Once again, it was time for that All American pastime, the mid-season political All-Stars Baseball Game.
In the stands, on the left side of the stadium, sat the Democrats, screaming to avenge their most recent defeat by the Republicans. On the extreme right side of the stadium, sat the Republicans, taunting the Democrats for having lost the last contest so meekly. And way back in the bleachers sat the Greens and Progressives, the Libertarians and the Socialists, and way, way back in the bleachers sat the Blacks, Native Americans and Latinos where their shouts and chants could barely be heard at all.
In the center of the stadium, high up in the air-conditioned, security glass-enclosed box seats, sat the Elite, the wealthy deal-makers, the Corporate Executives, the Rich and the Powerful. They were eating and drinking and not really watching the field of play. They already knew who would win and who would lose.
Then everyone stood for the singing of our National Anthem.
The Republicans saluted the flag, sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and got all teary-eyed at the line about the bombs bursting in air.
Simultaneously, the Democrats put their hands over their wallets, sang “America the Beautiful” and got all misty-eyed at the thought of agribusiness' government subsidized amber waves of grain.
Far, far away in the bleachers, the Greens, Progressives, Libertarians, Socialists, Blacks, Native Americans and Latinos put their hands over their eyes and sang Woody Guthrie's “This Land is Your Land, This Land is MY Land,” but their singing could barely be heard above the Bombs Bursting In Air and the Subsidized Waves of Grain.
At the conclusion of the National Anthem, the team captains – George W. Bush for the Republican All-Stars and John Kerry for the Democratic All-Stars – stepped forward for the toss of the Constitution to determine which would be the Home Team. The Constitution was tossed high in the air by Florida's former election commissioner Katherine Harris and it came up ...Heads, just as George Bush had called it.
“Wait a minute!” shouted Al Gore from the dugout. He had noticed that the Constitution tossed by Katherine Harris had two Heads and no Tail. “Let's take a look at that Constitution!” screamed Al Gore.
But George Bush's lawyer, James Baker, immediately strode forward and stepped on the Constitution with his shoe so no one could look at it. The Democrats screamed “Foul! Foul!”, but James Baker, his foot firmly on the Constitution, merely retorted that Democrats were sore sports and weenies who couldn't accept the fact that they had lost. The Fox sports reporter (thanks to FCC Chairman Michael Powell there was only ONE sports reporter) concurred. “Sore losers, sore losers, sore losers!” the single Fox sportscaster chanted at the Democrats.
But the tumult in the stands over the toss continued until the Chief Umpire, Antonin Scalia, snatched up the Constitution from under James Baker's shoe, deftly tucked it under his robe where he had also tucked the Bill of Rights, and declared that there was no need to examine anything any further. “Play ball,” said Scalia, “ ...and after that let's go duck hunting!”
The Republican fans screamed their approval while the Democrats chugged some more beer. Maybe they really were sore sports and weenies? And anyway, the Democrats thought, who really cares about the Constitution?
Nobody quite heard what anyone was shouting about all this out in the bleachers. The police shot a few canisters of tear gas at them to keep them quiet.
The Republicans, having won the Home Field Advantage, took the field. George Bush was their pitcher. Karl Rove called the game behind the plate making secret hand signals in his crotch. Paul Wolfowitz played First Base. Colin Powell played Second, Rumsfeldt stood at Third. Condoleezza Rice played Short Stop. No Republicans played left or center field, but Trent Lott, Tom DeLay? and Richard Pearl all stood in Deep Right Field. All the Republican players wore little icons of Saint Ronald Reagan on gold chains around their necks.
The Republican team had depth on the bench. On the sidelines, chewing tobacco, stood players just called up from the Republican Minor Leagues: Gloria Arroyo, Iyad Allawi, Arial Sharon, Vladimir Putin, Hamid Karzai and the Republicans' newest team player, Moammar Gadhaffi. They were practicing their swings by batting off the heads of various minority peoples from their own countries.
The Republican Manager, Grover Norquist, paced the dugout encouraging His Team to Fight Hard, Fight Dirty and Win At All Costs. The Republican catcher, Karl Rove, was busy smearing the baseballs with Vaseline and scuffing them with a rat-tail file. But when the Democrats caught him and screamed “Foul!”, Chief Umpire Scalia quacked that he saw nothing wrong, and speaking of fowl, wasn't it time to go duck hunting?
The rest of the officiating crew took their stations: William Rehnquist at First Base, John Ashcroft at Second, Clarence Thomas at Third.
The official game statistician was Alan Greenspan. He asserted that all Republicans batted 1.000 even when they had repeatedly struck out all season long. “There's no inflation in the batting averages,” Mr. Greenspan assured everyone. “Who are you going to believe? Your eyes or my lies?”
Tom Ridge was the official Homeland Scorekeeper. “Trust me,” he said as he raised the Terrorism Alert on the flagpole to Hot Pink, meaning 'there is a terrorist and/or a person of color likely sitting right next to you!'
The game score would be kept by Electronic Voting Machines.
Democrats noticed, however, that even before the first inning had been played the scoreboard showed the Republican Team was ahead by fifteen runs. But the umpires said they saw nothing wrong. “Just a little voting machine software glitch,” the umps said, “so let The Game begin!”
First up for the Democrats was their switch-hitting lead-off hitter and team captain, John Kerry. He continually shifted from the left side of the batter's box to the right side and then back to the left side again, constantly moving the bat from one shoulder to the other. The catcher, Karl Rove, made some signals in his crotch. Bush threw Kerry a spit ball.
“Strike One!” screamed Umpire Scalia as the wet ball completely missed the zone and struck a young Haitian right in the middle of his democracy. The Republicans waved their bibles and screamed their approval. The Democrats had some more beer.
George Bush wound up and threw a wide curve ball that missed home plate and ended up hitting a young Iraqi child in the head, knocking her unconscious. Kerry attempted to bunt and missed. The Republicans waved their bibles and screamed their approval. The Democrats drank another beer.
“Strike Two!” intoned Scalia.
George Bush wound up and threw a fork ball at the batter. This pitch was as erratic as was every ball tossed by George Bush and it struck John Kerry on the jaw! The Republicans were on their feet now, waving their bibles and screaming at the pitcher to knock Kerry's head off, for the Love of Jesus!
“Take your base!” yelled the Democrats.
“Interference!” hollered the Republicans.
“We want a refund!” shouted the Greens, the Progressives, Socialists, Libertarians, Blacks, Native Americans and Latinos from way back in the bleachers.
Both sides' benches emptied onto the field. The umpires huddled. The Department of Justice called out its team of government lawyers. During an All-Star Game, they reasoned, the normal rules of Baseball do not apply. The President could throw Any Pitch he liked and hit anyone he wanted to if it was in the interest of the National Pastime as determined by Him.
Congress convened an Independent Bean Ball Commission. After ignoring most of the evidence and taking unsworn testimony from George Bush that he never really meant to hit John Kerry with his pitches, the Commission declared that the bean ball was just an oversight due to faulty pre-game scouting reports prepared by the CIA and the FBI.
Scorekeeper Tom Ridge racked up three more runs for the Republican Team even though they hadn't been at bat. When several Progressives in the bleachers shouted that he was cheating, Ridge raised the Terrorism Alert to Blood Red and ordered the security guards to duct tape the Progressive Malcontents' mouths shut. The Democrats and the Republicans roared their approval.
Statistician Alan Greenspan recorded that George Bush was pitching a perfect game.
Ultimately, Kerry was called out for “interfering” with the pitch that had hit him. Two hundred Greens in the bleachers protested the call and were arrested for creating a disturbance. A hundred more were cited for not smiling at the Flag. The wealthy elite continued drinking wine and munching caviar oblivious to the rabble in the stands. They didn't care – they already knew who would win and who would lose.
When the hubbub died down, Tom Daschle, the second Democratic batter strode to the plate. Strangely, Senator Daschle's uniform looked a lot like the uniform worn by the Republicans. He refused to hit any ball thrown by George Bush and, when called out on strikes without having so much as twitched his bat, Tom went over and sat down in the Republican dugout.
The third Democrat to swing a bat was Howard Dean. Dean swung hard at a sinker ball (all of Bush's pitches were sinking low balls) and popped it into left field where no Republicans were standing. But as Dean howled with delight at having gotten the first hit of the game, he was called “out” by Terry Mc Auliffe, the Dems' own Team Manager, who declared that “howling” was unsportsmanlike conduct that the Party would not tolerate.
Thus ended the first half of the First Inning. Tom Ridge, the official scorekeeper, registered nine hundred and eleven runs for the Republicans in the Democrats' half of the first inning.
The Republican Cheerleading Squad of of Robert Novak, Rush Limbaugh, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Ann Coulter took to the field to rally their fans. They shook their pompoms, wriggled their fannies and led vulgar chants to taunt the Democrats. The Democratic Cheerleaders – Michael Moore, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Al Franken – shook their pompoms, wriggled their fannies and led vulgar chants to taunt the Republicans. The Greens, Blacks and Latinos threw pretzels onto the field. Several of them were billy-clubbed by the police for looking Middle Eastern and/or liberal.
In the bottom half of the first inning, the Democrats took the field. Hillary Clinton played first base. Barbara Boxer played second base. Ted Kennedy played at third. The short stop was Dick Gephardt. Zell Miller played far, far, far right field for the Democrats, John Edwards played very shallow center field and Congressman Jim Mc Dermott played left field. The Democrats' catcher was Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich, who had been catching it from the Democrats for the entire baseball season, was not allowed to call any of the pitches. All of Kerry's pitches were signaled from the caviar-eating people in the glassed-in box seats high above the playing field.
The crowd was primed for an aggressively pitched inning with hard, tight balls thrown fast and true. They were soon disappointed. The Democrats' pitcher, John Kerry, refused to throw any strikes against the Republicans saying that the Democrats would win the game anyway just because they weren't Republicans. Meanwhile, as the Democrats lobbed one loopy softball after another at the Republicans, the Republican batters walked to Load The Bases.
“The Bases Are Always Loaded For The Ruling Class,” shouted Ralph Nader from the Bleachers. The police threw stun grenades and shot Tasers at Ralph to restore Order. The Democrats applauded and demanded that Nader be gagged and forcibly removed from “their” playing field.
Then, with a Republican standing on every bag of the baseball diamond, the Republicans' highly feared Designated Hitter stepped to the plate – Dick Cheney. Cheney snarled evilly at all the Democrats in the stands and muttered “F-ck you!” causing the trembling Democrats to cover their children's eyes and ears. The Republicans in the stands waved their bibles and hoarsely amplified Cheney's curse, “Jesus says, F-ck You!”
Cheney then tapped home plate with his bat and showed John Kerry where to place the next pitch.
Kerry tossed a soft, lazy pitch to Dick Cheney who took a powerful swing and lined the ball deep, deep, deep, but foul. The Republicans on the base pads all came in to score anyway. Tom Ridge recorded another twenty-two runs for the Homeland Team.
“Wait a minute!” screamed the Democrats from the left side of the stadium. “That was a foul ball!” But because the Republicans only knew how to hit foul balls, the umpires called Cheney's hit a Fair Ball.
The official statistician, Alan Greenspan, then said that due to inflation, it was now the bottom of the seventh inning.
Everyone sitting on the left side of the stadium and in the bleachers was made to put popcorn bags over their heads, strip naked, stretch out their arms and assume stress positions for the duration of the Seventh Inning Stretch. The Greens and Progressives in the bleachers protested and the police let loose their dogs on them.
The crowd in the bleachers began to get angry – something Americans hadn't done in decades – and threatened to disrupt the game. At this point, in order to restore order and prevent acts of Terrorism, the umpires ejected everyone from the audience, except, of course, the Elites behind the glass in the luxury box seats. Politics, the umpires reasoned, would be much faster, safer, cleaner, and more efficient – and the elections would finally run on time - if Democracy was a game played in secret and without anyone watching from the stands.
And so the Electorate was sent packing with their peanuts and weak beer, and the 2004 Political All-Star Game ground to a conclusion. No one knows the final tally, who won or who lost. Except for those sitting in the luxury box seats. And, of course, they knew how the game would end before it began. They won.
Zbignew Zingh can be reached at Zbig@ersarts.com. This Article is CopyLeft, and free to distribute, reprint, repost, sing at a recital, spray paint, scribble in a toilet stall, etc. to your heart’s content, with proper author citation. Find out more about Copyleft and read other great articles at www.ersarts.com.
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