Take Me Out to the Antiwar Ballgame

- by Derek Seidman

Dick Cheney was able to score a hot ticket to see the biggest rivalry in baseball when he attended the Yankees-Red Sox game on Wednesday. The Vice-President even made his way into the locker room before the game to mumble at a few players. It was a proud moment for Yankee coach Joe Torre, who told the press, "It's great any time a dignitary like that visits. It slaps you with pride."

Come the seventh inning stretch, it was Cheney's turn to get slapped.

As decked-out fans stood up with a patriotic anthem blaring from the speakers, The New York Times reports:

"During the singing of "God Bless America" in the seventh inning, an image of Cheney was shown on the scoreboard. It was greeted with booing, so the Yankees quickly removed the image." (Cheney Pays Visit to Stadium, July 1)

What is going on here? Isn't baseball America's greatest pastime? Aren't sports events the epitomizing expression of mindless patriotism? The vice-president getting booed down in Yankee stadium during a time of war? Isn't this the same stadium where George Bush threw out the first pitch after 9/11 and was showered with glorious praise alongside Rudy Giuliani?

And all this in the same week that Fahrenheit 9/11 is the number one film in the country, smashing records and selling out theatres in places like Mobile, Alabama and Fayetteville, North Carolina (the home of Fort Bragg).

The Right, so used to having an iron lock on the pulse of mainstream political discourse, is fuming over it all. With all the means at its disposal, it is becoming powerless to halt the flood of doubt, curiosity, and criticism arising from the American people. The latest New York Times/CBS news poll found "Mr. Bush's approval rating at 42 percent… the lowest level of his presidency" (Bush's Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds, June 29).

The article reporting the results of the poll continues:

"The poll found Americans stiffening their opposition to the Iraq war, worried that the invasion could invite domestic terrorist attacks and skeptical about whether the White House has been fully truthful about the war or about abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison.

"About 60 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, while just over 50 percent said they disapproved of his foreign policy. Those disapproval figures are the highest measured in his presidency on those subjects."

Furthermore, the poll revealed that the question of whether "Mr. Bush did not care about the "needs and problems of people like you" edged up to 42 percent from 36 percent in March. More than 50 percent said that Mr. Bush did not have the same priorities for the country as they did."

You'd think John Kerry, who's neck-in-neck with Bush in all the polls, would be capitalizing on it all. However:

"40 percent of Americans say they do not have an opinion about Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, despite what have been both parties' earliest and most expensive television advertising campaigns. "Among those who do have an opinion, Mr. Kerry is disliked more than he is liked. More than 50 percent of respondents said that Mr. Kerry says what he thinks voters want to hear".

With the fiasco in Iraq among other things, people are sensing that something is horribly wrong with the direction the country's going in. This sentiment is being reflected in all kinds of places, some mentioned above. It seems that the center of political gravity is moving in a progressive direction, despite the efforts of the Right, the Democrats, and the corporate media. You would think the nominee of the supposed opposition party would get a clue. Considering that he and his ilk are game to the bipartisan consensus over the need to "stay the course" in Iraq, this is not likely.

Derek Seidman lives in New York City and is co-editor of www.lefthook.org. Give him feedback at derekseidman@yahoo.com.

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