This has been a week of upheaval in both the physical and existential sense of the word. We continue to be bombarded by images of Haiti and even today a new quake brought new fear. And in the US, both minor and major tremors shook us as McGwire admitted what we had always suspected and the Democrats lost what was supposed to be a sure thing.
In times of upheaval people search for solidity, for something they can cling to as their world is dashed to pieces. For Haitians this is an ongoing search as even their government and their public services have fallen apart. And for baseball fans, even though we knew what McGwire was up to, we go back to the basics and try to rediscover again why we love this game.
For the Democrats, they are in much the same spot as the Haitians. I remember standing on the lawn between the capitol and the Washington Monument a year ago as President Obama gave his historic inauguration speech. But a year later his star power has faded to the point that a virtual unknown was able to take the seat held by Ted Kennedy, the Liberal Lion, for nearly the past five decades.
The real question before all of us is what happens next? Is it possible for Haitians to go back to living a normal existence when even the ground betrays them? Can we trust any of our baseball heroes anymore or do we have to assume that they are all lying? And does the promise of a universal health care system fade away for another 20 years until we once again realize how broken and rigged the current system is?
Upheaval forces us to answer difficult questions. And whether major or minor, these answers take time. Me, I’m a realist and always have been. I expect people to take the easy route. In another two weeks, Haiti will disappear from the news and we won’t hear about it again until the next time a disaster strikes. Despite the nearly universally accepted realization that health care is broken, our leaders will shy away from making us taste the bitter medicine and unfortunate people (who, luckily for the politicians, don’t tend to vote) will continue to fall through the cracks. And Mark McGwire, a self-confessed liar and cheater, will continue to make an exorbitant salary as a hitting coach while Pete Rose is banned from baseball. That, my friends, is reality.