Friday, October 28, 2016


Why do I seem to have such a problem with this election? I think it has to do with professional wrestling.

I better explain.

When I was a lad, pro wrestling was a staple of our Saturday afternoons. Wrestlers would travel to a city, put on their show, and then head off to the next one. In our area, the local channel had a show called "Championship Wrestling," which featured these contests. The wrestlers would be interviewed between matches and promote their next battle to be held at the fairgrounds or gymnasium. Championship Wrestling was "must see TV" for our family over the weekends.

I kind of suspected the made-up nature of the contests (could a human body really get pummeled into near unconsciousness, then get up a minute later and fight some more?), but I didn't really care. As a young comic-book geek, these were real life superheroes battling it out. There were the good guys (faces) and bad guys (heels). The faces would be good sportsmen, fighting hard, but following the rules. The heels, naturally, cheated and were arrogant, mean, and nasty.

A typical scenario was during a tag team match. The good guys being pummelled by the bad guy as he desperately reaches out his arm to tag his partner, who was also reaching out. Just inches away from deliverance, but they can't make contact. But then something happens and the face outside the ring unintentionally commits a minor infraction (it has to be minor, because,as a good guy, he follows the rules). The ref rushes over to him, turning his back to the wrestlers in the ring, and begins lecturing the guy about the rules. Meanwhile, the other heel enters the ring and joins his partner in beating the tar out of the good guy. The face outside the ring desperately tries to explain to the ref what's happening, the crowd is yelling and screaming for the ref to stop the carnage, the announcers are shouting into their microphones atop the card table set up at the side, while the ref continues to chew out the good guy outside the ring.

Oh the humanity!

Face vs. face matches were good to watch. Though no less choreographed, they tended to focus more on technique then annihilation. And after the match, the good guys would shake hands with each other. You could feel the mutual respect oozing out of them as they spoke to the interviewer afterward. Face vs. heel matches, on the other hand, usually ended with the good guy offering a handshake to the bad guy, only to have the bad guy respond with a sucker punch or kick in the stomach.

(Tim, what does this have to do with the election?) Stay with me....

As professional wrestling got bigger and more popular, I noticed things changing. In today's matches, I'm just as likely to see the good guys double team a bad guy as the other way around. There's still the arm straining moment of the tag, but if they can't make contact, and if they can get away with it, the face is more than willing to infract a rule or two to help his partner. Faces are just as rude and arrogant as their heel counterparts, and if I had children as young as I was "in the day," I would be embarrassed to hear the language they use in the pre- and post- match interviews.

Yes, there are still faces and heels, good guys and bad guys. But since their is no real distinction in technique or persona, the only way we know who's who is, Since the face cheats, uses foul language, and does not show respect to his opponents, all that's left is to promote him as a face (which the big pro wrestling organizations do quite well). And in the world of professional wrestling, even that can change, with good guys becoming bad guys and vice verse.

Which brings me to my election point: I honestly cannot tell the face from the heel. Yes, I know that issues are important and there is much at stake, so we should ignore the personality of each candidate and focus on what is truly important. After all, if we elect him or her, then untold disaster will befall us, so isn't it worth putting up with less than graceful conduct in order to ensure a victory?

When I was in my teen years, I gleaned a piece of wisdom from (believe it or not) a comic book. I don't remember the title or issue number, but I remember the dialogue. The young sidekick seemed to support a move against the villain that would have helped the cause, but was rather underhanded. He reasoned, "But if it stops the bad guy, isn't it worth it?" The hero replies, "I believe it's important to win. But we still need to be the good guys when we do it."

Marketing and political campaigns do not persuade me. Promises don't sway me. Lofty vows of grand change if elected or ominous warnings if the other person is elected don't carry any weight with me. As long as the candidates do the same stuff in the same way, I have a problem.

I guess what I'm looking for is a face.


No comments:

Post a Comment