Difficult Decisions…

Well, ladies and gentlemen, what you’ve seen before you for the last four days is an example of the kind of governance we can expect from a party that no longer believes in government – the Republicans. After fourteen attempts, Kevin McCarthy managed to bribe and cede power to enough of the Freedumb Caucus to take the Speaker’s gavel on the fifteenth ballot. “Never Kevin” became “Okay, if you give me enough, maybe Kevin.” Six of them never did vote for Kevin, though. They voted “present.” Their abstention opened the path the McCarthy’s “victory.” One guy, Alabama Republican Mike Rogers, had to be physically restrained during an argument with Matt Gaetz. Quality work there, guys…

Voting in the new Speaker is supposed to be pro-forma. Now, it’s true the Democrats didn’t do anything to help the situation but they shouldn’t have had to. (And why would they? It was such fun watching these bumbling fools pretending like they know how to govern.) The Republicans have the majority and their choice for Speaker might well be the easiest legislative process they’ll face – and they couldn’t even agree on that. Lovely. I suspect the American government will be on hold for the next two years as the Freedumb Caucus obstructs…well, everything, really. On the one hand, this is good. They won’t be able to come together to do the harm they love so much. On the other hand, the government has things it’s supposed to do and those won’t get done, either.

Nobody should be surprised. The so-called Freedumb Caucus should never have had that kind of power. Hell, they should never have been elected to Congress in the first place. These aren’t principled opposition members. These are lunatic Libertarians pretending to be Republicans in an effort to achieve some level of relevance. They succeeded, too…for awhile. As time has passed, they’ve increasingly dropped their cover and become more openly vocal about their hatred of government, the American government in particular, and their desire to simply burn the whole thing to the ground if they don’t get their own, whiny way.

20 members of the House of Representatives held up some 350 million people simply by being unreasonable, obstinate assholes. Talk about tyranny of the minority. And the tyranny will continue, all day, every day. They’ve now proven they can stop anything at any time just by stomping their rhetorical foot, holding their breath, and energetically shaking their head “no” until they do more damage to their already impaired brains.

The American people need to pay attention to this debacle as it plays out. Maya Angelou said that when someone tells you who they are, believe them. The Republican Party has just put on display exactly who they are for the entire country – no, the entire world – to see and it isn’t pretty. Or functional. Believe it…

I feel badly for the old-school Republicans. I know. I was surprised, too. The old-school had positions I disagreed with but they DID believe in compromise government and getting things done for the good of the country and Americans in general. This new breed? The disguised Libertarians? Useless. They were useless as Libertarians, which is why they usurped the Republican party in the first place, and now they’ve pretty much doomed the Republican party to the same irrelevance the Libertarians proudly enjoy today. Now, though, old-school Republicans who still believe in governance have no place to go. Nobody represents them.

I’ll tell you this: what we just witnessed from the Speakership battle is just a prelude to what we can expect for the next two years out of the dysfunctional House of Not So Representatives. If the American people can’t find a way to eliminate this sorry group of puny minded morons – and do it soon – this will be our future, the Idiocracy, indeed. That is NOT an exciting prospect…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you’re not a fan of American football, you might not enjoy this next bit. By now, you’ve heard that Damar Hamlin had a heart attack and collapsed on the field during a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals. To be clear, there’s nothing organically wrong with Hamlin’s heart. He suffered a freak accident that stopped his heart. It happens in the US about 30 times a year, here and there. The NFL cancelled the game. Mr. Hamlin is fine, now, so we can get back to thinking about the implications of that decision without feeling like an insensitive s.o.b.

It’s playoff seeding time in the NFL. The team in first place gets a first round bye. That means they don’t have to play and they get an extra week’s rest. It’s their reward for being the best that season. The decision to cancel the game had huge implications. Before Hamlin’s event, the Bills held the number one seed. The Bengals were in a position to take it away from them and that was what they were playing for in that game. When the game got cancelled, the Bills no longer held first position. Neither did the Bengals. Now the Kansas City Chiefs are in first place and looking forward to the first round bye.

These days, professional sports are polluted by gambling again and one can openly bet on anything. People place bets on who will win the Stupor Bowl before the season even begins. I’d guess the same is true for conference champions. Think, for a minute, about the people who picked the Bills for conference champions and were well on their way toward winning money when the NFL stepped in and just…took the win away. I also found myself thinking about all the other money that was on the line. Cancelling that game likely cost the NFL and broadcasters and advertisers millions and millions of dollars. Local bars and restaurants hosting watch parties lost out on revenues as well. Millions – perhaps hundreds of millions – of dollars were lost in that one moment. To tell you the truth, though, I don’t care about that. The NFL and it’s associates will all be fine. It just seems so unfair to the players on both teams.

I’ve read that the NFL wanted the game to continue the night Hamlin went down but the teams refused. I understand both sides of the argument but I wonder if the players would have played had they known they were surrendering much of what they had accomplished by not playing. When Hamlin woke up, the first thing he communicated was a question: “Did we win?” It was the first thing he wanted to know. It’s exactly the kind of mindset one needs to succeed in the NFL and most of the players share it. Sorry, Damar, the answer is no, you didn’t win. You didn’t exactly lose, either, but you lost a lot anyway. The road to the NFL’s big game is going to be much tougher than it might have been for both the Bills and the Bengals and much easier than it might have been for the Chiefs.

Practically speaking, there was no good way to “fix” the issue. There was no time to squeeze in a replacement game without disrupting everyone else. There are no double-headers for one team in the NFL. The game is FAR too physical. They could have calculated the seeding based on win percentage. Maybe they did. That, too, would have left the Chiefs in first place…

I’ll tell you this: I’m going to look at it like an historical event I got to witness and I’m not going to let it dampen my enthusiasm for the games going forward. But the “what if” will be in my mind for the remainder of the playoffs…

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