My national pastime
I love baseball. My team is the Cleveland Indians and whether you take issue with their name like many, personally I would like to see them return to the Cleveland Spiders though by all accounts Cleveland sports were a disaster under that particular moniker. As a child, baseball was a bridge to life my father ushered me across. Life lessons abound; You can't win them all, You don't have to swing at every pitch, Be ready because once the ball is in play anything can happen.
It took me by surprise when I realized that what shocked me, rattled me, threw me off kilter as much as watching the big picture ideological decisions made every day by this administration, was something that seemed so common-place. So small. Donald Trump will not throw out the first pitch on Baseball's Opening Day.
With so much news, in such abundance, in such frequency, it can be hard to keep one's eye on what matters. You think about how every little detail effects you and your loved ones, future generations, and our 'American' way of life. About 70 days in; a lurking foreign intervention into the very foundation of our Democracy, slashing EPA regulations meant to slow the tide of climate change, and watching the stock market continue it's slow slog downward.
Would it be so crazy for Mr. President to just take the motor pool to the ballpark and have what should be a unifying moment? A 'home run' if you forgive the obvious turn of phrase.
rip potus first pitch
What I think is most upsetting about many of the decisions made so far by President Trump is what seems to be a deconstruction of tradition, of the way things have always been. The President of the United States has thrown out a first pitch on Opening Day for 107 years. That's practically half as long as we are a nation. Notable exceptions to the tradition, were for instance William Howard Taft attending the second game of the season, having missed Opening Day to attended the funeral of a friend who perished on the Titanic in 1912. Richard Nixon, yes that Richard Nixon then Vice-President, filled in for Dwight Eisenhower in 1959.
You can't say it's a security issue. Ronald Reagan ignored a security warning in 1984 to watch the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day from the Third Base dugout for crying out loud! That's how important it is.
At the height of his unpopularity, George W. Bush didn't miss an opportunity to throw his heater on Opening Day. He had good mechanics, good follow-through, and could always reach the catcher's mitt. For one instant, people forgot what was happening everywhere else but that ball park.
I guess it's possible Mr. Trump is worried, after the Health Care debacle last week, of bouncing another one off the plate.
Editor's Note: Head here for a complete history of Ceremonial First Pitches.
Today was some day for the President, his administration & We the People.
Cable TV news and social media are lit like a bonfire today and emotions are cornstalk high. Press Secretary, Sean Spicer was about an hour late for today's daily briefing, and had a difficult time keeping his steam in check. He wanted to eat ABC and CNN Correspondents Jonathan Karl and Jim Acosta for dinner.
Home on a 3rd crippling snow day courtesy of Stella, I found out there is no evidence of the wiretapping claims, and learned through the 2017 Budget reveal there is a list of projected social welfare program eliminations and cuts, to include Meals on Wheels, Women Infant and Children, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
When asked about the prospect of climate change programs being defunded, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “I think the president was fairly straightforward on that: We’re not spending money on that anymore.”
The Art of the Takeaway
Kids, I used to sell timeshare. I went through the Dale Carnegie and neuro-linguistic programming sales training courses. I did well negotiating and closing vacation and retirement dreams, toes in the sand with margaritas in hand. I still talk to customers who became my friends. I worked with some good ethical people.
But I also worked with others who were ruthless and who in the industry are referred to as 'sharks'. They wear that name like a badge of glory and don't care how they rake you over the coals. The more burn the better.
They're masters of the 'takeaway', the deal you just can't refuse. They're the kind who will get you in the 'ether' and tell you someone who just lost their business sold back his condo to the company for what he paid for it 10 years ago, and it's ripe for the taking at an incredible price, pennies on the dollar - but hurry, it won't be around long. In fact let me go check if it's still there... If you buy it now they'll throw in 10 free long weekends anywhere in the world.
This is Trump style.
How much of this budget proposal is a 'takeaway' closing tactic, in the respect that it takes away just about everything and makes us feel raw, abused and angry, in order to negotiate giving back some, maybe half, to make us feel like he's benevolent, incredible, amazing, and generous?
I can smell a shark through the TV. There's sizzle, bling, negotiating, greed, and closing going on.
As any major network will tell you by the ticker on the side or bottom of the screen, in 5 hours and 3 minutes from now, President Trump will make his first address to a joint session of Congress.
Since election day, I have felt adrift, confused, empathic, empowered, mad as hell, and vanquished; though not necessarily in that order. While I listened to kamikaze press conferences from my desk chair at work or glazed over riots in the streets of America on my couch at home, I haven't been able to see a point when we'll reach bottom and begin a slow slog up the hill back to Normalville. Alas, in my humble opinion we have found no solid footing; no North Star to guide this country back home.
There have been some historic addresses to Congress in this nation's history by men of debatable quality and aptitude. Notions of days living in infamy for all eternity and America as a beacon of hope and promise; not a Red America and a Blue America, but a United States of America.
I tempt you dear readers with the recap we'll provide in the upcoming episode of our podcast and say keep an eye out for what I think will be a most unnerving and off-kilter message from a man I have yet to embrace with the optimism of so many of my Red State friends. Listen for the truth, it will be in there somewhere. Good Luck, Mr. President, you have our attention.