THE FIFTH GRADE

1. It’s Monday, July 25, 2016.

2. Mets fans welled with pride yesterday with Mike Piazza’s enshrinement into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. That there was a large orange-and-blue contingent among the approximately 50,000 gathered at Cooperstown was yet another reason for Piazza to break out his handkerchief.

I’ve gone from watching the stars of my childhood get enshrined to watching the stars of my sportswriting years get enshrined to now watching the stars of my kids’ childhoods get enshrined. It is part of the baseball continuum, the beauty of a sport that spans generations and ties families together.

Way to go, Mike!

3. I can’t say I was super excited about Hillary Clinton’s choice of running mate. It’s not that I had anything against Tim Kaine. It’s just that I wanted some out-of-the-box thinking – my choice was Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone. The reaction to the Kaine selection has been tepid at best. Some of the people who backed Bernie Sanders aren’t happy because Kaine isn’t progressive enough.

But Kaine’s been pretty good so far. He’s a ray of sunshine after the gloom that marked the Republican convention. And I appreciated his telling his story – his early career, his days as governor of Virginia.

One of the things I thought impressive was his dismissal of the insults of Hillary Clinton that seemed to dominate in Cleveland. According to a transcript of a “60 Minutes” interview with CBS’ Scott Pelley, Kaine and Clinton both said they wouldn’t respond in kind. 

“Because we got real serious problems to solve,” Kaine said. “And look, most of us stopped the name-calling thing about fifth grade.

Kaine could be the antidote to the meanness of this campaign. That would be quite a contribution.

4. Fifth grade was when kids passed notes back and forth slamming other kids. That’s sort of how I see the contents of the Democratic National Committee e-mail leak.

Most of this stuff seems to consist of snippiness. About how the Democrats are covered on the networks. About Sanders, who wasn’t the choice of party regulars. It was probably the kind of cattiness that should have stayed in the office break room, but not been committed to e-mail.

Because, as any of us who’ve worked in big organizations know or should know, there’s no guarantee that someone you don’t want to see your e-mail will see your e-mail.

Is this a scandal that should impact the election?

Well, the fact that the Democrats have some of the same disorganization that we saw last week with the Republicans isn’t reassuring. So it shouldn’t be swept under the rug during the convention.

One way not to do that is to announce, during the convention, a new chairman or chairwoman who is acceptable to both the traditional and the insurgent wings of the party. And announce a restructuring that will make certain that all views in the party are represented.

There must be Democrats who bridge the gap, which is nowhere near as big as the one between the Trumpsters and the old-line GOP conservatives.

Get this resolved before the Democrats leave Philadelphia, or else we get to hear about this instead of infrastructure, gun control, the economy and the other real issues in this campaign.

5. When I was in the fifth grade, in 1964, the Russians were the bad guys.

It’s 52 years later. And, if the reports are true, the Russians are finding ways to subvert our institutions that the old Soviet Union couldn’t even imagine.

The Times says that researchers believe the Democratic computers were hacked by two Russian intelligence agencies, who then disseminated the e-mails through WikiLeaks.

It’s not going to be easy to get definitive proof. But the fact that Trump has, at the very least, shown some positive inclination toward Vladimir Putin has to make folks a little uneasy.

Let’s see if Trump and the Republicans condemn Russian hacking or just try to make hay of the e-mails without considering how they got them. If they’re so willing to get ahead that they’ll let a country that doesn’t seem too inclined to be an ally influence their behavior.

Now, I know what Trump supporters will say: This is nonsense. You Democrats are just embarrassed by both these e-mails and your crooked presidential candidate.

But that’s what the mean boys and girls in the fifth grade would have said.

Standard

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