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  • Reverend James Squire

The Street View, Competition, and Partisan Politics


The biggest news is the escalation of the war in Palestine and Ukraine as the world seems to fail to bring some sort of end to one and a cease fire to the other. This weekend is also the beginning of some high-level college football which can take our minds to another friendlier place. Even there, we find controversy with players not playing because they have entered the portal to go to a better opportunity or those who don’t want to be injured so that their pro career in the NFL draft would not be jeopardized.  Is it college football or should the word “college” be removed for education seems to be missing from any of these decisions?


I will watch as I have played and coached the game and yes, part of me yearns for the good old days when college meant college. We have lost the true meaning of competition that was in play. I found it again in a recent conversation with a neighbor who lives across the street from me. He owns two landscaping companies and has turned his home into a showplace with grounds that should appear in Architectural Digest. This is true for all the homes on our street/road. I commented to him that he had done a spectator job at all that he had done on his property. He responded by saying that “he was just trying to keep up with me.”


I told him I had nothing to do with our grounds. Vicki Squire turned our property into a thing of beauty for the “Street View” that you see on various real estate sites such as Zillow. There is a difference in perspective. Vicki is about beauty. He is about Competition having the best street view in the area. There is an irony here for each day I wake up and look out our front bedroom window to see his beautiful property. His competitive nature provides me with great viewing joy.


That is the way that it used to be in sports. Our competitions made the game more beautiful for our opponents. We could see the best in them and just enjoy it. After the game we always had to line up and shake the hands and congratulate our opponents as opposed to milling around a field as is done today with TV interviews. I often remind people that the history of the captains of teams shaking hands at the coin toss is also to “thank” the opponent for the opportunity to compete. We had “the street view in mind.” Trust me what made it more beautiful to play was that in working class communities, as I am sure in other places, the game was hard fought with nothing left on the field. This meant that the “street view” was even more important. We were taught to be the best in winning and in losing. I am old, old school.


The division in our country over what seems every issue and the attacks on one another are getting worst. It bothers me when I hear someone identified as a Republican judge or Democrat Senator as though these people have a fixed hard view of whatever topic or issue that is before them.


They don’t see that their neighbors’ competitive posture and ideas could be something that they could look at and see some possibilities for beauty or an idea to make us a better nation. Sure, the Republicans and Democrats can be very competitive, but they have lost the importance of the “street view” where a party’s competitive spirit could lead us to look out the window the next morning and see something beautiful. To go totally old school back in the day we usually played our fiercest rivals at the end of the season as will be done this weekend. More often than not we knew our opponents because we lived with them even when they went to different schools. Because we knew them in other contexts, we could compliment them for the “great plays” that they had as well as to be affirmed by the great plays that we had. The titles Republican judge and Democrat senator speak to the fact that this doesn’t occur today. They have no social exchanges such as lunch or dinner together. They only know each other as the other party.


As a nation we can reclaim the “Street View” and the beauty of our Constitution. This will only happen when we see the beauty in our political neighbors across the political street. We could look out our windows and rejoice in the beauty of the hard work of our neighbor that we see every morning.


James Carville, commented in leading Bill Clinton’s campaign that “It’s the economy, stupid.” I disagree. At our nation’s heart we know that “It’s the street view, stupid.”

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