Thoughts on sports, a lame duck and climate change

Troy Marshall

December 3, 2015

4 Min Read
Thoughts on sports, a lame duck and climate change

I like to think I have lot of interests, but cattle, horses, faith, politics and sports tend to dominate my conversations and thoughts. While all those got a workout this week, my ruminations largely focused on sports and politics, and the many similarities between the two. It seems the central theme for the week was about moving on.

First, sports.

Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, thankfully announced his retirement; it has been painful to watch him play in such a diminished fashion. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was replaced because he was hurt, but there are a whole lot of people who are hoping he doesn’t heal too quickly. Coaches with tremendous winning records were fired or rumored to be fired.

Then there’s politics, where perhaps the most glaring example of one whose time has come and gone is President Obama. His growing irrelevance goes beyond the fact that he is closing in on the last year of his second term, and that the election and election politics have surpassed his ability to dictate the national debate. It goes beyond the failure of his foreign policy, the state of the economy or even his dismal 44% approval rating. 

His critics may have joked about him being the teleprompter president, but in a way they were acknowledging the power of his eloquence and persuasion. When he took the podium, he had the ability to change the direction of the world. Even those of us who disagreed vehemently with his policies respected the incredible uniqueness that his gift of eloquence provided. 

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But it seems the Great Orator doesn’t command the podium like he used to. Obama was an once-in-a-lifetime orator; his speaking skills didn’t diminish, he just ran out of things to say and he became a politician who comes off as impertinent and snappish. 

I’m an avid believer in the Constitution, but with the executive branch consolidating power and increasing in importance relative to other branches, it is becoming obvious that the country can ill afford having an ineffective executive two to three years out of every eight. Whether that means Congress regains the power the founding fathers envisioned, the court sets back the power of the executive branch or some other solution, we can’t keep having 18 months of inaction every time we have a two-term president. 

Take number two—political correctness is evolving. This week’s Conference of Parties meeting in Paris is a clear example.

Political correctness used to be based on terminology, avoiding offense and asserting moral superiority. Today, it is designed to simply silence any position that is not reflective of the far left. Climate change was the topic of the week, with the world meeting in Paris and the rhetoric soaring.  

Everyone believes the science, but there is significant disagreement on which science to agree with and even more differences on what course of action to take. Reasonable and honorable people disagree on climate change, abortion rights, gay rights, foreign policy, economic world views and a whole host of other issues. Yet if you happen to hold a position on these issues that would be considered anything but far left, your opinion is not only discounted, but you are discounted in terms of intellect and morality. 

Every one of the 150-plus world leaders meeting in France this week said the politically correct thing, and yet if they truly believe that climate change is the world’s greatest threat and that the science is undisputable, then why in the world can they not agree on doing something substantive about it? 

While we won’t hear it expressed in public, obviously there is not unanimity among world leaders that we are facing certain calamity, or on the solutions needed to prevent it from happening. The great irony of political correctness is you can’t hold leaders responsible for their actions as long as they continue to say the right thing.  

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