Fear of relegation motivates

Published 9:45 am Thursday, June 1, 2017

By Joel McNeece

Relegation may be the answer to the troubling discourse in our politics today.

The relegation I’m referring to comes from the world of soccer. My family would tell you in my house, if I’m sitting in front of a television, there’s a 99% chance soccer is on the screen. It’s about all I watch outside of cooking shows.

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I love the Bundesliga — the German professional league, La Liga — the top league in Spain, Premier League — my favorite in England, and of course MLS — the American professional soccer league.

What separates the American league from the foreign brands is relegation. In European soccer, the teams that finish at the bottom of the standings at the end of the season are relegated to the lower league, while that league’s top finishers get to move up to the big league.

It works beautifully in soccer making every game down the stretch of the season, even those involving the worst teams, very meaningful and full of drama.

This past Memorial Day weekend there were relegation playoffs in Germany and England to decide who stays up and who goes down. The economics of relegation are significant.

It got me to thinking about our politics. What if tremendously bad performances by our elected officials resulted in relegation. By most objective accounts, Pres. Donald Trump’s recent overseas trip proved disastrous on numerous fronts — one example is insulting our most fervent international allies — and he returns home to even bigger headaches of his and his team’s own making — such as the growing links of his campaign and Russia. Based on the comments I’ve read from numerous Republican leaders in Washington, D.C., I would guess that if a vote was held tomorrow they would choose overwhelmingly to relegate Pres. Trump and have Vice President Mike Pence slide up to take the lead for the next while until Mr. Trump proves himself worthy to ascend back up the chain of command.

Think of it on a more local level. Your mayor is doing a poor job of leading your town but still has two years left in the term. He/she gets relegated and the vice mayor steps up for a while.

Supervisor not getting the job done, he’s relegated back to a work hand and the top man on the crew moves up to the supervisory seat.

The fear of relegation keeps you pressing to do the best job possible at all times, not just every four years when an election rolls around. It’s accountability at a professional level. Accountability in politics is not very timely, but relegation might change that or at least make it more fun to watch the worst of the politicians try to do a little better to save their skin.

Joel McNeece is publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce. You may email him at joelmcneece@gmail.com.