sides ultimately coalesce around a common enemy. Although both Jeff and this other Cardinals’ fan truly believe that they are right, and although they may believe that the other person is an idiot for even voicing another opinion out loud, the argument gets easily forgotten when faced with the scourge that is the Chicago Cubs. If there’s one thing they can agree on, despite their insistence on the correct style of facial hair for a true Cardinal, it’s the fact that the Cardinals are much, much, much better than the Cubs. Everything else pales in comparison.
For this same simple reason, I don’t take all that much joy in the current imbroglio within the GOP. Sure, there may be a significant difference in ideology that leads Glenn Beck to think that the US should stand by Mubarak to the bitter end while Bill Kristol believes in supporting democracy even when it turns messy. I’m sure if you sat the two of them down at a table they would argue all day long about who’s right. (On a side note I’m also pretty sure that Kristol would end up punching Beck in the nose because Beck’s absolute inability to apply simple logic in an argument would eventually push Kristol over the edge.)
However, the reason why I take no joy in any of this is because it doesn’t matter. Sure, the two men may fundamentally disagree on a subject that one could claim is the heart and soul of their party’s current identity but ultimately, just like Jeff and the other Cardinals’ fan, they share a more important common enemy. Even if the argument about the fate of Egypt continues indefinitely, both Beck and Kristol will be voting for whoever runs against Obama in 2012.
In some ways, this is the beauty of politics and sports. Despite our disagreements, we can find common ground. In the days following the 2000 election, both sides accused each other of bad faith and cheating. But a year later, the entire country immediately coalesced around President Bush when faced with a much greater common enemy.
Like Jeff or Bill Kristol, I may not agree with many things that my fellow Michiganders believe. But we can still watch the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings together and share a common ground for a short little while. Well, until someone tries to tell me that Billy Sims was better than Barry Sanders, at least. Then it all goes out the window.