Ann Bednarski: Super Bowl, government issues at all levels are metaphorically linked

On my 2013 calendar, January had a huge, beautiful purple flower on it with the word “Believe” printed in a flowing script font. It was an encouraging message for a new year. This month the huge flower is crimson and the directive is “Create.” Now I feel a committed challenge. I am excited. The month of March says “Imagine.” Using these words, I hope to be clever and thoughtful in preparing for meaningful communication and elicit a dialogue about the things that are very worrisome to me and many other Americans. Where do I begin my quest?The Super Bowl last Sunday was watched by millions of people. It has become one popular American tradition. This year there were many elements to the game that made it to the history of “firsts” for this event. For example, two brothers were competing coaches. I did watch an interview with their father, who was clearly aware this is in fact a “game.” Perhaps this would be a good starting place to study people with different preferences and clearly supporting one team or the other.Shortly after halftime, the power went out and suspended the action for about 30 minutes. It was an unexpected surprise that gave sports fans time to reflect about how it would impact the remainder of this 47th Annual event.The first time the Super Bowl was played in San Diego was 1988; I was lucky enough to win tickets to it. I sold them. But my children and I certainly participated in many of the events surrounding the big game, which is how we won tickets. I was awestruck by the efforts and enthusiasm throughout the city. The Super Bowl was not a political event; it was instead one city coming together to show itself off to the world.Every aspect of daily living had a Super Bowl spin to it. In addition, the stadium was redecorated and enhanced by the oneness of the National Football League. Shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations and schools all had themes supporting this game to equal its name as “Super.” It was a lot of fun and excitement for everyone who participated. More so, it was a united city working together for a successful result. Alas! Reality is that many cities that have professional sports teams also have serious financial issues and might declare bankruptcy, including Baltimore, the home of the Ravens. I cannot help but think, and therefore suggest, that the “referees” (federal, state and local governments) are subject to bias and political preferences. “Penalties” are handed out in very partisan fashion. “Power” controls the execution of the “game” in plain view. “Challenges,” usually reviewed to make sure the rules are followed as written, are ignored or delayed. “Players,” who in sports are “removed” for failing to play in a fair and balanced way, instead plan lavish conferences or vacations on the dime of the “team” (“taxpayers”) without consequence.It seems so well-organized in the sports world but not at all efficient or transparent in our government at all levels. I regret to share that the phrase “No one is minding the store” comes to mind very often when I watch what’s happening in Washington, D.C. It is not such a far-fetched thing to consider that someday the “lights will go out” in our country. We have to become united. People have to participate and join the government by becoming informed and insisting on justice for all. One part of the big Super Bowl Game every year is the anticipation of exorbitantly priced commercials that are played at intervals during the game. Sunday’s Super Bowl featured some very good commercials — Dodge’s “Farmers,” Budweiser’s “Clydesdale” — and some very disrespectful, such as Go Daddy’s. I do have a list of companies I would never use because the ads to promote their product(s) offend me. In our free-enterprise market, we still have the freedom of choice. What appeals to me might be very different from what appeals to you, thank goodness.But once again, I will reiterate that more often in recent times, we Americans do not have choices. We are increasingly regulated in our lives. Government officials are routinely deciding what is good for us. It feels like they think we do not know how to think for ourselves. Everything we do will soon be tracked and recorded. That is very scary. We would serve ourselves well to listen carefully and evaluate the laws and practices enacted without consideration for us, the people who pay for ill-conceived decisions.Apathy is lethal to everyone. Choosing to not to get involved makes people prey to power-hungry bureaucrats who diminish our rights. Please believe and join “Team America” and participate in the Super Bowl of Life.• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.


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