Yesterday’s attack on the Republican Baseball Team was an example of political extremism at its worst. If not for the heroic actions of two Capitol Police officers, the incident would have resulted in the nation’s first mass assassination. The interesting thing is it happened at a baseball field. Baseball and U.S. politics have much more in common than we realize. Both are uniquely American creations. Baseball is “America’s pastime” and our form of representative democracy has often been called “the great American experiment.” With both, the underlying principle is that no one player or team is bigger than the game. While the players may be on opposing teams and wear different uniforms, they all play the same game with the same rules. It is the game that is sacrosanct and if we ever forget that, we have forgotten what it means to be an American.
No game is without a rulebook and the rulebook for our system of government is the Constitution. As mentioned in my previous blogs, the First Amendment is first because it is the most important. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of our unique brand of democracy. The freedom to debate important issues and have dialogue and discussion is precisely what allows us to play the game. Shut that down and it’s game over.
In the wake of yesterday’s tragic event, both sides of the aisle are saying all the right things (for the most part). They have condemned the violence as unacceptable and have pledged to work together in the spirit of cooperation – one Congress, one government, one country. I remain cautiously and skeptically optimistic (see “The Scorpion and the Frog”). But maybe, just maybe something good can come out of this tragedy. Perhaps it can provide a brief pause for our leaders to take a step back, gain perspective and put aside petty politics and focus on the real issues facing our country (the economy, healthcare, terrorism, tax reform or even dictators with bad haircuts developing nuclear weapons for starters). I sincerely hope our leaders can do this, if for nothing else, for the love of the game.