Monday, October 8, 2012

Replacement Refs and President Obama

So the replacement referees for the NFL goofed one up and cost the Green Bay Packers the game.  And so there were many backdoor meetings where things happened, and phone calls were made, and who knows what, and now the regular referees are now there to make games go as they normally would.  Great. But the damage is much more than just one game or a deal made by the NFL.  We have seen how people react with substitute refs., just as much as substitute teachers in high school.  Authority becomes useless when given to people that cannot demand respect.  This goes for sports especially.  If we have learned that replacement refs have no authority, by what means do we give regular refs that same authority?  Would the foundations of sports games be torn down just because we don't want to honor the social contract given to the people that regulate the game?  Football players, and even the spectators, have agreed upon the rules (else we wouldn't watch the game), giving the refs or umpires or the guys in black and white the ability to organize the game and enforce the rules, by however means necessary.  In an ideal world, the players themselves should follow the rules and no officials would be needed.  There are some instances where this happens.  Self-reporting in Golf, for instance.  In those cases, the act of what should be normal is heralded as supreme sportsmanship.  In most cases, it's get away with whatever you can to win the game and hope you don't get caught.

Obviously, we can take this beyond the realm of sports.  We must respect those who are put in positions of authority above us.  I might have thought that some of my former managers were jerks and idiots, but they had the position to run the store, to sign paychecks, and to hire and fire, and so they must be given that ability.  Now, there are different levels of that respect.  I am talking about the most basic adherence to the social contract that we enter into when we are hired into a job.  We have to accept the hierarchy inside the company.  Genuine respect, of which I have had with most of my managers.  The kind that makes me work hard and passionately wish that our store would succeed, that is earned by the leadership of those above me.  This goes for the people running our government.  Like Mitt Romney did in the debate a week ago, he acknowledged the power and position of President Obama, even while he vehemently disagreed with him.  If we don't agree with the social contract, or the people that are put in place because of it (in this case, the Constitution, the rules of our Government), we have the privilege and responsibility to either change the contract (which is hard) or change the people elected (which is much easier).  No matter who is there as Congressman, Senator, or President, you have to respect that position, no matter who is there.

This takes me back to the Replacement Refs and Substitute Teachers.  If you respect the position of the Referee and the Teacher, then those people who are put in place of the regulars should be given the same respect and obedience as those substituting.  But if they aren't given that, it says much about the respect for those in authority in the first place.  We have to be concerned when the even most basic power structure in our country breaks down because no one acknowledges the social contracts that are established.  If teachers, the police, judges, lawmakers, aren't respected, then what makes even more basic contracts secure?  If even parents are no longer respected, then the result is chaos and anarchy, loosed upon the world.  Far more important than complying with a Pass Interference call, but the idea is exactly the same.

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