Politics and Basketball – More Similar Than You May Think

——-Political Commentary——- 

I took my position under the basket – an unusual position for me, being a small guard.  But my opponent, whom I was defending against, felt he could do more good near the basket than far away.  As the shooter prepared to launch a long shot, I felt myself instinctively pushing against the chest of my foe with my back.  As the ball approached ever closer to the rim, the intensity of the mutual shoving increased exponentially, until finally, as the ball hit the rim, my opponent and I exploded into a shoving, clawing, jumping, fierce and bloody battle.  For what?  For the REBOUND!  O!  How we both desire to get that rebound!

 But let me ask – just what does this scenario indicate?  It indicates an obvious fact: the fact that the reason I was fighting for a rebound is because I DID NOT HAVE THE BALL, else, rebounding would not have been an interesting activity.

And so it is in politics.  The team without the ball is always looking for a block, a steal, a rebound.

Recently, a statue of President Ronald Reagan was unveiled in the rotunda of the United States Capitol building.  This is an honor he richly deserves, seeing that he is perhaps the most historically significant and inspiring US President of the twentieth century.  One might argue that that title belongs to Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Roosevelt worked in an atmosphere of cooperation and support while Reagan worked in an atmosphere of vehement opposition from the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the collectivist one-world.  One must admit this regardless of party or political persuasion.

While Reagan stood in the bitter cold of Reykjavík, awaiting the arrival of the leader of the communist world to negotiate an end to the earth-threatening Cold War, rebounders hoped for his failure.  Later, with victory in hand and standing before the infamous Berlin Wall, with all the boldness of a lion in righteousness, and in direct defiance of frightened advisors, he openly demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, TARE DOWN THIS WALL!”  Can anyone forget the effect of that speech:  The moistened eyes, the tightened throat, the chill bumps as we realized that we were witnessing greatness at its greatest and the overwhelming pressure that it brought forth on the Russian president, who ultimately acquiesced?  And yet for all that, rebounders were hoping for his failure.

And I believe I can say the same about our most previous president’s tenure.  As George W. Bush bravely faced a lying, sneaking, cold-hearted murderous enemy, his political opponents shamelessly hoped for his failure.  And these rebounders, void of any concern for our people, and apparently motivated only by their own ambitions to power, rather than lending an ethos of optimism to the cause, spewed venomous criticisms on the effort, hoping above all for the failure of the man they seem to hate with an unsurpassed irrationality.

And just what was it about George W. Bush that brings out the tantrumous worst in his haters?  Isn’t it just his cowboy-like mannerisms and lack of a smooth tongue that bothers them?  Not policy (it was relatively liberal), not lack of irenic spirit (he readily compromised with his opponents and even wined, dined, and hosted his bitterest foes in the White House), not even the war (both liberals and conservatives had been beating the drums for war in Iraq unceasingly since the end of the first Gulf War*).  No, I don’t believe it was any of his policies that were the real cause for the foaming loathing of the man.  Really, wasn’t it just his lack of polish that was the source of irritation for liberals, democrats, “moderate” conservatives, and such?

Are we so shallow?  Are we so vain?  That we would destroy our own President because he lacks the suave and debonair of a Frenchman, or the stiff-lipped stoicism of a Brit?  I fear this is so.

President Bush literally stood in the ashes of the buildings and bodies of the World Trade Center and promised to visit the perpetrators of the greatest evil of the twenty-first century with a wrath worthy of their deeds.  And yet for all that and more, a short five years later, the man could not even endorse a candidate for president, being so hated by the people he game himself over to protect.

He shot and missed in Iraq, and the rebounders took possession of the ball.  He shot and missed on some other issues, but politically speaking, Iraq was the big one.  The bad economy sealed his doom, but in reality he had little to do with the economy.  He simply was following the boom-bust Keynesian model like all other presidents since the early twentieth century, and was both blessed and damned by it like most of those presidents.  But no doubt, his handling of Iraq was “a shot and a miss”. 

In basketball, rebounders EARN their rebounds.  But in politics, they simply stand around criticizing and criticizing, slinging mud, slinging mud, until the opponent slips up and the mud begins to stick.

And why do we reward the rebounders?  Political rebounders do nothing to deserve our support, yet we reward them with great acclaim and access to important offices and such.  They promise us the world, and we elect them in hopes that they will deliver on their promises.

But time and time again we are disappointed.  Once in office, they don’t deliver on their campaign promises, nor CAN they deliver on them.  In fact, their policies are often strangely similar to their predecessors.  And so it is today.  Barack Obama is no different than any promise-making candidate before him.  His policy on Iraq and foreign policy in general was to be radically different that Bush’s, but the only difference has been in rhetoric.  But, alas, it seems that to shallow Americans, smooth-talking and false praise for avowed enemies IS policy. 

The reality is that Obama faces the same difficulties that Bush faced.  North Korea continues to build their nuclear powers.  Shallow Americans thought they would stop doing that if we just got a president that would talk nice to them instead of warning and threatening them like Bush did.  But what is the reality?  North Korea has nuclear weapons, they are continuing unabated in perfecting their delivery systems, and they fully intend to use them to intimidate the world into giving them the goods, services, and wealth that their communistic economy cannot provide itself.  And worst of all, they may even actually use them some day.

And how about Iran?  Have they decided to stop their march to nuclear capabilities?  Have they suddenly decided not to destroy Israel as soon as possible now that the President of the United States “talks nice”?  (By the way, George Bush effusively praised Islam as “a religion of peace”)

Yet it seems that the world of politics is the world of the rebounders.  And so the tide ebbs back and forth.  Republicans win, and then the Democrats win, Republican, Democrat, so on.  The phenomenon reminds me of the preacher’s observation in Ecclesiastes:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

And so is the nature of basketball and politics.  Back and forth.  Shoot, miss, rebound, shoot, score.  And who wins?  Usually, whoever has the ball last.

And in politics, like in basketball, the crowds become irrational.  Hysteria sets in, and in the primal urge to win, we turn our opponents into demons that deserve our unchecked hatred. 

Just look at basketball fights, how violent they can be.  And political fights too.

Wounding opponents is typical of politics, but the demonization of George W. Bush got way out of control. 

I think some apologies are in order.  Don’t you?


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2 Responses to “Politics and Basketball – More Similar Than You May Think”

  1. p of v Says:

    No. Apologies are too late. Bush and Cheney are war criminals, and the fact that Obama wants to just sweep our evil past under the rug for domestic political expediency shows we’ve got a long way to go to get back to being a nation we can be proud of. And Reagan? Hero?!? Iran-Contra: Look it up…

  2. Joel Says:

    P of V: The desire for vengeance and retribution on one’s political opponents is characteristic of a barbaric people.

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