- Politics and Social Issues
The Big Satan in Spring 2016
Baseball Fever is in the Air
This is true. But it is not felt in Iran. Such a pity. I have the feeling that Iranians would make good ball players. I sense the same about Saudi Arabia. Baseball is big on strategy. Insofar as it is, it might appeal to Iranians and Saudis alike. All it takes is to make an effort. Moving runners on base around the diamond is like manipulating oil prices to get one's way -- maybe. If nothing else, the Middle Eastern League might serve as a comedy idea: turbans instead of caps, for instance. Robes instead of uniforms. Elaborate insults involving camels instead of the usual expletives. But radical Islam does not approve of American humor. I should not mention cartoons. Jihadists have expressed themselves quite articulately on the issue. We have a few objections, too. For instance, we note how our unholy adversaries celebrated the tragedies of Paris and Brussels as great triumphs. All this and more could be discussed in a seminar on the current relationship between the two worlds in which we now dwell, theirs and ours, never the twain shall meet. Also, the fact that when it comes to Allah and Mohammad, unbelievers are not laughing as much as before. Touché. But we still refuse to embrace Islam en masse. Nor do we equate Allah with God, or couple Mohammad with prophecy.
Life has changed a great deal over the last fifty years. I cannot see how terrorism would not be at the top of everyone's list of what's new and important, along with confusing advances in technology. Or, if you must, climate change. But getting back to sports, just think, our baseball teams have started yet another season, which makes me happy. I pay extra for MLB on TV. Also, we are either in between terror events, or, if more fortunate, have a longer wait in store. Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, al-Nusra, the Taliban -- these are their teams. It is 2016. Baseball is alive and well, if maybe not the most popular pastime, as in days of yore. But it still offers a respite from worries and care, that have, in the past few months, gotten more severe.
Last night the New York Yankees struggled to maintain a one-run lead over the home team, the Toronto Blue Jays -- if they were not the Tampa Bay Rays, since the initials, TB, are the same. Neither team looked impressive. Maybe it's time to contact Lucifer? But that was another story. Simultaneously, on the Kelly File, there was a discussion of nuclear weapons, owing to Kerry's recent visit to Hiroshima. I find the incongruity amusing, though it might have a time limit, if, at a future date, nuclear weapons are actually launched. At that point, in retrospect, it will no longer have been amusing, only interesting, or philosophical, in that people were so unaware, doing things as always, while nuclear weapons were being made ready. In the last days, or after them, for that matter, what shall I say? I turned the knob when I should have been paying more attention to the panel on nukes? What then could I have done? Write a congress-person? I might as well have written to Santa at the North Pole. So, I watched a ball game. What will you be doing, let's say, ten years hence, or the day before the first nuke hits its target? Sounds hopeless. But it is just the age we live in. Our existence parallels that of the objects of our own destruction, which are at this very moment, being manufactured and warehoused, as we go about the daily grind.
Yesterday night, the Chicago Cubs beat the daylights out of the Cincinnati Reds. At the same time, Bernie Sanders drew a huge crowd in Washington Square, NYC. Since I have basically only seen Sanders point his fingers in the air and utter the word "truth", I am not qualified to say what he stands for. But here again, the crazed juxtaposition is still in line with the idea of getting lost in personal distractions while nuclear disaster approaches. Why? Simply put, it is not about Sanders so much as what any president is going to have to face after taking the oath of office. It is fine to wow the Big Apple. But what about Little Iran? Almost the entire world is, to various degrees, anti-American. How this came about I am not sure since it used to be the Iron Curtain that played bogeyman on the global stage. Sanders, if elected, will not be treated any different, at least at first, until he declares himself, not just for constituents. He cannot mimmick Obama, defend Islam, and direct our thoughts to higher ground. Following eight years of first, speeches about universal harmony, and second, airstrikes, he will have to take an original stand, rather than copy a controversial predecessor.
Bernie Sanders and the Texas Rangers
It was a horror show last night to tune in just as the Texas Rangers relinguished a comfortable lead to the Baltimore Orioles. Oriole batters went for the fences while the Texas Manager, as if in denial, casually left in a pitcher, who had given up three home runs with no outs. No big deal, the pitcher finished the inning, collected three outs, and set his team on course to lose by six runs. At the same time, Bernie Sanders fired his liaison to Israel for putting the Prime Minister down on Facebook. Lots to speculate upon. At the beginning of a season or campaign, it is easy to overlook and forgive. But soon Sanders must bring out the bigger guns since it already seems as though the Democrats have chosen their candidate. Not him, by the way. No question, however, that citizens here, interested or not, are somewhat queasy. Another aloof Democratic regime could oversee either the loss of Israel or a major downside in its status, in compliance with the U.N., while terrorists continue to have a field day. I believe that the last comment I heard by the White House (and this could be back a ways) is that its only real concern is numerical. In other words, there are always fatalities, accidents, and natural disasters, so that terrorism, not to worry, only fits somewhere in the middle of the grid.
Already it is a question that hangs in the air and will eventually demand an answer: can the USA successfully fight terrorism? Of course, no single nation can go it alone. Many nations must cooperate if victory is to be achieved. But since the attempt to deflect leadership in America cannot go on indefinitely, it looks as if the next administration will be forced to decide more firmly if we are going to be isolationists, with token contributions, or active participants. Right now, it seems as if the best that can be done is to allow Middle Eastern citizens to flee, re-locate, and risk deportation, while terrorist groups wreak havoc. Israel, as in the past, will hold steady, occasionally enter the fray, then withdraw. Terrorists do not seem worried. They anticipate a time, not too far off, they hope, after it is gone, which will mean, also, having subdued the USA, either by defeating it in battle, or causing it to back off.
A Chicago pennant could be in the works. Both the North Siders and South Siders are winning. I live nearby. I am also in the vicinity of Miller Park. The Brewers, in last place, could turn it around. It is nice to think about such things while one can. But what about a nuclear winter following the big-doings of summer in the stadiums? It is, unfortunately, also time to think about that. As the world becomes more and more dangerous, the competition for people's attention is fierce. One last dollar, please. Will the audience contact physicians for the sake of a new drug? Will it buy the latest kitchen appliance? How about a new car? This, after all, is our role in the grand scheme. We are consumers. Does it not feel a bit absurd? Tensions are ramping up. Terrorism is impossible to live with, yet there is no solution in sight. North Korea scolds the U.S. on a regular basis, as though it were a bad dog. The Russians are poised for a new breakthrough in terms of world domination. At the same time, the Chinese might have an even grander design. I could write a screenplay, if I had an incentive. I'm like everybody, waiting and watching. My fate, like yours, is in somebody else's hands. Is it in the hands of the Lord, whom we cannot see, or a leader, whose photo-ops our sore eyes cannot avoid? One day, during the World Series, possibly, the world as we know it, will blow itself up. How soon thereafter will extraterrestrials find our remains and relics? Maybe light years hence. Maybe never. Oh yeah. Why pick on Bernie? Actually, I didn't mean to. Or the Democrats.