|Posted by paul on August 23, 2012 at 7:25 AM|
Apparently Rondo and Pierce joined basketball luminaries, such as Michael Jordan, and Carmelo Anthony, to support Barack Obama yesterday with some sort of basketball scrimmage, incidentally apparently raising a mountain of money for him. Of course, political free speech is a human right, and it's good to see Rondo and the others exercising this right. Of course, I too have that human right, and I do have some thoughts about all this.
I don't really want to rehash my views on Obama. It's not just Obama that I see in a negative light, of course. I saw Bush in the same light, and I see Romney in the same light now. I think most Americans, the vast majority of Americans, see things much the same as I do, though. I think most people see that the government is run by international banks, giant military complexes, and media giants - all woven together - and that elections are farces. At least 50% seem to have given up on voting completely, and most of the other 50% hold their noses while they vote, convincing themselves that there is some symbolic value in it, or some marginal difference between 'choices', or, far too often, driven by panic caused by the way Right and Left routinely demonize each other (even though the 'two sides' have virtually the same policies once they get into power).
I'm pretty sure that Rondo's main reason for being at the Obama event is to strengthen his relationship with Paul Pierce. Judging by Pierce's involvement with Lockout negotiations this summer, he seems to be more politically active than Rondo is, and I have to say, too, that I agreed with Pierce's stance this summer; he seemed to recognize that the owners were hellbent on bushwacking the players, and he tried to stave them off. Unfortunately most of the players seemed all too eager to cave in, once they missed their first paycheck, and - incredibly - the union leader that led the players into their debacle is still 'leading' the union, so the lesson there too seems to be one of political futility...
The way I see it, the deck is marked, the game is stacked, and the room is filled with thugs ready to take care of anyone who even dares to point out the obvious. One has to get out of that room, the room of limited political possibilities. For example, if one is told that the choice is between harsh austerity cuts and harsher austerity cuts, maybe the choice looks like a no-brainer. Who wouldn't chose worse in a choice between worse and worser? But are those the only choices?
As I said, I don't think Rondo's involvement with the Obama event was based on fierce political conviction. On twitter I found a link to this brief comment from Rondo at a presser in connection with the Obama fundraiser; I think it's fairly evident that he is spouting phrases that he memorized off a talking points sheet he was no doubt handed five minutes before he went to the microphones. He basically says "jobs, middle class, jobs, middle class", effectively echoing Obamian boilerplate in an abbreviated form. Clearly Rondo is beginning to get used to the media game; just give the media the cliches they expect and most of them will be happy with that.
What I wish is that Rondo would bring to the political world the same kind of vision he brings to the basketball world, or an analogous vision. Rondo comes to basketball with what appears to be an astonishing knowledge of the history of the game, however much he claims ignorance about what has gone before. No one can watch his game without thinking about Bob Cousy, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, etc.. At the same time, Rondo thinks outside the box, as they say. He refuses to buy into the hype. He refuses to bow down to the corrupt refs. He refuses to base his game around what makes it to SportsCenter highlights. He sees possibilities that others don't see.
That's what we need in politics, and that's what I'm convinced most people really want, even if they don't say it; a vision that sees possibilities outside the box that has been built around us by legions of pundits, talking heads, 'adults in the room', etc.. I'm convinced that most people agree on the basic things, far more than the media would have us believe. The media and the talking heads around us tell us that we are all at each other's throats, left and right locked into a relentless political death dance. I say that most people agree on most things. Most people do not want all these wars. Most people are also against the drug wars and don't want to see huge numbers of our fellow citizens in prison. Most people want an economy and a society that is as free as possible, and they also want strong social programs that create a solid foundation for society. Most people want excellent medical care to be available for all, but they don't want to be forced into a particular system. Most people don't want their children locked into staggering debt for life by the time they graduate from college. Most people don't agree with housing costs being through the roof. Most people think that folks should make a decent wage for working hard.
As I see it, the reality is that most of us agree on most things. I think that 75% of us agree on most things. So, Rondo, just as there is a huge audience that loves your game, even though you think outside the ESPN/NBA box --- it turns out that people actually want to see something beyond the Lebron James slamma jamma (even Lebron does, judging by the way he has been imitating Rondo recently) --- there is also a huge audience that wants to see something beyond the political ESPN/SlammaJamma that seems to be force on us 24/7 by the media, and the 'gatekeepers' all around us.
I'm glad you spent some bonding time with Pierce, Rondo. God knows how important that is to the Celtics 2012-2013 season. We so don't want to see the ongoing tug-of-war for team leadership between you guys. We want to see you guys find a way to work on the same script. But when it comes to politics, I think there is a need for vision, same as in basketball. Let's think in terms of a wider range of possibilities.