1. It’s Tuesday, August 11, 2015.
2. One of the dopier developments in Major League Baseball fandom in recent years is throwing the ball back on the field a home run is hit by the opposing team. My guess about the rationale is that the ball is unworthy of sharing the same space as the home team’s fans, or something like that.
Here’s the thing: I’m 61 years old and I’ve wanted to catch a ball hit during a game since I was five. (I did get a ball hit in batting practice at the new Yankee Stadium five years ago, but that doesn’t really seem the same.) If I was watching the Mets and a team I really dislike, say the Phillies or the Yankees, and I caught a homer hit by someone on one of those teams, I’d still keep the damn ball. And to hell with the jerks in the ballpark chanting “Throw it back!” because I got the ball and they didn’t.
To add injury and stupidity to lame insult, last weekend, a dopey Yankee fan who caught a Toronto Blue Jay homer threw it back — and hit the Yankees’ All-Star left fielder, Brett Gardner, in the head. Fortunately, he wasn’t seriously injured. But if he was, how moronic would that have been?
3. In his terrific 2008 book “Nixonland,” author Rick Perlstein says the negative reaction to the social unrest of the mid-1960s was the spark for Richard Nixon’s political comeback. The first event that he points to is the rioting, which began 50 years ago today, in the Watts section of Los Angeles that resulted in the deaths of 34 people.
The anniversary is an interesting coincidence. The Watts riots were triggered by an altercation between an African-American motorist and a white Los Angeles policeman. Almost 49 years to the day later, a confrontation between an African-American man and a white Ferguson, Mo., policeman led to unrest in the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis. And there have been further problems this week as demonstrators mark the first anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.
This is a serious problem. African-Americans believe that the actions of the Ferguson policeman (who’s no longer on the force) and other law enforcement officials around the country place little or no value on the lives of black people. Hence the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
But there’s another problem: The unrest itself could be triggering a backlash among whites – especially white males. They’ve already been mouthing that Hispanics – mostly Mexicans – are flooding the country illegally and taking their jobs. They’re wrong about that, but that’s besides the point.
Now, with African-Americans complaining – even when one of their own is the freakin’ President of the United States – they’re getting frustratingly mad.
And that, my friends, is what this Donny Trump crap is all about.
He’s playing on these fears of the blacks, the Mexicans — and you can throw in the Chinese and the women for good measure. It’s where his support is coming from. Trump throws out bs lines – responding to Megan Kelly’s question at the Fox News debate about his comments on women — such as why he thinks the U.S. can’t afford to be “politically correct.” As if being respectful of other people is a detriment to making progress in the world.
Trump can’t win the White House. It’s not even clear he wants to. But that might not be the point.
At some juncture, the Republican nominee for 2016 will emerge. And whoever that person is, at some point, he or she will turn toward the Democrats and attempt to tap into the anger that’s fueling Trump right now. The nominee will point to Ferguson, point to the Texas border, point to the Chinese-made goods at Wal-Mart and say this is what the Democrats are about. Just as Richard Nixon did nearly a half-century ago.
That’s where the polarization of our nation, the demonization of those we don’t agree with, began. We haven’t recovered since.
Tomorrow, I’ll bounce some ideas about how I think Democrats should respond.