Probably because my dad was a New York Yankees fan, I became a Yankee fan. At first it was easy. My first baseball memory is watching the great Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford play in the 1964 World Series.
Rooting for the Yanks became a lot harder after that. For the next twelve years the Yankees were downright terrible, their players unmemorable. Even worse, the Mets got good. Yet, like millions of others, I stayed a Yankees fan.
Even while embarrassed by the shenanigans of its owner, I remained a Yankee fan. I remember having a conversation with Robert Wuhl, who played the eponymous sports agent Arliss of that HBO series. He vowed never to root for the Yankees until the team was sold. "Never happen," I said, "you just can't stop rooting for your boyhood team."
I ran into Wuhl again at the first game of the 1996 World Series. He was leaving George Steinbrenner's luxury suite. "Hey," he submitted as his excuse, "I'm a Yankee fan."
There's an adage in sports, "It's the team name on the front of the uniform that matters, not the athlete's name on the back." There are countless examples of fans hating a Dennis Rodman-type player, till that player started wearing their team's uniform. In sports that makes sense. After all, it's only entertainment.
However, what works well for entertainment is ruining politics. Congressman Tom DeLay perfected the blue versus red phenomenon, by making it clear to his fellow legislators that Republicans either root for everything Republican, or they will be unseated by the party next election season.
This 'either you are with us or against us' strategy silenced the Christy Whitman wing of the Republican Party and created a paradigm much too simple for today's world. We cannot strip down who is going to govern this country to one question: Are you blue or are you red?
That model generates hypocrisy. This season we've seen social commentators who blame the parent for a teenager's pregnancy, unless that parent is on the field for your particular team. We've heard from spokesperson after spokesperson how experience is important, at least until it's not. I have many friends who thought that Dennis Rodman's style of play was unforgivable while he was a Piston, but seemed to forget those feelings once Rodman switched teams. This same pattern of forgetfulness should not be applied to politics.
McCain's appeal during the primary season was based largely on his willingness to speak the truth, no matter how unpopular the truth might but be. His recent willingness to support mistruths during the general election should be a concern to everyone, Republican and Democrat alike. America's biggest problem with the current administration is its willingness to lie. If a candidate is willing to lie to get in power, can we expect anything different if he grasps that power?
I have a relative, one I love too much to name, who despite believing everyone must have the right to marry, that every woman should have the opportunity to choose, that we must stop ruining our environment, that we must improve health care, and that our government has been hijacked for the past eight years, is voting for John McCain. McCain's a Republican, after all, and a vote for a Democrat is well, anti-democratic. So my relative will vote opposite to her interest on every major social and economic issue, which makes absolutely no sense.
I root for the New York Yankees. Always have, and always will. Unless, the New York Yankees baseball team starts to defend a war without honor, allows the military industrial complex to run this country, and promises to pack the court with Alito, Scalia and Thomas-type judges. If the Yankees did any of these things, well, then--LET'S GO RED SOX!