Tonawanda News

Opinion

October 4, 2013

The view from the edge of the cliff

Tonawanda News — Like Picasso and Mozart, the basketball player Michael Jordan, in his prime, performed his art on a level beyond that of his contemporaries. On his chosen stage, limited by the dimensions of the court, he was an undisputed master, and some people attended his games simply so they could tell their grandchildren they saw the great Jordan at work.

Most tellingly to me, a guy who considers sport a performing art, Jordan — like Broadway theater stars, Wayne Gretzky and Nobel laureates — always respected the game, to the point of kneeling and kissing the court on the night of his last performance (all right, his first last performance).

Is there a lot of respect for the game, the process of great work, these days? Athletes? Financial counselors? Pop stars? Members of Congress?

A survey by Public Policy Polling, earlier this year, noted the U.S. Congress has a favorability rating of 9 percent, with 85 percent of respondents viewing it in a negative light. It is less popular than colonoscopies, root canal, head lice, Genghis Khan, France or being stuck in traffic (but ahead of Fidel Castro, North Korea and meth labs).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn once condemned a lot of stuff actuated by his former homeland, the country that kicked him out, the Soviet Union — for what, he asked. Ideology. Just ideology, an adherence to something called Communism.

The buffoons of the U.S. Congress are acting with a similar mindset, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why. Bringing down President Obama? Scrapping a single piece of legislation passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the executive branch, approved by the Supreme Court and the court of public opinion (Obama vs. Romney, 2012), and growing increasingly popular every day?

Picking a fight they thought they’d win, by rigging an assortment of rules, then attempting to hold the government for ransom?

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