By Sean C. Bowers
Once upon a time when the truth and basketball were graceful, when facts were the rules of the game, when true talent flew unimpeded and where some form of mutual respect had always been, that’s where we officially stood on the eve of January 20, 2017.
Basketball mirrors society in many ways. In most of the game’s storied past, the sleek, athletic players roamed the court’s plains unencumbered. In the 1980’s steel cage death matches featured Pat Riley’s New York Knicks battling the Detroit Piston’s Bad Boys. The game and history forever changed when man-to-man defense became hand-to-hand combat. Defenders from both teams employed a new, rougher, more violent form, based less on correct footwork, and more on thuggish wrestling and upper-body-strengths-man-ship.
Both teams, like politicians of any day, took inventory of the current landscape. They counted the numbers; five on our team, five on their team, and only three officials to referee the game. The new defensive strategy became this: all five defenders foul all five opponents all game long because the three refs can’t see and won’t call all the fouls; there were just too many to catch and blow the whistle for every foul committed. Ten guys cannot be completely watched by only three referees with six eyes. Since that time basketball has had to have numerous rule changes to reverse the continuous hard fouling damage being done.
Politics has now become a fact-free world. Why? Because if you cry “foul” on every day about every story, every event, every issue, over time, everything (including the facts) is up for debate and thus is in danger of being brought down to the level of “Alternative Facts.” News networks are mouthpieces for perspectives, positions and proselytizers. The Fox News Network tells their version of what they want to be the truth, without any proof. Other networks program to counter that ALT-“IT’S NEVER BEEN OUR FAULT,” RIGHT.
When questioners try to lead the answerer into a limited area or perspective, it reduces one’s truthful responses. When cornered, answers morph into slogans, platitudes and talking points based on the appeal to viewers, ratings, and whatever ideological narrative the networks try to dictate. By trying to debate every (and I mean every) news story, every day, all day, the truth gets lost in the hard fouling argument. The Right attempts to force their so called “truths”- (beliefs-wanna-be realities, wishful thinking and repetitive deaf babble) at escalating volume into reality. The Democrats and the Progressive Left have yet to figure out how to counter fake news with the swift, unrelenting audacity of the Right in their laughable attempted white victim-hood power positioning.
So where does that leave our nation of over 300 million people? Where will we get our truthful news? How are we to become the educated public citizenry our founding fathers warned we would have to become? Interpreting “mis-spokes” has now replaced the news and we all have to become bilingual multi-tasking fact-checkers to understand all sides of the stories. We must now speak, understand, write, read, watch, tweet, post, blog, broadcast, translate and now interpret all incoming information no matter the source, and especially in those cases of conjecture (considering the sources, or lack thereof.)
Basketball has somewhat corrected itself, moving back to the free-flowing beautifully artistic game it was designed to be. We can do the same with current politicizing of the facts and truth. The media cannot swallow their whistles and has to be the watchdogs they are supposed to be when they are obvious lies, or the facts are grossly misrepresented.
When members of either side try to conflate the issues and make the media their enemy, that is our first important sign that they are not speaking the truth; they are manufacturing what they want to be a new “alternative truth.” If the “rules” are not changed, the truth and all of us become victims.
Sportsmanship and citizenship both consist of agreeing to the overall rules of engagement and good sportsmanship, not hard fouling the refs or mauling the media because you don’t like the calls to get your way.
Sean C. Bowers is a local progressive youth development coach, author and poet, who has written for the New Journal and Guide for eighteen years. His book of over 120 NJ&G articles detailing the issues is available via email at V1ZUAL1ZE@aol.com and he does make large-scale solutions presentations upon request.