Left vs right. Red vs blue. Liberal vs. Conservative. Rural vs Urban. Pro-life vs. Pro-Choice, Black vs. white. Men vs. women. Our country is divided, and it only seems to be getting worse. Turn on the TV, click to a news site, read a (quickly dying) newspaper and you’ll see the evidence of a societal crisis, a troubled nation. We just cannot seem to agree on anything. It used to be that when the country was presented with a problem, members of both parties would put aside their differences, hammer together a compromise, and get things done. Not anymore. Gridlock is the order of the day in Washington, DC, with neither party willing or able to budge on even the slightest thing. Politics seeps into our daily lives, creating tension within families and groups of friends. And it seems as if the media is doing nothing but feeding the frenzy, having found that it is much more profitable to perpetuate any controversy they can find.
In this toxic political environment, it would be great to find a way to escape the division, to shun the hate and rancor and instead allow the citizens of this great country to come together. Well, we have a way. It’s called outdoor sports.
I have friends who can’t stand my political views. And vice versa. I won’t get into it here, but sometimes I just want to vomit when I hear some of the things that they say. And vice versa. But no matter how much we might disagree on how the country should be run, there’s always one thing we will agree on—our love for the outdoors.
Fishing, hunting, paddling, diving, hiking—you name the pastime and no matter what side of the political spectrum we may be, we will both agree on how great our sports are. Politics divides us when we all want the same things. We all want safety and security. We all want to prosper and for our children to be safe. But those topics can be fraught with misunderstanding and division. However, there is never a misunderstanding when we get together for a day on the river.
Now, we may argue over who has the best bait or presentation technique. We might also argue over the best honey hole. But we’ll never argue over our love for our sport.
That’s not to say political acrimony doesn’t exist in outdoor sports. Far from it. You don’t have to look far to find it. Sea Lions. Dams. Gun regulations. Government intervention or the lack thereof. Controversy is nothing new to the sporting world, and it will never go away. But when you leave behind the noise and clutter of the modern world, when you get the chance to visit those wide open spaces with your buddies, you tend to forget about those vicious divisions as you focus on the things that truly matter. Friends matter. Fishing and hunting and diving matter. Politics? Not so much.