Tonawanda News


March 5, 2014

The lesson behind 'House of Cards'

Tonawanda News — Why is it people love politics in every instance but actual politics?

Office gossip? That’s politics and we love swapping tidbits with coworkers about the manager or coworker we don’t like.

Sunday night was the Oscars. How do you think those awards are chosen? There’s months of intense lobbying by studios, executives, agents — all for a little golden statue. And 43.7 million of us watched the outcome with rapt attention.

Pro sports is every bit as political. Which player, coach, executive signs where, gets hired, fired, traded, elbowed to the sidelines — that’s entirely political. 

Take the Buffalo Sabres: The firing of Darcy Regier, hiring of Ted Nolan, hiring and resignation of Pat LaFontaine, trading Ryan Miller? It’s sports politics of the highest order — and while the Sabres look like a tire fire right now, fans haven’t talked this much about the team in years. I haven’t heard a single person in any of it say “I’m fed up.” We’re all far too busy debating all the cloak-and-dagger palace intrigue.

Anytime a group of people come together to decide who deserves something and how to go about doing it, it’s inherently political. People with more influence exert their authority in ways appropriate and not, to influence the outcome in their preferred way.

I was off last week. I spent much of it bundled up on the couch binge watching the Netflix original series “House of Cards.”

Regular readers of this column probably know by now my favorite TV show of all time is “The West Wing.” “House of Cards” is the anti-West Wing. Martin Sheen starred in “The West Wing” as the uber-virtuous, President Josiah Bartlet, the Nobel laureate economist, arch liberal whose unwavering leadership and commitment to do the right thing makes for inspirational viewing.

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