Jeff and I often disagree on baseball. He thinks the Cardinals deserved to win the ’06 Series and I believe they only won because the Tigers gave it away. He would like to see the Astros wearing wool in the middle of the summer and I think breathable fabrics are a welcome addition to the game. Despite these disagreements, I’m pretty sure they won’t lead Jeff to punch me in the face.
Same thing goes for Jeff and our podcast collaborator, Johanna. Jeff and Jo get into some pretty heated arguments over the Hall of Fame but that doesn’t mean that Johanna is going to show up outside of Jeff’s local grocery store one day and attempt to mow him down along with a bunch of innocent bystanders.
For all its lunacy and despite what you may believe after watching The Natural, baseball doesn’t often lead to death. And when it does, it’s usually a fluke play as opposed to a chillingly conceived plan. So why is it that politics seems to inspire the crazies to take things to the next level?
This past weekend’s shooting of a representative in Arizona illustrates just how out of hand the situation has become. Sure, there are legitimate differences of opinion out there between Americans of every stripe. But that’s the beauty of democracy. If you don’t like the way someone governs, you can either vote against them or go out and run for office yourself. You have options. Shooting the person and killing a nine-year old girl in the process is the refuge of the weak and ignorant.
The only good thing that seems to be coming of the incident so far is that people are truly focusing on the toxic political environment and its role in the events. Let me say this. I don’t think the Tea Party had any more to do with this than did the Sierra Club. I think this was the work of one unhinged person who couldn’t deal with life and didn’t get the help he needed. But there is something to be said for a space in which you can draw legitimate lines between what people have said and how that might have contributed to his conclusions. And this goes for both sides of the aisle.
I don’t have a solution. And I’m pretty sure that the wave of goodwill between the parties will give way when Congress gets back to business next week. But hope springs eternal and if Jeff and I can overcome our differences, usually through peace offerings of alcohol or books, maybe the American body politic can do the same.