The most identifiable American sport is baseball. Baseball happens everyday in America and over time key words and phrases of the game have woven themselves into our language. Three strikes and you are out! Hit a home run! You are up and you are out, just to name a few! The idea of a game and a country with a philosophy of equality for all has been a metaphor of who we are for a long time. In America, everyone’s vote counts, but recently the idea that some votes matter more than others has put a definite shift to the idea of America being a level playing field.
Case in point; a few days ago the Senate killed a bill that would have required background checks for guns bought at gun shows and on the Internet. There was overwhelming support for this legislation, with a reported 90% of Americans backing the additional required gun checks. Yet the very voters who elected these men and women to office carried less weight with their legislators than did the gun lobby and their corporately created astro turf organizations.
Money has always talked loud, but when it comes to issues the American people have overwhelmingly let their legislators know they are concerned about the people generally have their issues addressed. Not this time. Ignoring personal visits, millions of emails and telephone calls, the legislators threw their hands up in the air, explaining that the making of any new laws on the issue was a bad idea, because in their opinion, “criminals are going to find ways around any such laws; so why write them.”
The gun lobby and its airway minions had set in motion a whirlwind of misinformation that accused the bill of being everything that is was not. With that misinformation the lobby was able to scare Washington into thinking their future jobs would be dependent on money for reelection they would be supplying, more than the votes they might actually loose voting against the bill!
In todays information age truth is no longer a key component to a story. Speed and the ability to reach as many people as fast as you can make the story news more than whether or not the information that has been vetted and researched. Astroturf has replaced the grassroots! Astroturf being corporate backed public concern that has corporate employees as the public face, not common citizens rallying to address an unjust that concerns them as a community.
If 90% of the American people supports an effort but it does not pass because corporate interest are a greater concern than voters, then we can hardly identify baseball as an American metaphor for the way we do business. When corporation’s rights are equal to or more important than a voters; that is not a level playing field. If a corporation can break the law and get away with a fine they in turn write off as a tax break and the cost of business, that is not three strikes and you are out. If only the concerns of the moneyed and richest are deemed important to run the government then that is a homerun for the wrong side every time.
Abner Doubleday of Cooperstown, New York supposedly invented the game of baseball in 1839. In fact that is probably more fiction than truth. Of all his accomplishments baseball was not one of them. There are no written records of him inventing the game and among his vast writings and personal effects you would think he would have mentioned it once. The credit he gets came from those who came after him, looking for a good story and as they say, the rest is history. Sadly let’s not hope that our rights as voters don’t become defined as just a good story for those who come after us, when in fact that was not a reality at all!