vendredi, avril 28, 2006

Blood sports

The partisan divide afflicting Capitol politics has spilled out onto the Washington Mall, where Congressional staff members' springtime frolic of softball games after work is degenerating into ideological hardball. Complaints that easygoing Democratic players prefer "softball welfare" and that hard-sliding Republicans are into "class warfare" precipitated a schism. More than 100 teams have broken away to form a league of their own led by a Republican commissioner, abandoning 80 other teams to fend for themselves on the greensward.
The sticking point, according to The Wall Street Journal, is the championship playoff system long run by a Democratic commissioner — a bleeding heart approach, in the view of Republican batters. It forces the teams with the strongest records to risk playing one another in the opening challenges, rather than letting them feast first on the weaker teams, as in the great American way of professional sports. New York Times, April 28

I have a confession to make.

I am a Democrat..hang on, that's not the confession! I am a Democrat who likes to play softball with Republicans. Actually, I don't play softball. I have no aptitude for team sports. Tennis, anybody?

Let me be perfectly clear. If I did play softball, my Republican friends are the first ones I'd invite to be on my team. Almost all of the Republicans I know, (which doesn't include members of Congress or the present administration), have a strong respect for rules. They not only talk about personal responsibility, but usually display it. Rarely has a Republican buddy owned up to not paying a parking ticket or taking office supplies home.

My Republican friends are also unlikely to make sartorial faux pas like wearing loud checked shirts and Indian print skirts to work or to bring up controversial political subjects at cocktail parties. I think. I could be wrong about that, because I have not been invited to a lot of cocktail parties recently. Perhaps it's the way I dress. By and large, they also live in lovely homes, and I like to visit them there, when I am invited.

In other words, with the exception of some strong disagreements on social issues, my pals on the right are people I am proud and honored to call friends. When I read about a hardball/ softball war raging in Washington, I have to wonder whether Congressional staffers have any idea what normal people (OK, semi-normal) like me really care about.

By and large, we get along with each other. We want to see bipartisan collaboration and creativity in addressing issues like global warming, jobs for the poor, and international crises in Iran, the Sudan and other hot spots. Silly displays of hostility reflect a level of peevishness and immaturity that is not only vexing, but scary. Apparently the aliens in DC have forgotten the most basic rule of sportsmanship-play fair. After that, let the best pitchers and runners determine who wins. Or is that baseball?

1 commentaire:

Catherine + a dit…

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