Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rules of the Playground

When we were kids, my brother and I often spent summer days organizing games of kickball. Someone gave us a set of four cream colored bases, and this inspired many afternoon kickball games with any and all willing neighborhood kids, and any of our cousins that we could convince our mom to pick up from their houses.

Before the game started, we always picked teams and determined rules. They were simple and basic. How many outs, how many innings, what would be considered foul, fair and a home-run.

Inevitably the winning team would always try to quit early, especially if it was a close game. Someone would always have to go help with dinner or take out the trash. The losers were no better. They would call for do-overs; try to trade teammates; and they would insist there were more innings left than there actually were.

Of course, the cardinal rule was, no changing the rules after the game starts, otherwise, "it's no fair" my brother would always say.

As an adult, I don't much play kickball. My kids play soccer, and basketball, and my boys love to wrestle. Kickball isn't so much the rage anymore it seems. Nevertheless, the rules of the games that my children play continue to be governed by the cardinal rule that you can't change the rules after the game starts.


Since I live in Pa, I have been privy to much of what has been happening on the political playground lately as the candidates have been busy playing in my backyard. I can't help but notice how the "rules" on this playground continually change, even though the game started, and has been going for a long time now. Some members of the Democratic party seem unaware of the cardinal rule that makes playgrounds across the nation places where democracy reigns.
By constantly changing the rules according to what they think the score is, they act as bullies, trying to manipulate the game, instead of simply allowing the game to be played out- the winner determined fair and square.

They forget that...

1. Delegates are up for grabs until a nominee is chosen.

2. Super delegates are entitled to decide their vote at their own discretion.

3. The game ends at the Convention, as was predetermined before the whole process began.

And as for fouls...

1. Why is it the case that when Hilary Clinton surrogates claim to use information regarding reverend Jeremiah Wright to persuade super delegates its called "dirty politics" by Obama surrogates, but when those same people are asked about Chelsea being questioned on Monica Lewinsky, they say its fair ball?

Why is it that Senator Obama shouldn't be held accountable for his minister's remarks, but Senator Clinton should be held accountable for her husbands' misdeeds. Senator Obama could have easily walked away from his minister. Hilary Clinton was in a precarious position. There was no clear right or wrong for her in this personal matter. She did what many women do to make their marriages work- she forgave her husband. If perpetuating the humiliation that she suffered at his hands isn't dirty politics, than this is a game where all balls must be fair.

2. Why is it that Senator's Clinton's story about Sniper fire should be used to discredit her, but Senator Obama's misleading statements about hearing his pastor make offensive remarks is a non-issue? Either both misspoke, or they both lied.

What's more dangerous- an embellished war story or failing to admit that you have participated in an institution that promotes hate speech?

3. Why can Jeremiah Wright's remarks be explained away by Senator Obama? Why does it matter in what environment his comments were generated? The comments of Geraldine Ferraro were not forgiven or explained away. Why is context an explanation for Pastor Wright, but not for Geraldine Ferraro?

Perhaps the rules of the race need to be redefined. Since the game has already started, both candidates should keep on playing, according to the rules, until the game ends, or until someone decides (and is not bullied) to quit.

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