|Willie Mays in New York.|
By Bob Ferris
When I was a kid I used to watch the San Francisco Giants back when Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda played. The Alou brothers and McCovey too. I watched in part because my father and grandfather watched or listened and because the Giants were through most of my memory the local team. But it was not always so because the Giants used to play in New York and started out being called the New York Gothams. Now my scant sports attention is directed towards football and the Seahawks, but the idea here is that things change—sometimes monumentally. We need to keep up sports-wise or we run the risk of rooting for the wrong team.
This comes to mind as I see efforts by those wanting to sow doubt and confusion into our political system playing once again on the intellectually vulnerable by trying to characterize the Democratic Party as the party of slavery and racism (1,2,3). The Democratic Party has had a convoluted history to be sure just as the Republican Party once had shining stars like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt who would be repulsed by the current elephantine crowd. But parties, like teams, evolve and change—sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. What matters now is where each is currently located politically and who they think about each time they power-suit up and play. For that we need to constantly look at current platforms and actions and understand them as throughly as we know baseball or football stats or when what team was moved where.
We all need to undertake this action of political awareness. But at the same time we have to guard ourselves and our fellow Americans from this general class of actions purposely designed to rip our political system to shreds. While it would be convenient to characterize these actors as liberal or conservative extremists that really describes their targets more than the players themselves who are simply interested in raw wealth and massive power in its various forms. Folks should understand that these actors or collection of forces are the same that acted as catalysts for our rebellious dust-up near the end of the 18th Century—overly-entitled elite, power-grabbing corporations and hyper-controlling Churches. The jerseys might have changed and the logos modified but the intent and potential consequences are identical.
As James Comey pointed out during his testimony and the above clip from the movie Selma exemplifies, we are a country that is often troubled and far from perfect, but while we fight among ourselves in division we also must fight those who would destroy us in a united fashion. That passage which Ms. Winfrey’s character is asked to quote is the vision statement of the founding document of this country. This vision was not realized then nor is it now, but this is where we should be headed. Unfortunately, that is not our current course which brings us back to the posts in question.
Many actions compromised our last election. If we want our country to adhere to our founding principles and protect Americans from the catalytic threats that formed our nation we cannot afford to ignore the carefully-crafted chaos currently polluting our public airways and bandwidths. In this it is an odd irony that our steadfast support of free speech, enterprise and religion is being used to fill us with destructive propaganda, compromise our average fiscal well-being and restrict our beliefs, behaviors or choices.
While I am encouraged that the Senate is making a clear statement about Russian election interference as the Trump team, the Attorney General and some enabling commentators act like the iconic monkeys portrayed above. Of note too are poll results showing an American public, including many CEOs, less that amused by these antics (1,2,3). But we still have those who gravitate to these specious news sources thinking they are ultra-conservative or hyper-progressive rather than rabidly anti-American which is what they truly are. (Hint to those still buying into these stories: They are wearing your favorite jerseys but are playing for a different ideological team.)
The Giants example or the Oilers-to-Titans switch are easy to follow and understand. But I truly struggle with the logic that catapults a flamboyant, Islamophobic, British college dropout into a position where he becomes any sort of an influence on American politics . That seems more than a jersey change but not all that different than Americans embracing a Russian-owned news source or a website located in Bulgaria with posts from a person who engaged in insider trading. Come on!
But this is also a time when a faith ostensibly based on kindness, charity, tolerance and enlightenment is at least partially co-opted by those forwarding a platform of greed, intolerance, hatred and ignorance (1,2,3). Shocking? But then I remember a time when the National Rifle Association (NRA) was all about gun safety rather that arming everyone or fighting against the sports enthusiasts who brought them to the dance. It is hardly a surprise that wealth, power and checkbooks are at play in these changes (1,2).
So this is where I should insert a shining solution, but I do not really have one. I could urge folks to check their sources and only promote those posts from proven entities, but many think they are already doing that and even the profound evidence of the failure of this presidency has not seemed to dampen their boundless enthusiasm for unfounded conspiracies, manufactured paranoia and stuff that is down-right silly. The Giants no longer play in New York, but the likes of RT , Breitbart, The Gateway Pundit, Zero Hedge, True Activist and others continue to carefully feed some just enough truth so they will also consume the country-killing poison these outlets really want them to eat and share. We will not proceed with this country’s vision statement of broad freedoms and public welfare unless more of us wake up and realize this.