In a recent article by George Will, he claims we are now entering the "end of the Wretched Excess Season" exemplified according to Will as "60 minutes of actual football - men risking concussions and other crippling injuries for our amusement." Okay George, we get it. But as we face the end of the professional football season, we also enter the "March to the Final Four" in NCAA Basketball and the start of yet another season of Major League Baseball. Would Mr. Will consider this too, an obsession with "wretched excess?" Yet Mr. Will conveniently omits what has also become a national obsession with a direct relationship to "wretched excess." It's called POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. Just this week, the Koch Brothers committed publicly to spend upwards of $886 Million towards influencing the 2016 elections. Who has this kind of spare change to influence elections? And why is this (and all of the other political spending - estimated to exceed $2 Billion in 2016) not considered actual "wretched excess" by pundits like Will? We all know sports are for entertainment value, but aren't political games a tad bit more important in our lives? Where is the condemnation by Will and others when it comes to "free speech" being equated with the amount of money you can afford to spend on influencing elections? Really folks - how many of you have an extra $886 Million laying around to play in the "Super Bowl of politics" with?
In the same article, Will states that the State of the Union is also a wretched excess by declaring the speech "deepens the diminishment of the legislative branch as a mostly reactive servant of an overbearing executive." Considering the Framers specifically required the president to address the "State of the Union", Will's problem seems to be that the address could have been mailed in (citing Jefferson's desire to instead "send his thoughts in writing"). But with the advent of mass communication, every president since Woodrow Wilson has made the State of the Union a focal point for addressing Congress and the American people. Will seems to draw a correlation between the presidential speech and the Super Bowl as both being equal examples of "wretched excess." Hmm, I wonder what every president since Wilson would say to this sentiment? And to use fancy words such as those employed by Will to convey a sense of superiority of intellect with a verbosity unmatched by other pundits, I say "Phooey!"
As President Theodore Roosevelt once quipped; "In life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: 'Hit the line hard, don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard.'" After hitting the "line hard" in making it through our day to day lives, perhaps distractions that may appear to be "excessive" are in fact, releases designed to distract us just long enough to cope with the real world and all of its dangers. Clearly, Mr. Will never played sports and does not appreciate that his difficult task of delicately choosing words designed from the College Board SAT word set is nothing like the distractions actual Americans face every day in their lives. Political season will be upon us within a mere few weeks. I hope we all can enjoy the distractions granted us by sports. So to each and every one of you...Happy Super Bowl, Happy NCAA Final Four, Happy Baseball Season and happy anything that allows us a pleasant distraction from the incredibly "wretched" and "excessive" impending political season. Have a great week!