It's an interesting juxtaposition of events, but one which causes me concern about the direction of the country. We woke up this morning to hear and read of the brilliant and selfless accomplishment of our military in neutralizing Osama bin Laden, which will unquestionably enhance our safety. We should all react with pride and thanks for this achievement by those who so bravely and capably defend our freedoms and way of life.
However, at the same time, it is impossible not to be bothered by the selfishness being displayed by the National Football League players and owners in connection with the involvement of our Court of Appeals in St. Louis in the resolution of their differences. Why is this relevant on a national level?
At the same time as this dispute is moving from the District Court in Minneapolis, with both parties arguing about temporary and permanent stays of the District Court's ruling in favor of the players, this appellate court is being asked to consider on an urgent basis whether the Army Corp of Engineers may blow up a Mississippi River levee protecting hundreds of square miles of Illinois and Missouri, causing them to flood, in order to relieve flood pressure on other lands downriver.
Surely, no one can deny the urgency of the flood matter. As the river rises, it becomes essential to make a decision about what to do in the interest of the general welfare. Not being an engineer, I am in no position to assess the merits and determine if blowing up the levee is actually likely to avoid more harm than it causes. However, it is clear that doing so will cause irreparable harm to those who have their lands and homes flooded, and that they should be able to obtain an expedited review of their concerns.
Despite the shrill claims of the football crowd as to why staying or not staying the lower court's ruling will do them irreparable harm, and demands for expedited consideration, it is impossible to read these claims with a straight face in light of the unfolding drama around the levees. Even as an NFL season ticket-holder, it makes my blood boil to hear parties of this nature so callously claim that there will be irreparable harm to them if they can't begin preparation for the upcoming season or force changes in their financial arrangements at the same time and in the same court that so many are fighting for their land and livelihoods.
Why will the football folks not take the high road and step aside so that the appellate court is able to provide every consideration to those who are so desperately seeking its intervention? Why do we have to hear demands for expedited review of an ultimately petty dispute between billionaires and millionaires at the same time and in the same forum that is considering such fundamental claims? How much goodwill would have been engendered if one or both sides in the football dispute had voluntarily stood aside and allowed the flood matter to take precedence?
For all the good which is represented by our brave and capable military forces, there appears to be no limit to the greed and selfishness of so many in positions of power and adulation in our society. Just as we saw in connection with the financial crash of 2008, which plunged us into the Great Recession, when important elements of society feel that they are beyond reproach and that their needs are paramount, dire consequences ensue.
Hopefully, those of you who are reading this will make your voices heard to those who have lost sight of what matters ... and what doesn't!