Reality strikes out at baseball practice

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Every weekday morning I drive on Mimosa Street on my way to work, I look east as I’m at the intersection of Peachtree. Often, at least for a season, I smile as I notice the sun illuminating the big branching tree covered in fringy pink blooms. No wonder the road is named Mimosa Street.

Having just returned from a trip east at evidently just the right time of the year, we saw miles of Interstate 20 through Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia that could also be called Mimosa Street, as well as Magnolia Highway in some places. What could have been a terminally boring stretch of interstate was remarkable just by the sheer number of the blooming trees.

But back in the real world and preparing for work last Wednesday morning, as I switched on the TV I was greeted, shock-treatment style, with “what’s going on in the world today.” It was a breaking news report just minutes after a shooting of our congresspeople and others at some prior-to-this obscure event – a bipartisan baseball game of all things. What an unthinkable thing to occur, and in a place that is almost hallowed ground.

I have to ask how many of you knew there was a bipartisan congressional baseball game prior to the shooting? Maybe those of you who are more in tune with politics did know about it, but until the shooting last week I and several others I know were never aware that such an event existed. Judging by the explanation of the ballgame that every good news announcer knows to do with updates, I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

The tragedy that occurred there last week inspires me to believe strongly that we must stop this childish bickering back-and-forth from both sides. I don’t watch Stephen Colbert and won’t, but I saw a clip of an episode in which he was categorizing his audience by left-handers, right-handers, blondes, brunettes, etc. It kind of brought to light to me this silliness of partisanship. If you want to you can divide us a hundred different ways. But we are Americans.

Not knowing about this bipartisan baseball game that has gone on annually for many years caused me to ponder why we didn’t know about it. Maybe, it occurred to me, a nonpartisan event isn’t sexy enough to be reported on by the national media. It wouldn’t fuel the flame of sensationalism. But wouldn’t it have made a great feature story in some year or another?

I know we can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves one person at a time and it’s time to do it. I believe little things can make the biggest difference and probably not coincidentally I heard this topic discussed on a radio station one day after the shooting. They were talking about how just taking a shopping cart and putting it in the cart corral is setting a small example for your children. It shows taking responsibility, having respect for the store’s property and consideration for other people who have vehicles parked in the lot.

They were also advising that adults should be careful about how they talk about politicians in front of their children. The commentator was suggesting how parents could still voice their disagreement, but choose their words to show respect for the elected official’s dignity and, if not that, at least the dignity of their office. If there’d been a bell in the car when I heard that program, I would have rung it.

I feel strongly that it’s time for every person to take responsibility for reining in the hate-mongering that anyone who isn’t permanently fitted with rose-colored glasses can see. Just don’t take part. But this has to be a mutual approach - as much when the person you don’t like is in office as when the person you voted for is. While I am a big believer in personal accountability, remember, that while we may not mean our harsh words as vehemently as they sound, what we’re saying could fuel the fire of some other James Hodgkinson. Do we want our country to come to that?

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