Good Sports

Montage of Target and Hobby Lobby logos

Hey, America, how about we try to be better sports when it comes to communicating about political issues?

Let me give you a for instance.

Today the retailer Target took a public stand against people bringing guns into its stores.

“This is a complicated issue,” the company announced. “But it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

I am among the many hundreds of thousands of people who emailed, tweeted and otherwise called on Target to make this very decision.

I am very happy about it.

But I also understand there are people who are NOT happy about it.

So, it made me cringe when groups that have helped push for this decision crowed about our “victory” and those who were upset began the expected surly push back.

Do I think it is a “victory”?


But I think offering a simple and sincere “thank you” and then moving on to the next opportunity to advocate for a gun-sense position is a better way to go.

Here’s another example.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that Hobby Lobby and other family owned or “closely held” for-profit companies can opt out of following certain law if they have religious objections.

I was not happy about the ruling.

Mostly because I fear we are going farther down the road of treating “companies” as “people” – which they are not.

Also, because it seems to set up a bad precedent for companies to “claim” religious objections in the future that may or may not be sincere vs. simply having an economic motive. Who gets to decide that?

But I also understand there are people who ARE happy about the ruling.

So, it made me cringe when the handwringing of some whose position did not prevail and the whooping victory dances of some whose position did prevail got underway.

Do I see it as a “defeat”?


But a simple statement along those lines and then moving on to the next opportunity to advocate for a corporations-aren’t-people position is a better way to go.

By no means am I suggesting that we stop discussing the issues and stating our points of view.

I absolutely think we should keep talking, discussing and debating.

But why not try to conduct ourselves with some class, decorum, grace and “good sportsmanship” regardless of whether we prevail or suffer a setback?

You know the old saying…you win some and you lose some.

In the long run, relationships with those around you are more important than the winning or losing on any given day or on any given issue.

Most “winning” and “losing” is not permanent anyway.

Issues and problems and solutions tend to be cyclical.

They will come up again.

It reminds me of the game Chutes and Ladders.

The Chutes and Ladders game board – like life – presents opportunities to advance and to lose ground.

In moving from the proverbial “square one” to square one hundred you will climb up and slide back down along the way…multiple times.

The trick is to persevere without getting overly smug or sulky.

When you hit a ladder, smile and keep moving on – but without gloating.

Because – sooner or later – you will hit a chute.

And when you do…don’t cry. Pick yourself up, roll again, and keep moving on.

After all.

It’s not whether you win or lose.

It’s how you play the game.

Nobody likes a bad winner or a sore loser.

So if your hobby is to lobby…please try not to use your fellow citizens as targets.

Chutes and Ladders game board