It’s county fair season across the country and it’s also the time of year when our political contests really start to heat up – from the local statehouse all the way up to Congress and the presidential race. It got me thinking about one of the signature events of county fairs some years ago in some parts of the country – the pig wrestling contest.
Ever seen one? Here’s how it works. You get yourself a hog, a fenced off mud hole and four guys (I say guys because most women are way too smart to participate in this sort of thing). Add a 55-gallon drum with a tire on top of it. Let the hog loose and start the timer. The object is for the team of hog chasers to catch the hog and hoist it atop the drum into the tire. Get the picture?
What usually happens is that hog runs out the clock and the four wrestlers scramble around after the hog, barely get a grip and end up getting caked with mud and, in the eye of many onlookers, humiliated. The crowd has a good laugh and the hog – at home in its natural element – gets away unscathed. I’ve noticed that some hogs even seem to enjoy the encounter and strut about with a sense of pig pride when the contest ends.
It’s a lot like what happens in politics these days. So often, the race devolves into nothing more than mudslinging. That’s a given at the presidential level, but you’ll see it happen at the state and local level too. As we get closer to election day candidates who are behind get desperate and increasingly go negative. They lose sight of their original reason for running and start slinging mud in all directions. And everybody ends up looking dirty. And while it’s not always the case, the one who feels the most comfortable in the mud often ends up winning.
The same applies in business. Just remember, if you want to get down in the mud and wrestle with a hog, you are on the hog’s turf and you’re playing the hog’s game. You know how that ends – the hog’s going to strut away happy and you’ll be covered in mud and will be responsible for the cleanup.
President, National Precast Concrete Association