by Trey Rentz, Tue May 18, 2010 at 07:21:52 AM EDT
In "The Last Hurrah", a question is asked of a young reporter. .. What is the most popular sport in America?
His answer.. "Football?"... "Baseball?"
No, Son. It's Politics.
Where did this game, become a means by which our constitutional rights and democracy - translate into a meaningless exercise in corporate advertising?
To borrow an expression from my beloved game of golf, it's all about the games within the game. (I play a mean game of wolf)
Yesterday, Noam Avril Chomsky was banned by Israel - because he would not 'register' his speech with the IDF. And last week, a young black girl was sitting in her living room - when a police flash-bang dropped through the window and landed on her. When the inevitable door hammer followed and the police poured forth into the room, they found grandmother trying to dive over the child to put out the flames. The seven year old girl was shot in the head. And of course, if you're republican the news of the day was racial profiling - a young immigrant student locked out of her college education because she was illegal. I do not take any weight off these stories -they're important - and of course, they're also accompanied by the posturing that goes along with these types of events - the Arizona governor calling our President a communist. To quote a Joanna Angel tattoos..... So it goes.
The lobbyist money has been flowing to the Democrats for so long now they're all bought and paid for. Why is it, that we have healthcare reform that really amounts to corporate giveaway? Does anyone remember the chant... "Drill, Baby, Drill?" . Oh wait, a Corporation screwed up. Quick everyone, lets talk about Immigration. Those damned Mexicans.
Deep baseball usually amounts to being an expression - that, like real baseball - uses electoral statistics in a fairly self referential manner. He's batting 300 because, well.. he's good at bat.
In American politics. What corporations want, corporations get.
Offshore drilling? Check. Fake Healthcare Reform, and a government mandate to buy healthcare from Private Corporations? Check. Unexploded Military Industrial Complex ordinance dropped on innocent citizens, before expiration date? Check. Billion dollar blank check bailout , and the CEO takes a bonus? Check. Oh. Wait. I meant. Taxpayers get to write the ... check. Corporations get to cash it.
Oh sure, It's a game of give and take. Just a while back, we had a governor posture long and loud in front of the television camera. What was she really talking about? Something related to immigration, I guess. We need more manufactured rage, racial profiling and whatever else gets the blood flowing. Just as long as its not blood on the streets. Lets try to forget that Katrina thing. The last texas oilman to take the presidency kind of screwed up. Luckily, the reform that passed to bail out New Orleans had that Texan to make sure it had a provision in it to increase pollution from coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania...
Whatever the case, she's for the home team. The deep baseball statistics crawl under that governor while she speaks.
Of course, if you want to win - maybe there really is only one statistic to worry about.
74% of the American people want a National Health Service. They want real healthcare reform. They want to be able to sit down at the kitchen table, and talk about what happened - and muse about how things will get better without going through 2,400 pages of a bill. They want to be able to go to work without having to worry about going bankrupt just because their child might get sick or they might slip at work and break a leg.
It says alot about American politics that when the Corporate interests clash with what the people want - its the corporate interests that get what they want. But if politics is just a game...
Winning an election is about tapping into what the people want and need. And sure, people are jaded about hearing it. But it's healthcare. Still. It was in 2004. They wanted it in 2008. They want it now. Progress along the line reversed Obama's downward popularity trend.
Congressmen and senators are nervous about actually representing their own constituencies. They're worried about the 'Youtube' thing. They're not sure if they can get elected the old way - or if those pajama clad kingmakers are the ones that are going to decide. Hey, after all - Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts. Big campaign money is coming this year. They're worried not about losing - but about losing money or a committee appointment or a safe job in industry if they just follow the will of their own people. They're not worried about being there next year - they're worried about whether or not they get their choice committee appointment. Or a place in a political action committee. Or a position on the board of directors somewhere.
And of course, the sole focus of the other team is just to throw the bastards out anyway they can.
Politics is a game, and we can go on, and on about different statistics and primary results and we can endlessly rail about the idiocy of the right or the left or what happened in the news last week or what will inevitably happen next week and we can get paid trying to predict it all before it happens. We'll even possibly land jobs working for people who want to get elected, press the flesh and get our man up there in Washington and watch Mr. Smith go to Washington.
In the end. Some play to win. And some people, just play.
The ones that play to win are going to be the ones who realize just how broad, deep and profound - the support for healthcare reform - truly is - and how immediate the response will be for the electorate to really get what they need instead of the corporation that just laid them off - getting what they want.
So where does that leave us with deep baseball, and statistics? And the election year, for that matter. It may end with the quiet realization that the Democratic party may not want to actually - win. Like all big corporations, the accountants have risen to the top.
The little black girl that got shot in the head - for better or worse - to the numbers guys - is a statistic. Israel attempting to shut down free speech in their country , yesterday - is something that they can capitalize upon. The massive, cancerous oil spill spreading offshore Florida - is only as important to them as to what, by its presence - the American people can be led to believe. Then, business can resume.
Hey, I got it. Let's run a few ads about "investing in research" and pretend that two tankers full of oil will stop 57,000 gallons a minute of oil. It's ten times bigger than we thought - but lets not fight about statistics here. We're all in this together. The tree huggers are all crazy.
And before we forget, the woman that pushed the case against corporations writing ever bigger checks into election year spectacle - lost her case. She's on her way to a permanent position in the court.
I guess that leaves us in the stadium. The board lighting up with with the latest cheer.
Drill. Baby. Drill.
If you want to find me, I'm the one in the stadium over there, in the middle - as close to home plate as I can get. Listening to ZZTop on his iPod and watching with awe the skill of the players and just praying the pitcher won't throw the game - a 110 mph fastball is a thing of beauty to behold forever.
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