MAX NIKITAS ’17
One could argue that the first controversial diversion from traditional baseball mores came in the 1930s with the advent of lighting at professional parks. For over half a century at that point, baseball was viewed as the quintessential fair-weather day game. This notion conjures up the idyllic picture of a warm summer afternoon accompanied by a light breeze, cracker -jacks and ballpark hot dogs, and thousands of fans who share a love for a game which, “next to religion,” according to President Herbert Hoover, “has furnished a greater impact on American life than any other institution.” Indeed, some pastime purists still contend that the game was intended to satisfy this ideal portrayal—such is evident by the fact that Wrigley Field in Chicago installed lighting only 25 years ago.
Nevertheless, few, if anyone, would suggest that this development has significantly undermined the aesthetic value of the baseball experience. Indeed, many probably are not aware of the controversy sparked by this now eighty-year-old phenomenon, particularly since all of the most important games in the season and postseason—i.e. the World Series—are played in the dark. However, most baseball fanatics are familiar with the controversy over the implementation of instant replay in the game, a device first used at the tail end of the 2008 season.
The debate over this decision by Major League Baseball is, however, far from old news, as the organization announced this year its intention to promote a more widespread usage of the technology next season. Some have argued that umpires should rely on themselves and each other, as they have done for years, to make informed decisions—controversial calls are not only nothing new, but have always been part of the game—rather than resort to the consultation of a device meant for, dare I say, football.
Indeed, umpires collectively are somewhat like the Supreme Court; and, the frustration over bad calls from fans and players alike can be likened to that of the Republican Party over, in their view, a similarly erroneous, albeit inevitable evil, Obamacare—one can contest the legitimacy of a ruling repeatedly, but the verdict itself is the end all and be all. Indeed, the Republicans have waged a full-scale war on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and, the government shutdown, as a direct result of their inability to compromise–has compromised the reputation of the GOP on Capitol Hill.
While the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party as a whole emerged victoriously with the eventual surrender of the right-wing Republican establishment (ending the shutdown), Republican lawmakers are trying to capitalize off of the technical difficulties present in the online health care registration website. This misfortune for the President and his agenda truly could not have come at a better time for certain GOP members of Congress, particularly Senator Ted Cruz, whose quasi-filibuster and overall obstinate behavior could prove politically disastrous for him and his colleagues in the House moving forward. Indeed, he and many others believe that these technical issues are only reinforcing the Republican Party’s claim that Obamacare was doomed to fail from the start.
Democrats however, have lashed out at the Right, accusing them of petty criticism which stems from their hoping—for purely political reasoning—for the failure of a law so beneficial to many Americans. While most likely not a fatal blow for the law, these initial issues are casting Obamacare in the worst light to date, and placing the President in the unenviable position of having to defend his most significant accomplishment, according to the New York Times, “like a TV pitchman.”
Indeed, the fundamental problem is beginning to be resolved, as independent contractors and governmental personnel have been hired to fix the technical difficulties with the online portal. Nevertheless, the current debate over the implementation of the law is quite similar to the one over the instant replay in baseball. Republicans, like the purists, have argued that the law should be removed before it becomes further implemented and undermines the entire process which it is trying to serve.
Democrats, like those open to the change, posses an argument similar to that of those favoring the new technology, which points to other governmental programs from the past, which like the usage of lights in a ballpark, were met with significant opposition, but are now accepted as necessary facets of our governmental services and overall structure.
Indeed, both issues seem to have already been resolved; for, the Democrats have asserted their mission to promote the Affordable Care Act and help people look beyond their shortsighted concerns over essentially temporary issues.
I agree that the Republicans must cease to try to promote the failure of a policy which has not yet been given sufficient time to be instituted and “play out.” As a Conservative, I am wary of the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act; but, I also am confident that the best approach is to let the program run its course. Further recalcitrance and obstinance on the part of the GOP will only prove fatal for its prospects in the 2014 midterm election cycle; for, indeed, this constant struggle is essentially futile.
If we are so convinced that the President’s agenda has been centered around an unsustainable program, why not just let its results speak for themselves? While these initial problems with registration may seem a victory for Republicans, the party must step aside from the issue for now—which includes ceasing to call for the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius. Overall, while Republicans continue to harbor a sense of frustration over Obamacare it must, much like the Boston Red Sox, learn to accept a bad call, put it behind them, and focus on the next objectives.