Today is the opening game of Major League Baseball’s World Series. I have never quite understood how it got that name, but it is what it is. Even as an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan as a kid, I remember asking my father, “Why do they call it the World Series when all the teams playing are American?” Dad, who usually knew the answer to almost everything found himself at a loss for an explanation. But I guess with the inclusion of a few Canadian franchises, the title is now more justified than when I was a youngster.
In any event, those who are baseball fans are excited. One of my friends from the dog park, a loyal San Francisco Giants fan, is flying out this morning to attend the first two games in the Bay Area. A friend of hers has season tickets and has generously offered her the use of one of them. I know her adrenaline is pumping hard as she assembles her jerseys and other paraphernalia which she will wear in attending these first two games of the series.
I have never attended a World Series game but I can imagine for those who love the sport it is truly a rush. I picture my friend, having made the trek from Las Vegas, all excited at the prospect of watching her favorite game. There she is in her seat, properly attired and all excited hoping that the Giants bring home a victory for her and all their other fans in the stands and the millions watching the game.
It gets closer to the time for the first pitch when she notices something unusual. The Giants are out on the field warming up, but the dugout for the Detroit Tigers is mysteriously empty. The Tigers didn’t make it to the game.
A rustle starts among the crowd in the stands. “Where are the Tigers?” The rustle becomes louder as the fans realize they are going to be deprived of their right to watch this game. There will be no game because the Giants are handed a Win by Default.
If this were to happen can you imagine the outrage that would ensue? This would not make headlines only on the Sports Page of our newspapers. It would make headlines on the Front Page – and I’m sure that our columnists who wrote for Arts and Entertainment, Health and Beauty and Travel would all throw in their two bits as well.
Our blog commentaries on the Presidential election would be dwarfed by the volumes that would be written about this abdication of the Detroit Tigers’ responsibility to participate and the Tweets that would be Tweeted would be sent in record-breaking volumes. The outrage would be phenomenal.
Well, of course, that isn’t going to happen. But this scenario does point to the truth of that old saying, “Ninety percent of winning is ‘just showing up’.” And that brings me to the actual subject of this post.
Several months ago I had called on Rep. Jesse Jackson (D – IL 2nd District) to step down due to his medical condition. I had hoped that the Congressman would be a statesman and not a politician and do the right thing for the people of the district which he represents. I lived in that district when he was first elected to the House and so I feel a certain vested interest in the matter.
Several days ago, his father the Rev. Mr. Jesse Jackson, acting as his spokesperson, indicated that the Congressman is returning to the Mayo Clinic for further treatment for his Bi-Polar Disorder which has kept him from fulfilling his elected duties since June of this year. Apparently the Congressman is so unwell that he is not able to update his constituents himself.
With an election only 13 days away, Mr. Jackson will undoubtedly be re-elected as he has chosen to remain on the ballot. Because of the way that the congressional district is delineated, Bugs Bunny, if running as a Democrat, would win in a landslide. Certainly the people in the 2nd District are aware of Congressman Jackson’s condition and despite it will re-elect him, much to their discredit.
By the nature of his condition, I have to allow the Congressman some leeway, believing that he is not really capable of making rational decisions at this moment in time. However, I do want to point to someone of influence over him, a person who has held a large moral sway over the community and who is no stranger himself to politics, who should exert his influence to persuade the Congressman to do the right thing and step down. That person is his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
You may recall that the senior Mr. Jackson offered himself as a Democratic nominee for President in 1984 and again in 1988. He has had a long and successful career advocating equal rights for our black citizens. I have heard him speak (or perhaps preach) about how we should do the “right thing”. And it is now time for the Rev. Mr. Jackson to do that himself and encourage his son to step down from a position which he is unable to execute competently, due to his medical condition.
There is no one in this country who doesn’t realize that we have significant challenges ahead which we must address in a mature, honest and thoughtful manner. Whoever is the next President of the United States will need to work with a Congress that is composed of the best and most capable people we can find, people who are truly committed to doing the people’s business.
Rep. Jackson is not currently capable of being one of those people. And if his father cannot persuade him to do the right thing, then the House, when it convenes in January, should make that decision for him by expelling him.
If, “Ninety percent of winning is just showing up,” we cannot expect to win if there are people who simply aren’t able to attend. Congressman Jackson is one of those.
Rep. Jackson, please follow the advice your father gave us for years and “Do the right thing.”