The Burkean Lions
The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl this past February, and they can thank Rebecca Solnit. Ok, Solnit probably had about as much influence on their championship as I did, however, her philosophical ideas about community and togetherness could not have been better displayed. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. Fans can purchase stock in the team, making it a community team. They stormed their way through the playoffs after sneaking in on the final week of the regular season, showing how truly anyone can win on any given year…except my hometown Detroit Lions.
The Lions are famously owned by William Clay Ford Sr., who has appointed his son, William Clay Ford Jr. as vice chairman of the organization. The Lions are notoriously bad, as just a few years ago they went an entire season without a win. In my lifetime they have one playoff victory, and no super bowl appearances. The history and success of these two franchises sets up a comparison between Burke and Solnit. Burke believes in inheritance, tradition, and conservation, while Solnit supports the civil society, where a community of the masses is capable of governing themselves.
Here we have one organization, where the owner has run the team since 1964, and soon plans to pass it down to his son. On the other side, we have a publically owned franchise. It may or may not be coincidence that the Packers won the Super Bowl this year, however looking at their long history of success, in stark contrast to the Lions lack of any form of success, shows that one of these methods of ownership might be better. This also then speaks about the political theory behind the method. It seems preferable to let a body of people govern themselves, or at least be able to elect their leaders. The day-to-day operations of the Packers are not controlled by the fans and stockholders. Instead, the community decides who it wishes to run all operations, in this case an informed, knowledgeable manager. In the case of the Lions, the same leader has kept them in the bottom of the league standings for decades, and is primed to pass on this tradition to his son.
Burke would be in full favor of the ownership of the Lions. In his mind, the masses are not capable of governing themselves, and instead need leadership by a sometimes unproven leader. Solnit and the Packers disagree with this theory, and have the championship rings to prove it.