I first heard the term “bush league” while playing in our street hockey league. CMac was in net and got pushed out of the crease by one of the other team’s offense, and then they scored. The ref was a little green and didn’t call it. We were all pissed and that’s when CMac told them, “Guys come on, that was total bush league.”
Everyone wants to watch a competition that plays out between competitors with honor. You don’t punch low, chop block or blind hit a skater in the neutral zone. But recently, somehow it became ok to play only to win in political competition. Win for the sake of winning, regardless of how you do it, without honor. Ted Cruz, a supposed man of principle, fawning over the person who insulted his wife and father. Mitch McConell and the Merrick Garland nomination while green lighting Amy Coney Barrett. Lyndsey “hold the tape” Graham. Anyone who criticized Obama for executive orders but salutes Trump’s useless paperwork. The threats about Biden’s cabinet appointments but ok with Rex Tillerson, Ben Carson and Ryan Zinke? Trump’s fanning the flames of any conspiracy theory just in case random anecdotes later help him sew distrust of whatever criticizes him. Like anyone in government who disagrees and then gets angry tweeted resulting in death threats from the lemmings that blindly follow @RealDonaldTrump. Are we still two weeks and sitting in a bigger swamp away from this alleged health care plan that defies the laws of economics? 306 is a “landslide” called by the press at 2am in 2016, but now the flipside is “fraud”?
Yes these moves are playing within the technical rules, but that doesn’t make it right. It will alienate the future generations of potential Republicans. No one wants to play for THAT team.
The reason we call it political “sport” is because we want a level playing field like the sports we turn to for entertainment. A fair game offers anyone an equal shot, your skill governs success, not the skill of your lawyer. It’s why perpetuating systems that promote racist results are abhorrent even if they are ‘legal’. It’s why it is wrong to call a woman “bossy” when a man would be labeled “assertive” or a “she’s a bitch” when he is “strong.” It’s why we called out Obama when he supported Louis Farrakhan and yet the GOP doesn’t flinch when the POTUS recognizes that there are “very fine people” for chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
The bible uses the word “zachor” or “remember” over 200 times. Remember the Sabbath. Remember the covenant with God. Remember the exodus from Egypt. We should remember when people say that you should “grab them by the pussy” when you are attracted to someone even if “she was married”. We remember these things because they are important. We remember when teams win on a technicality, when someone manipulates the rules to win, despite being the worse team. We remember.
Years ago our Ultimate frisbee team made it to the playoffs and was playing against a very tough team. One of our players, “T”, made one of his patented amazing diving catches for a score over his defender. He jumped up, spiked the disk and did a dance. In the moment we thought it was funny. But it was inappropriate and he almost instantly felt bad, reminding us that’s not how we play the game. On the next play, he sought out the competitor, apologized, shook his hand and noted that it was wrong. He did the same at the end of the game. He made amends for getting swept up in the moment. While that one action was disrespectful, he made up for it by being humble. I would go to battle with that guy any day. I remember his honor.
I’m not sure what is going to happen with the GOP over the next few years. I hope we find our way back to the ideals of Conservatism that argue ideas and principles rather than cultivating hate and trickery just so “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.” That’s not winning. That’s not leading. That’s not making the world better with better ideas. That’s braggadocio, and it punctuates the fact that nothing was actually accomplished other than leaving 250k people “dying in the streets” because you never really understood healthcare.
People get caught up in the moment of competition. Emotions run hot. You do things in the moment even though we know they are wrong. That’s ok. The strength of humanity is the ability to control the reptile mind and remember what we did, evaluate it and correct ourselves. I can’t quite understand the person that hears the Trump dog whistle of hate and thinks that their own frustrations with the world are represented by that overt contempt for human decency. But I know there are many in these 70 million Americans that truly aren’t so easily swept up by the conman. Where did your morals go when your ears perked up and the adrenaline spiked? Is it time for some introspection?
I remember my friend “T” and his begging forgiveness for a momentary lack of humility. I was proud that our team showed that composure. I love Ultimate because it is a game of honor where we call our own fouls. We sometimes call ourselves for borderline fouls just to make sure the opponent feels we are playing fair. “Spirit of the game.” I hope that the last 4 years were just a momentary lack of judgment and morality. If you were one of those people, that’s ok. Take some time and think back on what you agreed was a good course of action in the moment and then decide if & how you want to make amends. Does anyone really want a child separated from their parent fleeing oppression when that is exactly why the Pilgrims sought out the New World? If you still think that’s ok, no problem. I remember. Many will remember. There may be a point where this party no longer represents a Conservatism that is dear to my soul. I hope that never happens, I hope we come back to normalcy.
But if we don’t, I remember. And I would much rather play for the team with honor, even if it means I lose a few calls or even games. When I meet my maker, I will be proud of how I played the game. Would you?