“Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them.” Benjamin Franklin
I was planning to go to a baseball game tonight, but as Nuke Laloosh said in Bull Durham “A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.’ Think about that for a while.” Tonight it rained and gave me a chance to muse a bit since I am immersed in writing another chapter of my Gettysburg tome.
I was really looking forward to the game, the Norfolk Tides, my home team, the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles was to play the Durham Bulls at Harbor Park. I hope I can get a game in over the next couple of days, but it looks like the rainy and stormy weather might continue the next couple of nights.
I have been thinking…
Over the past decade or so we have become a very contentious and contemptuous society. Transfixed by the cable news cycle and addicted to the hate being spewed by the Unholy Trinity of Politicians, Pundits and dare I say Preachers we have drank the chalice of the bile of bitterness dry and plead for more.
Amazingly enough our pleas for more mirth are answered by the politicians, pundits and preachers who offer it to us asking us to give them “just three hours a day” an amount of time I dare say that most cannot give to their loved ones or to their God.
So we charge our glasses with yet another round of mirth, and plunge into the abyss of hatred necessitated by those that we give those hours to. If they’re not for us they’re against us they say even though “they” are our neighbors and often our friends or families. Somehow that doesn’t work for me.
I cannot imagine those that risked their lives to found this country ever dreamed that this day would come but I think that they understood human nature all too well. Benjamin Franklin wryly noted “Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.”
I think that old Ben Franklin accurately sums up our current problem. We refuse to learn from each other believing the lie that only those that we agree with have anything of value to say. We refuse to govern our passions and allow them to run roughshod over our better instincts, and we are incredibly discontent as a people. Is it any wonder that we find ourselves in this predicament?
Although I cannot say that my data is scientific I can say from what I hear wherever I go is that the constant flow of acrimony is wearing them down, but maybe that is what the Unholy Trinity wants. I guess that they have figured out that if you beat people down enough they will simply give in to despair and they will have their way, after all the only use must of us are to them are as pawns which they sacrifice when the need suits them.
I think that is why I am so leery of the politicians, pundits and preachers that use fear, hatred and covetousness to promote their agenda. The dirty secret that the Unholy Trinity wants people to drink from their cup of bitterness. But they don’t tell those that drink from that cup and join them, is that as soon as they become inconvenient they become disposable. My “social conservative” Christian friends will learn the hard lesson of this just as conservative Christians who initially supported the Nazi Party in Hitler’s Germany discovered. Once they no longer need your vote you become disposable, that is simply a fact. The realization of this will will be a hard lesson for Evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics and others who thought that were indispensable to the conservative movement. The sad thing is that the only indispensable things are money, those who donate it and a reliable media mouthpiece.
Speaking of votes….who really needs them? Our votes are now so much chaff because those that seek them are actually more interested in serving the needs of the special interests, lobbyists and corporations that provide the big bucks to their campaigns, and their friends on the Supreme Court. I cannot believe for one moment that this is what our founders envisioned but we can’t see it. But others do as one German journalist wrote:
“The US is a country where the system of government has fallen firmly into the hands of the elite…. One can no longer depend on politics in America. The reliance of Congress members on donations from the rich has become too great. Nor will there be any revolutionary storming of the Bastille in America. Popular anger may boil over, but the elites have succeeded in both controlling the masses and channeling their passions.”
Some conservatatives would like to think that the Tea Party would be a force of change. It certainly has energy but while many Tea Party members believe that they are revolutionary, they are simply being used, and will be discarded when they become inconvenient. The Koch brothers and other big money operatives and their reliable mouthpiece of News Corp, its subsidiaries and the host of “talkers” will ensure it.
Those groups are promoting hatred and fear, but I don’t think that we solve our problems by giving into the hatred in which our culture is now drowning thanks to our business-media-religion complex.
A couple of years ago I read Buck O’Neil’s America and the wonderful human being and baseball great always counseled against allowing hate to consume your life. I was struck by this today:
“It makes no sense, Hate.
It’s just fear. All it is.
Fear something different.
Something’s gonna get taken from you,
Stolen from you.
Find yourself lost.”
Buck was called to testify in Congress about the Negro League Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame not long after the Congressional inquisition concerning the use of steroids. After his testimony was done the 94 year old great realized that there was something else that he wanted to say but could not remember. While waiting for his car in the Senate office building he saw a television which I can imagine was filled with the news of the day. He stopped began to talk what it would be like if instead of the virulent hatred, the television was showing the great catch by Willie Mays in the 1954 World Series.
“If Willie Mays was up there
People would stop making laws.
They would stop running.
They would stop arguing about
No Democrat or Republican,
No black or white
No North or South.
Everybody just stop,
Watch the TV,
Watch Willie Mays make that catch.
That’s baseball man.”
For the most part I have stopped watching the news. I do read a good amount but I will not allow myself to be turned into an unthinking drone of the Unholy Trinity and their endless attack on all that made this country good. Instead I watch baseball, read, write and even pray on occasion. I think that is one of the reasons that I so love baseball.
Sometimes when I despair about the country and the acrimony that is beginning to define who we are I remember this quote from Field of Dreams:
“The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”
Maybe that is the answer, and hopefully tomorrow or Friday the weather will clear enough to see a ball game.