”Who’s On First?”


”Who’s On First?”
By John Kushma

Notwithstanding the First Amendment, listening to the congressional political diatribe lately in the media is as frustrating and hilarious as listening to the famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine by Abbott and Costello.  They were the Key & Peele of the 1950’s

For you baby boomers, you know what I’m talking about.  For you twenty-somethings, look it up on YouTube.  It’s hilarious.

The basic premise is that Costello is asking Abbott about a baseball game.  The players’ names are “Who”, “What”, “I Don’t Know”, etc.  Costello doesn’t know this.  So when he asks Abbott “who’s on first?”, Abbot says “that’s right.”  And on and on it goes, each talking about the same basic subject matter but with completely different perspectives of understanding.

“Who’s on second?  No, Who’s on first, What is on second ….”

The Second Amendment gun control rhetoric is almost as frustrating.  It would be equally as hilarious if the subject matter wasn’t so serious.

Here’s the bottom line.  Guns kill.  That’s what they are designed to do.  No matter how much you want to believe that broad stroke self patronizing oratory that “people kill people” not guns, and “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” you are delusional.  Take the gun out of the equation in every nut-job mass shooting incident and put a club or a knife in the assailant’s hands and there would be fewer deaths.  Period.

Some people want to kill people.  Guns make it too easy for them.

No one wants to take all the guns away, we just want to put a little control into an out of control situation in our country.  That simply means some stiffer laws and regulations.  Like getting a driver’s license or a CDL.  Other related issues need to be addressed as well like mental health, family, values, education, etc., but none of these things accentuates the immediate problem crisis like the weapon of choice.  The smoking gun.

Every state and every country that has more stringent gun laws has fewer of these incidents.

Guns have their place, but it’s not military style weaponry in the hands of crazy people.  We need to fix that, and we can.

If we really wanted to.

But the rhetoric and the frustrating comedy routine continues.

“Who’s on third?  No, Who’s on first.  I Don’t Know is on third …”

Well, the Third Amendment deals with quartering soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent.  I’d love to hear a congressional debate on that one, but let’s move on to the good stuff.  Global Warming.

Same thing, it’s a fact, yet store-bought politician after politician will argue that science is wrong, not to worry, that we humans are having minimal effect on the atmosphere and climate on our planet.  Fossil fuel energy- related jobs are more important.  We need to consume more, drive more and faster, own more vehicles, drill more.  That’s what’s here and now, the future can wait, and somehow will take care of itself.

In reality, but not in the 30 second attention span timeframe of a TV commercial, the polar ice caps are melting, arctic shipping lanes forever closed by icepack are now opening up (so we can import more cars faster), we are seeing a pattern of warmer months year after year, measured particulates are showing a direct degradation of the atmosphere globally, and I only shoveled snow off my sidewalk twice last year.

Some argue just slowing down.  Drive less.  Consume less.  Demand less of an already crippled planet.  But they seem to be out in left field.

In the “Who’s on First?” routine the left fielder’s name is appropriately, “Why.”

Watching the 2016 election unfold is as entertaining and crazy as “Who’s on First?”  Between the candidates and

the media’s political pundits, everyone is talking about the same subject matter but with so many different perspectives of understanding.  And when you add IQ, political bias, ego, money and greed you have the Greatest Show on Earth with a cast of thousands.

I mean, you just have to love The Donald, whether you like him or not.

Global warming, abortion, Immigration, tax, ISIS, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, homeland security, the list goes on and on.  All serious and important issues that need attention, but somehow all reduced to a national and global soap opera complete with commercials.

Does art imitate life (science) or does life imitate art?  Darwin or Creation?  Broncos or the Steelers?  Aggies or BYU?  Hillary or Bernie …or The Donald.  What’s in your wallet?

No matter what team you are on or who you are rooting for, generally money and greed trump logic and common sense and seem to be a driving factor.

Woody Allen, another funny man comedian, was once asked, “What comes first, the chicken or the egg?”  He answered, “The chicken is merely the egg’s idea for getting more eggs.”

We are a culture of egos and personal preferences based on presumption and hope.  The problem is we’re not all hoping for the same thing.  Nor are we all presuming the same thing or motivated by the same things.  Therefore, we will never come completely together on these common issues and it’s going to always sound like “Who’s on First?” well into the future.

The “founding fathers” must be spinning in their graves if they are watching all this.  I guess they had their own “Who’s on First?” moments.  I wonder who the “closing fathers” will be and what they will be dealing with?

Well, I guess hope springs eternal.  And there are two sides to hope depending on what you (we) are hoping for, and what we expect.

The pitcher’s name is “Tomorrow.”  But the shortstop is “I Don’t Give a Darn.”

John Kushma is a communication consultant and a long-time resident of Logan.

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