Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Critical situation

Coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens had a good quote the other night to rebut those who criticize quarterback Joe Flacco.  He went to the vault and spoke the words of Teddy Roosevelt, the guy who George Bush thought he was as tough as...

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming...

Roosevelt had a thousand careers, and if you're wondering why Tom Selleck's office in the tv series "Blue Bloods" is decorated with TR's photograph, that would be because Roosevelt was the first police commissioner of New York City, and Selleck plays the current one.  Top cop, cowboy, rancher, soldier, explorer, geographer,  historian, vice president, president.  A pretty good resume for a man who only lived to be 60.  

And here is something else he once said:

"This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in."
Chicago, IL, June 17, 1912

As opposed to the words of Barbara Bush, who had these kind thoughts about people who were washed away from the their homes in New Orleans on the tidal wave of Katrina and her son's total insouciance, and housed in the Astrodome:

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas," Barbara Bush said in an interview. "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."  And she was never in the arena, never the one marred by dust and sweat.  But that didn't stop her from chiming in on everything that might have gotten dust or sweat on her patrician lifestyle.

Thanks, Barbara. There is so much talk about bullying these days.  Treating the downtrodden with supercilious disdain in the midst of a terrible emergency is a form of it, when you think about it.  Standing there saying, "I've got mine, and look at these poor people...they'd better be satisfied with the remaining tattered shreds of their lives" is bullying of the sickest form. Thinking of the courage of Flacco and Roosevelt just led me to compare how events in two different athletic arenas showed what strength of conviction really means.

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