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Hello Baseball, Goodbye Brain: Wouldn't It Be Great If We Could Channel Our Sports Passion Toward the Theft Going on in Washington?

Our money is being stolen not at the corporate sports stadium but at the corporate White House.

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Yes, Obama is “good” about guns, promoting women, gay marriage – full marks to him.  But on the only two inter-related issues that really matter, our economic impoverishment and funding unnecessary wars, he is the best Republican liberal we voted for.  The fix is in.  Obama is the most skillful three-card monte trickster in the Oval Office since Reagan, and without a real enemy, the GOP piñata, to hit and hit again, most of us have subsided like me into spectators rather than active fans.

Is it subversive to suggest that gun-control and gay marriage are…side issues…compared to Obama being our “food stamp president” with a record high of 47 million Americans now dependent on welfare; one in four children going hungry if not for (and perhaps even with) food stamps; the whittling away of Medicare and Social Security disability – in other words the Democrats and Obama undermining our safety net while prattling on about the false issue of “deficit spending”.  Washington’s policies are directly responsible for the crushing meth plague in rural America, triggered by farm disasters and small town factory closures.

I have great respect for the former labor secretary Robert Reich but is he ever wrong when he protests, ”"Mr. President…a cut to Social Securiy benefits that would hurt seniors – it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president.”  Oh, Mr Reich, the point is, that’s what Democratic presidents do, enact Republican platforms while we remain in a state of liberal narcosis. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors—it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president.”r. President, the chained CPI is a cut to Social Security benefits that would hurt seniors—it’s an idea not befitting a Democratic president.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s favorite executioner, former senator Alan Simpson, axe in hand, co-chair of the presidential “budget commission”, calls people like me, indeed all Americans who unlike him don’t have a 50-year career on the public dole, as “the greediest generation”.

Instead of fixing on what’s important we run around fixing this or protesting that – which is great, it keeps us alive as participating citizens.  But the fact remains that it is in both parties’ interest to three-card shuffle us into a kind of distracted boredom which helps explain the astonishing popularity of professional sports today.  We know every detail of Kevin Ware’s gruesome basketball injury and Tiger Woods dating Lindsay Vonn, and the Rutgers coach who pulverized his scholarship players, and the scandal-ridden National Collegiate Athletic Association’s ruthless exploitation of young athletes.  And, if we’re truly alert fans, the high school, collegiate and professional athletes’ rape culture.  But since pols like Alan Simpson don’t dunk in Nike trainers we’re blind and deaf to his nastiness.

So I look forward to this baseball season even if I still don’t really understand “wild card” playoffs, the same way I’ve never got the offside rule in pro soccer.  This season keep your eye on the Cubs’ Dominican-born shortstop Starlin Castro who will – I promise!- take us to the World Series not next but THIS year.  And pray for a miracle that, in time to raise a rumpus, we take one tiny part of our sports-obsssed brain and refocus on how and why our money is being stolen not at the corporate sports stadium but at the corporate White House.

Clancy Sigal is a novelist and screenwriter in Los Angeles. His latest book, "Hemingway Lives!" will be published this spring by OR Books. He can be reached at clancy@jsasoc.com.

 
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