Saturday, January 31, 2009

A One Opponent Fight Is Like One Hand Clapping

Let me confess something. (I'm told that confession is good for the soul. Perhaps so. Perhaps not.)

When I was in my salad years this bully stomped my right foot. We had tangled once before, but at that time we were about the same size. We were the same color, living in the same neighborhood, knowing the same people (It was a small, every-body-knows-everybody town.) Now, the bully was not only taller but heavier. I was a slim Ali up against a "Smokin' Joe" Frazier.

Did I stomp his foot back? Hell no! Even today, a part of me wished that I had. But, unlike on previous occasions, my courage faltered, and then deserted me.

Now we have President Obama taking on one of his nemesis--a bully of a sort--in the form of Rush Limbaugh. He and Rush are not from the same neighborhood--Obama's a Democrat, and Rush's a Republican. And they're not the same color--Obama is electively black, although he comes from a bi-racial family, and Rush is white.

And although they know some of the same people, it can't be said that they move in the same circle, even one with "circles within circles."

But Obama, the skinny black guy, now our president, stacks up against Rush in the same way that Ali stacked up against "Smokin' Joe," but, in Rush's case, a white version of Joe.

And like "Smokin' Joe," Rush has thrown a few pre-fight verbal jabs, stating that he hopes that Obama, and Liberalism fail. "I Hope Obama Fails," Rush quips, with more bravado than usual.

And to make absolutely certain that Rush will be in shape, and ready for the big showdown, the Republican National Committee, the RNC, has spared no expense in recruiting a fight manager (Michael "Hard as Steel" Steele ) for hard-hitting, "Mount Rushmore" Limbaugh to prepare him for the fight of his life (Republicans are feeling a little punch-drunk right now.), for his up-coming battle with Barack "Fists of Rocks" Obama.

To make this fight more interesting, the RNC has recruited someone the same color as Barack, with the same "street cred," but from different 'hoods, Barack living on the left-side of town, and "Hard as Steel" Steele hailing from the right-side of town.

And this fight, unlike previous fights, will not follow Marquis of Queensberry rules, but will be a no-holds-barred fight, to take place in a steel-covered cage, and to the death.

Ol' "Mount Rushmore" believes that liberalism, and Obama in particular, are bad for the sport, and for our sport-loving nation. He wants to be the "last man standing," with his arms lifted over his head, and the Republican flag of victory raised over the Capitol, and the White House, at the end of the fight.

It reminds you of the new Sheriff in town telling the shootist that the town is not big enough for the two of them.

For the sport of boxing, and for the sport of politics (yes, politics is a sport, with winners and losers), both boxing and the nation's interests are served best when we have as many boxing styles represented in the ring as possible. The sport becomes dangerous when one boxing style is touted as superior to all others, and when one opponent believes that the sport is best served by one style only.

This is where the analogy ends. Conservatism and liberalism, as well as other voices, need to be heard in this democracy. It's the best way to assure that all voices, all points of view are heard above the din of special interest politics.

Beware of those that preach a politics of exclusion, asserting that their brand of governance is the only brand, and that their politics is the only politics. Beware of those that insist that their way is the only way, and that their principles are the only principles upon which to build.

Democracy is best served when we all have a say in our government, both conservatives and liberals, and all the shades in between. Democracy is stunted when we demonize one to deify the other.